All posts tagged Poison

The Essential Richie Kotzen CoverGuitarist/singer/songwriter RICHIE KOTZEN (Mr. Big/Poison/The Winery Dogs) has just released the video for “War Paint” (which can be seen below) from THE ESSENTIAL RICHIE KOTZEN, which came out last week on Loud & Proud RecordsTHE ESSENTIAL RICHIE KOTZEN is a two-CD and DVD career retrospective set that encompasses this iconic talent’s entire career of his most essential work:  classic material; acoustic performances; bootleg material; and two brand new songs (“War Paint” and “Walk With Me”).  The DVD features music videos, acoustic performances, and bootleg material.

 To celebrate his newest project, he’s hitting the U.S. concert trail starting November 1 in Annapolis, MD at Rams Head Tavern.  Tour dates are below.  Before then, he’ll be spending September and most of October on a headlining tour which will take him through Europe and Mexico.
DATE               CITY                             VENUE
Sat 11/1            Annapolis, MD              Rams Head Tavern
Mon 11/3          Londonderry, NH           Tupelo Music Hall
Tue 11/4            Boston, MA                  Wilbur Theater
Wed 11/5          New York, NY               B.B. King Blues Club & Grill
Fri 11/7             Poughkeepsie, NY        The Chance
Sat 11/8            Reading, PA                 Building 24
Sun 11/9           New Haven, CT              Toad’s Place
Tue 11/11          Pittsburgh, PA              Altar Bar

Nothing in my entire career will ever parallel what you are about to read here.  This is an interview from my early days of music journalism when I wrote for the amazing EDGE Magazine and my friend/magazine editor Tom Taylor.  The date was March 13, 2003 and in true,  Throwback Thursday fashion, things were way better back then.  Dimebag was still alive, music was flourishing for Rock bands again and things just felt good in the Universe.  There’s really no way to intro this other than to say, this is, without question, the most insane, informative, hilarious and yet hauntingly sad interview (for reasons that are apparent by the changes we’ve seen over these past 11-years since it was written) interview I have EVER done in my life!  It is my favorite piece of any I’ve written.  I hope you’ll understand why and enjoy it as much as I did.  Here it is, in its entirety and as it appeared over two issues of EDGE Magazine:

“Honey, I Broke The F%$king Phone”

An Exclusive Interview With BLACK LABEL SOCIETY’s Zakk Wylde

BLS - Guitar pose

My first introduction to the amazing guitar skills and musical virtuosity that is Zakk Wylde came in 1988, as it did for most anyone who was a fan of Ozzy. The 18 year old wunderkind was touted as the new Randy Rhoads, and Ozzy was very vocal about his new discovery. I, along with a million watchful eyes and ears, took heed and grabbed my copy of Ozzy’s No Rest For The Wicked the minute it hit the stores that year. My first step before putting the cassette into my car stereo was to check out what this ‘kid’ looked like. I’m sure every Zakk fan remembers doing the same thing, and I’m sure they even remember the striking resemblance that he had to the late Randy Rhoads. But could he play? Oh sure, we all laugh at the question now, but back then, this was serious business. This kid was coming in to fill the shoes of two of the greatest guitar players the 80’s had ever seen: Randy Rhoads and Jake E. Lee! Well, our questions were answered in the first fifteen seconds of the lead-off track, “Miracle Man”. Yes, this kid could play… and he could also play every bit of the Rock-N-Roll lifestyle that was necessary to remain one of the Ozzy camp’s longest standing members, sans ol’ Ozzy himself. Many albums later, including a few solo projects like the underrated PRIDE & GLORY and BOOK OF SHADOWS, Zakk went headfirst into a solo career that, to this day, boasts the most rabid fan base spanning at least three generations! Ozzy himself is the only artist who can top Zakk’s popularity, and since Ozzy continues to welcome Zakk into the fold each year to play, record and just hang out with him, one can honestly say that this musical and personal friendship will certainly continue forever, placing both men in the history books as Rock Music’s Elite! On his own, Zakk Wylde is the fret-burning machine he’s always demonstrated with Ozzy, however, as a solo artist with his band BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, he is a voice to be heard, as well. Handling all the lead vocals, guitars and song writing, Zakk has created a new style that has been unsuccessfully copied, stolen and bastardized beyond recognition. Does he care? In his own words, “Fuck No!” Why should he? When you’ve cornered the market on individual style that is as true to you as the blood that runs through your veins, you don’t have to worry about the ‘next guy’. I remember in 1999 when Zakk released his first BLACK LABEL SOCIETY record called Sonic Brew. I was talking to a record producer and A&R guy in New Jersey who had just seen him introduce the band at a local club. Both made note of the fact that Zakk was THE ultimate definition of ‘Rock-N-Roll’, from his look, to his deadly attack on his trade. The conversation rolled around to the production on that particular album and I clearly remember them both saying that they “hadn’t heard a record produced that loud and balls-out” in their life. Pretty strong words, but ones with plenty of backing if one should need it. Just try and listen to those early singles like “Bored To Tears” on this classic piece of molten Metal without having to adjust your volume knob down! It’s so heavy it pushes against your damn sternum like a sheet metal hole punch. And who can forget the blast created inside your poor eye-sockets from last year’s 1919 Eternal album? I could go on and on praising this man, his band, and his work with projects like the 2001 major motion picture ROCKSTAR, which featured his work with the movie screen psuedo-band STEEL DRAGON, but why? He’s on the phone, right now, and it’s only 12:30 in the afternoon, so we’re bound to catch him after a good night’s sleep. What do you say we let Zakk tell us how it’s all done? Be prepared, however, because if you ever thought you had cornered the market on the most colorful ways to use the ‘F-Word’, if you’re a fan of FOO-FIGHTERS front man Dave Grohl, or if you’re against cruelty to nature that involves driving over a live Christmas tree in a rented 4×4 truck on the lawn of party pal, PANTERA guitarist Dimebag Darrell’s sprawling estate, you might want to take your Geritol and go back to bed! Here he is, ladies and the rest who call themselves men… the maniacal, string shredding monster we all love…

Mr. Zakk Wylde… Ozzfest 2005 [phone rings at 12:30 p.m., it’s SPITFIRE Records’ head of P/R, Anthony Syme]

TONY: “Hey Bamster, you ready, bro? I got Zakk on the conference line.”

B2: “Tony, I’ve been ready for this since we talked about it in November of last year. Put that maniac through, beyoootch! (laughs)”

TONY: “(laughs) O.k., hold on, I’m gonna put you on hold for a second and then I’ll be right back. It’ll be me you hear, then Zakk, hang tight. [30-second pause] O.k., Bam-Bam, here’s Zakk… enjoy!”

B2: “Thanks Tony, tell Jon in Publicity I said I owe him a couple shots of Jaeger when I’m in New York. Zakk, are you there, bro?”

ZAKK: “[through terrible reception] Yeah, buddy, I’m here. How are you?”

B2: “I’m doing great… You know, I’m having a hell of a time hearing you. It sounds like either our conference line is fucked up, or one of us has bad reception here.”

ZAKK: “Goddamnit! It’s probably this motherfucking phone, bro. This piece of shit fucking sucks. My wife just spent fucking over 200 bucks on this piece of fucking crap, and I still can’t make a goddamn phone call with any decent fucking reception. Look bro, you wanna call me back and see if that’s any better?”

B2: “Well, I can do that, or I can give you my 800 number and you can call me so you don’t have to feel all weird giving out your home phone number. It’s up to you. Let me give you my number…”

ZAKK: “O.k., hold on, let me get a fucking pen or something to write with. (To his wife) Honey, you gotta pen or something, this motherfucking phone is still fucking up and I’m gonna have to call EDGE Magazine back to do this fucking interview because of this fucking phone! Now, I can’t find anything to fucking write with, Bam. Here, let me give you my number and you call me right back.”

B2: “O.k., shoot.” [Writer’s Note: Now you didn’t really think I was going to publish this part, did you?] Alright Zakk, I’ll call you right back. Hang tight.” [I redial THE number and although the reception is somewhat better, we’re still pretty static-laden!]

B2: “Well, Zakk, this looks like it’s the best it’s gonna get, bro. Let’s do this thing! Seems someone like you shouldn’t have to be at the liberty of the phone company for decent service, bro. Let’s go bust some balls on the phone company, whatta ya say? (laughs)”

ZAKK: “No fuckin’ shit! I can’t believe we blew all this fucking money on these motherfucking phones and you can’t even talk on the motherfuckers. It sounds like horseshit! So, anyway, how are you doing, bro, you doing good?”

B2: “Doing great, Zakk. It’s been a long time, you know. The last time we spoke was back in ’99 when you were doing the P/R for Sonic Brew, right?”

ZAKK: “Oh, who fucking knows, man. I’m pumping out so many motherfucking albums, it’s nuts!”

B2: “(laughs) Well, it goes without saying that you’ve got a slew of fans in the Southeast and I’ve got the fortunate opportunity of having an online addition to the magazine which allows me to get the readers to post some questions that they want to ask you. So, with your permission, I’m going to throw a few of those in, and get you to attack those as well.”

ZAKK: “Oh, hell yeah, that’s cool! As long as it’s not like a bunch of POISON wannabes tryin’ to beat me down, cuz you know I only go with the originals on that shit! (laughs)”

B2: “So, I take it you’re not a fan of the 80’s Glam/Hair bands from back in the day?”

ZAKK: “Oh no, I love that shit. It is what it is. I just can’t stand someone who’s out there trying to be someone else. Those guys in POISON are great, man! They did their own thing and they did it better than anyone else. You can’t fault that. I’m really good friends with Brett and those guys. They had some good tunes. It’s just the fucking poser ass copycats that piss me off. You know what I mean? I can’t stand people who ask questions that are all about how to be just like someone else, cuz that’s bullshit. You can’t be POISON; they’ve already done it. You can’t be OZZY, for one because you’d need two livers (laughs), and for another because there’s only one OZZY. You know what I mean?”

B2: “(laughs) Absolutely! These questions that the readers have are all about gaining knowledge about you, not copying, so I think you’ll have fun with these.”

ZAKK: “Hell yeah, that rocks. Let’s do ‘em all!” [Zakk and I take a brief pause from the interview here to do some funny P/R sound-bytes to promote the interview for the EDGE Magazine Online Website. Needless to say, they are fucking poetry and will be worth every bit of your time to check out and even request copies. On one of these, I ask Zakk to say “Hey, this is Zakk Wylde from BLACK LABEL SOCIETY and I’ll take a couple of those Page 5 Girls with nothing on them… to go!” Here’s what he says about my request.]

ZAKK: “(laughs) Oh shit, I don’t know if my wife will like that one too much. (laughs)”

B2: “Fuck! I forgot. She’s standing right there in the same room, isn’t she?”

ZAKK: “(laughs) Yeah, I can see it now… She’ll look over at me and say, ‘What did you just fucking say?’ (laughs) Then she’ll kick my fucking ass! (laughs).”

B2: “Oh, dude, I’m not gonna get you busted out, bro. I’ll just start in with the interview to avoid massive pain and agony! (laughter all around) O.k., Zakk, here’s one from the readers: What do you mean when you refer to your style as ‘Chicken Pickin’?”

ZAKK: “Well, you can ask any guitar player and I think they’re familiar with it. It’s when you’re using your fingers and doing banjo rolls and that shit. You know, Steve Morse from the DIXIE DREGS [as well as KANSAS and late 90’s era DEEP PURPLE] does a lot of that, like the country guitar playing. I use it a bit, it’s pretty basic to do, but when you see someone do it who is really well-versed in the style, dude, it’s amazing to watch. Check out Morse, he’s the shit with that stuff, the old DIXIE DREGS stuff is the place to go for that shit. Killer!”

B2: “O.k. here’s something I have always wanted to ask you since we spoke last. A few years ago, I was in a conversation with some friends of mine in the record industry and they both made mention about seeing you live when BLACK LABEL was first doing club shows, and each of them made reference to your whole Rock-N-Roll demeanor as being, ‘The Real Thing’. From the chain hanging around the waste, to the stance you have on-stage, right down to the way you step up to the mic to sing. It’s always done so hardcore Rock-N-Roll, that there’s no denying that Zakk Wylde is the epitome of the art!”

ZAKK: “I’ve been trying to convince my old lady of that for a while, but she ain’t fucking buying it. (laughs)”

B2: “(laughs) Well, the question that I wanted to put out there was, since people are so compelled to make these Top Ten and Top Twenty lists that refer to the ‘What To Do’ and ‘What Not To Do’ things in a category, I thought it would be cool to get the lowdown on ‘Zakk Wylde’s Top Five Things That Are Necessary To Be A Rocker’. Are you up for it?”

ZAKK: “Absolutely! Let’s see, first… Well, this one is obvious. First thing is Don’t Be An Asshole! Second is, Don’t Buy Your Own Shit! Third would have to be to Keep Playing Your Motherfuckin’ Ass Off! You gotta just keep practicing every motherfucking day. Fourth would be mandatory, Drink Lots Of Motherfuckin’ Beer! And….

B2: “You got one more, bro. Don’t give out on me now.”

ZAKK: “Shit, ummm… O.k., number five is Fuck The Living Crap Outta Your Old Lady! That should be number one, shouldn’t it? (laughs)”

B2: “(laughs) You almost said something in that stutter that got your ass in trouble didn’t you? (laughs)”

ZAKK: “(laughs) I only had one more to go, so I figured I better say something like that, so I didn’t leave anybody out. (laughs) That’s still a good one though, isn’t it, bro?”

B2: “Most definitely. Ass is always a good thing and making sure your lady thinks or knows it’s always hers that you’re banging is even better! (laughs)”

ZAKK: “(laughs) I hear ya, bro! I’m right there with ya, I read you loud and clear. (laughs) You’re gonna get me in trouble. (laughs) Next question…. (busts out laughing) I can’t hear you Bam-Bam, it must be this bad reception… (laughs)”

B2: “Oh, go ahead and blame the bad reception, bitch. Don’t start getting all pussy whipped on me! (laughs) O.k., we’ll move on. Let’s go the complete opposite and find out, ‘Zakk’s Top Five Things That Aren’t Rock-N-Roll’. And don’t just say ‘The opposite of everything I just said,’ that wouldn’t make good reading, bro. (laughs)”

ZAKK: “Umm, well, number one would have to be Not Being Yourself Or Doing Everything That Other People Tell You Is Cool. That pisses me off when I see people being like that. Number two is Being A Lazy-Ass Motherfucker. That’s not cool. Ummm, number three… When People Drink All Your Fuckin’ Beer And Don’t Pay For Any Of It. That’s bullshit. I hate that fucking shit!”

B2: “(laughs) But isn’t that like half your fucking friends, Zakk? (laughs)”

ZAKK: “(laughs) Hell yeah, (to his wife) He said my friends come over and drink all my beer and don’t pay for any of it. (laughs) Ain’t that the fuckin’ truth. Geez, I got tears coming out of my motherfuckin’ eyes over here.”

B2: “O.k., next…”

ZAKK: “Umm, If You Fuck Up One Of My Les Pauls.”

B2: “O.k., you’ve got one more.”

ZAKK: “Oh shit, I don’t know. Ummm, last one would be… If You Fuck Up Two Of My Les Pauls. (laughs) How’s that?”

B2: “Hey, I’m not gonna argue with you, bro. I’m afraid you’ll stick your woman on me and she’ll beat my ass like she does you! (laughs) Listen, since we’re in a shit-talking mood right now, let’s see how much I can drag out of you. I was a huge fan of Ozzy’s last album, Down To Earth, which you played on. You, however, have been quoted many times as not being a fan of this record, at all. Can we talk about that? Why were you so angry with this album?” BLS - Blessed

ZAKK: “Well, put it this way, Tim Palmer, the producer, did a great job. Sonically, I think the thing sounds great. The only thing that I made a big fucking stink about was that there were songs, umm, this whole thing got blown outta proportion. You know, I’m an Ozzy fan and I’m a SABBATH freak, and I love that shit. The music means something to me, you know what I mean? Obviously when I play this stuff, whether it’s with fucking Ozzy, or whatever., I’m not just showing up for a fucking paycheck. I never thought of myself as a side guy in any band I’ve ever played in. When I do a record with a band or my own stuff, it’s like, ‘Here’s Our New Shit’! I’ve always helped to write everything I’ve ever played on and put in my two-cents, so I always have come away feeling proud of what I have played. That wasn’t the case here. You always have this feeling that you wanna blow your fucking friends away when they hear your new fucking shit, and with this record… well, we had all these goddamn songs in a pile that we could have picked from, and here they are pushing these damn OFFSPRING songs on me and all this pussy crap that Dave Grohl wrote, and I mean it was all just God fucking awful, bad, terrible horseshit! I’m just speaking on behalf of the whole fucking Ozzy legion of fans here. That’s all I’m representing! I mean Sharon [Osbourne] wanted me to go down there and be a part of that process, and I’m like, ‘I don’t fucking want to go down there. I might get fucking scabies or something from these record company pricks,’ you know? You go down there with all these record company pukes and it’s like, ‘Why the fuck am I doing this?’ Half the time it’s like you’re talking to a brick fucking wall anyway. I don’t have time for that shit. I’m nothing but some stupid, douche bag, Mick, kraute, guitar player. They don’t give a fuck! But, you know what I mean? The whole thing was like, ‘Zakk, we really want your opinion on this thing.’ So, I’m like, ‘You really want my motherfucking opinion? You actually wanna know what the fuck I think?’ And they’re like, ‘Yes.’ So, I tell ‘em, ‘I’ll tell you right fuckin’ now that this shit you’re playing for me, if you expect me to play this shit onstage, you’re fucking nuts! We’ll get bottled to death, probably even fucking shot!’ I’m like, ‘Are you guys fucking high? Listen to this fucking shit! Anyone who likes Ozzy does not dig this fucking shit. They hate the fucking bands that the producers are blowing to write this shit, how can this make any sense to an Ozzy fan? This shit is like fucking kryptonite!’ Then the fucking assholes come back at me and say, ‘Hey, Zakk, you don’t have to be all like that!’ (laughs) What the fuck? They asked me my motherfucking opinion! Kiss my fucking ass, goddamnit! Don’t ask me if you don’t want to know what I think, Mr. Fucking Record Company Guy!! What the fuck do they want me to do, lie? Tell them I love this shit? I tell you what, I’m surprised that the Ozzy fans just didn’t fucking shoot us. It was that bad! They were all in my face saying, ‘You know we can’t be making PANTERA or SLAYER Records, Zakk.’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, no fucking kidding, asshole, but we can do shit like ALICE IN CHAINS, STONE TEMPLE PILOTS, stuff like that,’ you know what I mean? I mean, that’s pretty heavy shit that can be commercial if it has to be, and they were like, ‘Uuuh, we don’t know. We’ll think about it.’ Yeah, right. Kiss my fucking ass you bunch of record company fucks!” [Writer’s Note: So, it wasn’t as hard as I thought to get Zakk to open up about this subject! But would he do the same for all the rumors about his hatred for Dave Grohl? Shit, are you kidding? This is Zakk Wylde we’re talking about here.]

B2: “So, Tim Palmer wasn’t the one you really had the beef with on that one, it was the songwriters, right?”

ZAKK: “No, I never had anything against Tim Palmer. He did a great job producing that record. It was the fucking songwriters. Hell, I mean they wouldn’t even put those fucking crap ass songs on their own shitty fucking records, so why should I think it’s a great idea to play them on one of Ozzy’s. Oh, go ahead and pawn your fucked up songs off on the Godfather Of Metal. Now, that makes perfect fucking sense, doesn’t it? Shit!”

B2: “Now, Dave Grohl is one of the names that stands out as having a hand in the songwriting for this record. What was the deal between you and him?”

ZAKK: “Oh shit, now that motherfucker, back in the day, was bagging on Heavy Metal kids when NIRVANA was going through their heyday and shit. I remember reading a thing and he was like, ‘Well, you know, our fucking fans aren’t like those stupid Heavy Metal kids!’ Now here I am saying to myself, ‘Hey, you asshole! That’s me you’re talking about!’ Ever since I read that, I’m like, ‘Fuck that motherfucker.’ And now that like NIRVANA and all that horseshit is fucking done, that pussy ass motherfucker wants to jump on the bandwagon with the whole ‘Heavy’ thing, and I’m like, ‘You know what? You can wear your fucking MOTORHEAD shirt all you want, cause that’s about the closest you’re gonna ever get to a fucking heavy riff ever, you fucking cunt!'”

B2: “Ummm, hey Zakk, how do you really feel about the whole Dave Grohl thing? (laughs from both ends of the phone)”

ZAKK: “Dude, I had to play that fucking piece of shit song he wrote in the studio. Man, I’m glad you asked me what the fuck I think about him. Nobody else has the balls to ask me that shit because they’re scared of what I’m gonna say. What I’m saying ain’t scary; it’s the fucking truth. If the truth fucking scares people, then fuck them. I didn’t get into this business to bottle my shit up and lie about somebody’s music and shit. I mean, you can listen to what you want to listen to, but if someone wants to know what I think, I’m gonna fucking tell them. Fuck that lying shit! That shit’s for pussies!”

B2: “I hear you, but his song didn’t actually make it onto the album, did it?”

ZAKK: “No it didn’t get on the record, but still I had to play on that fucking piece of shit in the studio. And now that motherfucker is jumping on the wagon with all those people he was dissin’ before. When we play our heavy shit it’s like, ‘Dude, just fuck off, take your goddamn MOTORHEAD shirt and shove it up your fuckin’ ass and get the fuck outta here!’ You know, that’s like Kip Winger wearing a fucking SLAYER shirt! He’ll wear it just so he looks cool. I remember when we opened up for that fucking piece of shit band CRAZYTOWN, we went on before them at OZZFEST. We crucified them fuckers every night, and I remember the fucking singer getting bottled right there on stage after they’d go on right after we played. People didn’t want to hear that candy-ass bullshit! The singer is like, ‘Dude, can you hook us up with some fuckin’ merch? Man, we’re down wit the BLACK LABEL brothers!’ (laughs) I told Tim, our tour manager, ‘If that motherfucker wants any of our shit, tell him to go fucking buy it like everybody else. Fuck that little weasel and his piece of crap band!’ You know what I mean? He wants to wear our shit on stage in front of our audience so everybody will think they’re cool and not throw bottles and shit at them when they try to go on after us. (laughs) Like our fans are gonna go, ‘Wow, I guess they’re friends with the BLACK LABEL guys!’ Bullshit! Get the fuck outta here with that stupid shit! Damn pussies! (laughs)”

B2: “(laughs) You know, I don’t want to point the finger, and put the blame on Sharon with all of this, but I can name a bunch of bands that have no business being on OZZFEST, let alone headlining in front of BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, but who’s fault is that shit? I know it’s all about introducing new bands to the world, but I just feel that OZZFEST is not the place to do a lot of experimenting around like that. I have never personally attended an OZZFEST in my life, and I get labels throwing tickets at me left and right each year to do so, but I’ve got to tell you, if I ever did go, it would be late in the day, and only to see bands like you, MARILYN MANSON, OZZY and maybe this year, CRADLE OF FILTH. I’m not really down with any of the other bands on the bill.”

ZAKK: “I was just talking about this the other day with some guy that worked at one of the labels, he was talking about how fucking pathetic some of this shit is, and I’m like thinking to myself, you know this year, you’re gonna have some fucking new bands out there like that band SHADOW’S FALL. Those guys can fucking rip on some guitars and they’re like a bunch of fucking young kids. Man, obviously they listen to guys like Dime (PANTERA), and Randy Rhoads, you know what I mean? As far as I’m concerned, they’re playing their fucking instruments, and they’re good at it. You know what I mean? Let me tell you a funny fucking story. This will fucking kill you, Bam-Bam. I was doing an in-store at this record store the other day and (laughs) this manager of this store goes, ‘Hey, Zakk, I gotta story for you that’s the gayest of gay, man!’ This fucking label has just put out this Jimmi Hendrix anthology box set or some shit, and this record store manager is talking to the label rep and he overheard her talking to someone at the record store and she said, ‘Well, is Jimmy gonna be available to do interviews cause we really need to push this release?’ (laughs) Can you believe that shit? Is fucking Hendrix gonna be available to do interviews? (laughs for days) Oh shit, this is what we’re dealing with in the world right now, bro. This is why good Metal bands can’t get any fucking where because these are the stupid fucks the labels have working for them, promoting this shit. And here’s one better than that… One of those same guys in that record store said he called up one of the record companies to ask them for tickets to a fucking DEF LEPPARD performance. He needed press passes or some shit like that. Now, Bam, what is their fucking label, like Mercury or something like that?”

B2: “Yeah, but I believe Mercury is a division of Polygram, which was sold to Universal and Interscope Records, so I think it’s all under that Universal umbrella now.”

ZAKK: “Yeah, but it’s something that’s been around for fucking years, you see where I’m headed? We’re talking a major fucking label here, not like Joe Blow Fucking Records, a major label, who should fucking know better. So, this guys goes, ‘Can I get some press passes for the DEF LEPPARD show?’ And the chic goes, ‘Umm, what is the act again?’ And he says, ‘DEF LEPPARD, I need press passes and an after show interview pass.’ And the chic says, ‘Yeah, o.k., he’s a rapper, right? Let me transfer you to the Urban/Rap Department!’ She thinks the fucking guy’s name is DEF LEPPARD! (laughs) Oh, this shit is totally killing me! Ladies and Gentlemen, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Def Fuckin’ Leppard! (laughs) What the fuck? Flat out, the girl has no fucking clue who the fuck DEF LEPPARD is.”

B2: “That’s the sickest story I’ve ever heard, man! So much for those college interns that work at the labels for free, huh? Half of those kids weren’t even alive when these bands were hitting their stride.”

ZAKK: “Dude, that’s no fucking excuse. I wasn’t fucking alive, or else I was just being born. I was born in ’67, so when that first SABBATH album came out, I was like fucking two, so that’s no excuse, man. No excuse at all. I know every fucking thing about BLACK SABBATH!”

B2: “Yeah, I know what you’re saying. Speaking of SABBATH and OZZY, let’s shoot back to your younger days and what you were doing before you landed the gig with the Grandfather Of Metal back in ’87/’88. Who were you listening to and what were you doing before you got the gig with Ozzy?”

ZAKK: “Well, I was a hardcore fucking drug dealer at the time. (laughs) No, seriously though, I’m not a drughead, bro. All I do is drink beer and eat my wife’s ass, you know? (laughs) That ain’t too serious of a habit, is it? (laughs) Back at the time, I auditioned, just like everybody else and I got fucking lucky, man. That’s all!”

B2: “Oh, come on Zakk, it couldn’t have been that easy and just based on luck, bro.”

ZAKK: “Well, as far as what I was listening to, shit, you ask anybody my age and in my genre what they were listening to, and it’s all the same. I was hitting up the Randy Rhoads, SABBATH… Hell, I’ve got like an Ozzy/Randy Rhoads shrine in my room right now. You should see all the shit I’ve got. For me, that was the ultimate goal in life, and it still is, you know, to play with Ozzy. It’s like, without a doubt, the most Cinderella story you’ve ever heard. It’s like being a BEATLES fan and then being asked to go do John Lennon‘s parts with the original band. You know?”

B2: “I’m with you, bro. It’s like Eddie Van Halen coming in and saying, ‘Hey Bam, Alex quit. You wanna play with us!’ (laughs) I’m right there with you, but just not as talented to be able to say I did it. Now, how did you feel about the guitarist who’s place you actually took? I’m a huge Jake E. Lee fan and I don’t think that guy gets as much credit as he deserves.”

ZAKK: “Oh, shit, man. Jake is amazing!”

B2: “I agree, and I think most people credit you for sounding so much like Randy, but I honestly think you have more of Jake E.’s style coming out of you sans that little ‘pig squeal’ effect that you use so much that has become your trademark.”

ZAKK: “If you ask any guitar player, they’ll tell you the same thing, Jake is so underrated. I mean, Jake’s fucking awesome. Every time I hear Jake play, I can tell you that he’s the one jamming. At the end of the day that’s the true mark of anybody who’s fucking ripping – when you can tell who it is by their style. I mean Jake’s fucking got chops, he can play so fucking fast that it’ll make your head come off. He’s just got tons of blues in that style of his.” BLS group

B2: “I’m glad you mentioned that because, getting over to your new record, The Blessed Hellride, which will be out on Spitfire Records in mid-April, I’m hearing some very blues influenced stuff. I’ve only heard six songs off of the record, but the title track, I mean, would it be safe to say that it’s very blues influenced? It’s got you playing acoustic guitar all the way through, it’s mellow, it’s bluesy… What’s your feelings on this one?”

ZAKK: “Well, basically what we did when we got together for this one, is we just whipped out all the old POISON records and started listening to them and we said, ‘This is what we’re going for, baby, right here!'”

B2: “(laughs) Oh quit pulling my fucking leg here, Zakk. You’ve never owned a POISON record in your life.”

ZAKK: “No, just the early stuff before they sold out, bro.”

B2: “O.k., far be it for me to argue with Zakk Wylde, and I really am a huge fan of POISON and everything they did back in the day, but I gotta be honest with you, bro, they sold-out the second they stepped onto a stage back in the early 80’s! (laughs)”

ZAKK: “Hey, man, their shit was very ZEPPELIN orientated in the beginning, man! Hey, it’s all good, Bam-Bam, I’m just bustin’ your balls here. I mean, like I said before, I’m very good friends with those guys, I love em’ to death, man. I mean, they’ll flat out tell you that they suck as musicians, and that’s why they’re such cool fucking guys, cuz they’ll just take the piss out of any insult you throw at them, you know?”

B2: “(laughs) Absolutely. But, when you guys were sitting down to write this record, I mean, what was the logic behind it all. The songs I heard had many differences. I mean, ‘The Blessed Hellride’, I thought that would just be a barn stormer and yet, it’s an acoustic, ballad type thing, if you will.”

ZAKK: “Well, The Blessed Hellride, that’s just a fucking title, man. That’s just a goof. It’s like when you’re all hung over and you gotta get up in the morning, you know, ‘Get the fuck up man, shake it off. We gotta go make some damn music.’ That’s The Blessed Hellride. When you don’t feel like fucking moving, but you know you gotta get your ass outta bed and do your thing, that’s The Blessed Hellride. To us, it’s a daily grind. We gotta get up and get on The Blessed Hellride. That’s where that came from. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in a band or what. Me and you could be workin’ at a fucking gas station and you look at me and go, ‘Hey Zakk, where are we heading today?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh Bam, it’s back on the fucking Blessed Hellride.’ You know?”

B2: “Well, did you intentionally go in a different direction here because the last album was just so balls-out kick ass?”

ZAKK: “Well, let’s put it this way, I’d never go into the fucking studio and say, ‘Well, we gotta write a record like this and we gotta write a song for radio.’ I mean, who the fuck writes records like that?”

B2: “Well, for one, Ronnie James DIO told me he wrote a couple like that.”

ZAKK: “Oh what fuckin’ ever! It’s like listening to ZEPPELIN or SABBATH. I dare you to tell me which one is the best because it just depends on what mood you’re in. They’re all fucking great! But let’s say I want to hear something other than that “Whole Lotta Love” style thing. Well, throw on Physical Graffiti and you’re covered, you know? It’s just the way the songs came out when they came out. That’s the mark of a true artist. I mean, when you go take a shit, you don’t fucking go, ‘Man, look at the size of that fucking thing, I can’t believe that thing didn’t break apart.’ (laughs all around) You don’t go in there and plan what your shit’s gonna look like when it comes out. (laughs) I mean, you go in there and you write riffs, and you’ve got no idea what they’re gonna sound like before you crank them out. You just do it. It’s just a concoction of what you listen to that makes it all happen. I can’t stand these fucking bands like N’SYNC or whatever the horseshit is everybody’s listening to, and these guys wear like a ZEPPELIN T-shirt, or a SABBATH T-shirt, and they’re like, ‘Hey, this is us, this is what we’re into.’ I’m like, ‘Are you for fuckin’ real? What the fuck are you talking about? You never heard a ZEPPELIN or SABBATH record in your life, you little cock sucker. Your music doesn’t even sound anything like that. If you’re really such a fucking fan, then why do you play that shit you’re playing?’ I don’t get it. It’s not even close. You wanna hear someone who’s being real? That would be like the guys in GUNS AND ROSES saying they dig THE STONES, early SEX PISTOLS, and fucking AEROSMITH! Well yeah, and it fucking sounds like it. That’s what I mean about being true to what you love. You don’t hear the guys in G’N’R saying, ‘Oh, let’s see, who’s our favorite band? Ummm, DEPECHE MODE!’ (laughs) You know what I mean? I mean listen to their shit. [Zakk imitates Axl’s classic banshee scream in ‘Welcome To The Jungle‘], Shananana-Knees-Knees! That’s powerful shit. They know where it’s all coming from too, and that’s cool. At least some pop bands like OASIS, when someone says, ‘Who’s your favorite band?’ they say, ‘The fucking BEATLES, and the reason our shit sounds like them is because we fucking love those guys.’ End of fucking story. I remember when KINGDOM COME came out, and people were like, ‘Oh, you like ZEPPELIN?’ and they were like, ‘Who’s that?’. Give me a fuckin’ break! I mean, if they had just said, ‘We’re ZEPPELIN freaks,’ it would have been cool. But they’re like, ‘Who The Fuck Are They?’ Get the fuck outta here! I’m not trying to say they were rip-offs. I mean that song sounded like it was influenced by ZEPPELIN, no doubt, but I’m not trying to say they were a total rip-off band. It’s just if they had said, ‘Yeah, we’re influenced by ZEPPELIN cause they’re one of the greatest fucking bands that ever lived,’ that would have been cool. But they just fucking lied. Big fucking deal. If you’re stealing from the best, so what! Who cares? But you can’t just act like you’ve never heard of these guys before. That’s horseshit, man!”

B2: “Oh man, I feel bad talking about this because I’m really good friends with their first drummer, James Kottak, who now plays for the SCORPIONS.”

ZAKK: “Oh, James is a cool motherfucker. I’m talking more about that fucking singer in all those interviews he did back in the day, acting like he’d never even heard of ZEPPELIN. You know, some shit about he was from Canada or something, dude. Give me a fucking break over here, you know?”

B2: “Now, I know most people try to keep your different entities separate when they talk about Zakk the solo artist and the band BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, but they are kind of one in the same because this is your solo project, but it is a very established band, as well.”

ZAKK: “Yeah, I don’t know why they do that fucking shit. Just to sell records, I guess. But BLACK LABEL SOCIETY is actually bigger than Zakk Wylde. It’s a fucking lifestyle that’s bigger than me or anybody in it.”

B2: “In keeping with that, who’s taking the Blessed Hellride with you this time around? Who are the musicians in the band at this point?”

ZAKK: “Well you got Nick Catanese, my evil fucking twin on guitar with me, then we got Craig Nunenmacher playing drums, and Mike Inez is gonna be playing bass with us.”

B2: “Oh wow!”

ZAKK: “Yeah, we got Skank Magnolia back in the fold with us (laughs). That guy is hysterical. He’s a sick ass bass player too. So, Mike’s gonna do the fucking thing with us, and we got the rest of the road crew, all the alcoholics and druggies are gonna be out doing this thing with us. Let the fucking comedy begin!”

B2: “I hear you! Let The Blessed Hellride begin! Now, here’s something that has had me curious ever since the movie Rockstar came out. You got the chance to play with some of the best players in the business, in my opinion, on this soundtrack. I am one of the hugest Jason Bonham fans, and I have always wondered why you and former DOKKEN bassist, Jeff Pilson haven’t put an album out together. That would fucking rule, man!”

ZAKK: “Oh shit, people always say that Jason gets so much credit because of who his dad is [Obligatory Writer’s Note: For those who may have been living under a rock for the past 20 years, we’re referring, of course, to the legendary ZEPPELIN drummer, John Bonham.], but let me tell you right now, that motherfucker’s timing is unreal. It’s gotta be a genetic thing going on there, but he is just incredible. It still sounds like Jason, but you hear a lot of his pops rolling around in there. He’s his own guy, but it’s pretty weird sometimes to be playing with him and it just feel like you’re playing with Bonzo, in the flesh.”

B2: “He’s so good, man. So, is there anything in the can or any plans that you, Jason, and Jeff would do anything like that, cuz that’s an album that I would line up and beat the shit out of somebody to get a hold of?”

ZAKK: “Well, right now, there’s no plans to do anything like that. You know, Jeff, he’s out doing his own thing, and Jason, he’s got that band. What’s it called? Ummm, HEALING SIXES, or something like that? He’s out bustin’ his balls doing that thing, and there’s talk that they’re gonna get the ZEPPELIN thing back together and he’s gonna be the one going out with them as the drummer, so he’s gonna be busy.”

B2: “Oh, are you serious? I read somewhere that Jason has said no one had ever contacted him on doing that. That was back in January of this year.”

ZAKK: “Yeah, I’ve read where it’s gonna be Jason and somebody even said it was gonna be Dave Fuckin’ Grohl doin’ that shit. If they’re gonna go back out and there’s no way to bring John Bonham back to life, then, I mean, who you gonna get?”

B2: “Oh, Jason, totally!”

ZAKK: “I mean, you gotta! It’s the only logical fucking choice, man!”

B2: “Well, judging on the Rock Star soundtrack, and the songs you guys all played together, I would really hope that the idea of you guys getting together and doing an album would be something that you think about. I know as cheesy as you might be thinking those songs were, and the fact that I know they were written by somebody else might have you down on them a bit, I think the three of you would put out one of the most killer albums to date in Rock-N-Roll!”

ZAKK: “Yeah, that was all 80’s period, goofy shit, but I had a great time playing with Jason and Jeff. I mean, Jeff is one hell of a fucking bass player. We were screwing around in the studio with all this fusion shit, and I was like, ‘Hey motherfucker, I never knew you could play like that!’ You know, you just listen to those DOKKEN records and it’s like, Bloomp, Bloomp, Bloomp. You know, shit like that. And Jeff’s got a killer fucking voice. Geez, he can sing, and he’s a sick ass bass player. He’s got it going on, man.”

B2: “Let’s talk about another friend of yours, your drinking buddy. (laughs) What’s up these days with Dime?”

ZAKK: “Oh God, man, I love Dime to death. It’s always fucking comedy whenever I hook up with him! (laughs)”

B2: “Yeah, comedy and destruction! (laughs) Let’s talk about the last time you two were together over this past Christmas. Is it true that you totally destroyed a rented truck by driving into trees in Dime’s front yard?”

ZAKK: “(laughs) I ended up actually paying for that thing, though. I hooked that driver up with a couple of my Les Pauls, my Zakk Wylde signature Les Pauls and some shit, and Dime paid him a bunch of money to cover all the damage, so it’s all good.”

B2: “But let’s talk about what happened.”

ZAKK: “Well, (laughs) rearview mirrors were hanging off this thing, the whole bottom of it was smashed to fuck. It was a fucking mess when I was done with that thing.”

B2: “Now, the way I heard it, you were running over a Christmas tree in Dime’s front yard.”

ZAKK: “Yeah, some shit like that. Dime was like, ‘Hey Zakk, Rita,’ that’s Dime’s old lady, Rita. So he’s like, ‘Yeah, Rita don’t like that fucking tree, why don’t you take it out.’ So, I’m like, ‘O.k., give me the keys,’ and I just start smashing into this fucking tree in his front yard. It was hilarious. I was running this motherfucking tree over, raising some hell, drinking some brew.”

B2: “Now, the way I heard it, you weren’t just drinking brew on this night, you were drinking one of Dime’s patented medicines called a Black Tooth Grin. What the hell is that?”

ZAKK: “Well, that’s Dime’s favorite. It’s Crown Royal and Coca-Cola, he calls it a Black Tooth Grin. I like mine mixed with Ginger Ale, and Dime calls that one the Zakk Tooth Grin. Either way, it’s good shit, and you drink a lot of it, you don’t get too blitzed, but you do some stupid shit like run over motherfucking trees in people’s yards and shit. Crown Royal, Ginger Ale and some ice; you’re ready to roll!”

B2: “Are you and Dime planning on doing anything together soon?”

ZAKK: “Well, I sang on some of Dime’s new shit. You know he’s got that new band called NEW FOUND POWER; it’s really great! People ask me, ‘Hey, what do they sound like?’ Well, Dime’s writing all the riffs and the music. What the fuck do you think it sounds like?”

B2: “Plus he’s got Vinnie playing drums, so that kind of makes it a no-brainer if you ask me. I mean, all you need it Phil back and you’ve got PANTERA!”

ZAKK: “Yeah, no shit. That’s what they sound like. It’s crushing, heavy shit. As far as I’m concerned, for that type of music, there is no comparison. They’re the best. I think it’s fucking awesome and I hope they do well with it. So, I sang backups on one song, and I played a solo on one of them. We had a fucking blast. You know what would be cool? To have SLAYER, NEW FOUND POWER, and BLACK LABEL SOCIETY all on tour together on the same bill. That would be the fucking shit, man!”

B2: “For some reason, I can actually see that happening. Now, you’re headed out to Las Vegas to do a one-off House Of Blues Show with Ozzy tomorrow night (Friday, March 14th), right? How did that come about?”

ZAKK: “Well, Ozzy just called me up, and he’s been dealing with poor Sharon being sick for the past nine months, and he was just like, ‘Hey Zakk, I wanna get out of the fucking house and go play some music.’ So, I’m like, ‘Whatever you want, buddy. Let’s go do it.’ So, we’re gonna go do that, and then I’ll be out touring with BLACK LABEL after that and all the way through the OZZFEST dates, where I’ll be playing with both bands again.”

B2: “Now, do you feel comfortable talking about how Sharon is doing right now? I keep seeing you pop up on a few episodes of THE OSBOURNES, and I know you’re a friend of the family, not just Ozzy, so how the hell is she doing now?”

ZAKK: “Sharon’s doing really well now, which I think is just fucking awesome. Sharon’s like my fucking mother, but there was a time there when me and Ozzy would talk like twice a day and he’d be telling me, ‘Zakk, I just wake up every day and I don’t know if she’s going to be laying there dead beside me, or what.’ I mean, this is like the most financially and physically successful he’s ever been in his whole career, and he’s been the most miserable I’ve ever seen him the whole time I’ve known him. It’s fucking tragic, man. But she’s doing really well, and me and Ozzy are gonna be out there playing. We’ll have a couple of drinks together and it’ll be good for him. He can still fucking throw down, man. He told me on the last OZZFEST we did, because he was so upset about everything that was going on with Sharon, that he didn’t remember any of it. Not one fucking bit of it. We’d go onstage, totally sober, we’d come off and he’d just get ripped and sit there on the bus. He didn’t remember the whole fucking tour! It was sad.”

B2: “Now I was reading all over the place that he was sober all the way on that last tour.”

ZAKK: “Oh, Bam-Bam, give me a fucking break. Now, I know him really well, and the whole time I’ve been friends with him, I have never, ever seen him go onstage with anything in him. He’s totally sober onstage, always! But man, if he gets off the stage and wants to get a bomb on, you better run for the fucking hills! It’s on, man! Ozzy has no takers when it comes to grabbing that crown, let me tell you. Now, he doesn’t get fucked up every day like he used to, but he can still throw down from time to time. I swear I’ve never seen anybody who can do it like him. He just totally gets obliterated, and then he’s up at the crack of dawn the next day like nothing happened. (in his best British by way of Jersey accent) ‘Hallo guys, what do you feel like doing today?’ (laughs) The fucking guy kills me!” BLS - Drum-Guitar

B2: “Well, let’s finish it all up with a quote from Zakk. This is your chance to sign off with all the EDGE Readers and say what you want to and get it all out there in the open. Go for it, Zakk!”

ZAKK: “I wanna tell everybody that it’s more fucking alcohol fueled motherfucking brutality, just chock full of fucking alcohol, violence, rottweillers, ravens, chains, skulls and all that other horseshit. It’s a ton of fucking Marshalls and fucking Les Pauls. So, you know, it’s another chock full serving of a keg of BLACK LABEL! (laughs)”

B2: “What a note to end on. Zakk, thanks for all your time. You’re a fucking hero of mine and a million other fans out there, and I’ll support you through whatever you decide to do in your career, bro!”

ZAKK: “Thank you, brother, it’s been fun. You take care, buddy!”

And as I hung the phone up, I sat for at least ten minutes feeling as if I’d just drank heavily from that keg Zakk was referring to. It was 1:40 p.m., almost an hour and a half from the time we began. Zakk could obviously clock out and scream, “Beer thirty! Hand me a Black Label!” Me, I had to stagger around for the next four hours acting as if anything my day put in front of me was even half as important as what I had just witnessed. One thing that did keep me laughing until the 5:30 whistle came rumbling in, was the vision of Zakk trying to make a call on one of those new phones. I imagined the banter that would obviously be exchanged if that call was to his long-time friend and band mate, Ozzy Osbourne. It would be a record setting day for the most uses of the ‘F-Word’ the world could imagine. My thanks to Zakk for more of his time than what I was originally allotted for this interview. You are a most generous host, my friend! Also, thanks to Jon Paris from Spitfire Records for the major hook-up on this one. Buckle up for The Blessed Hellride. It’s a lot faster than you think!

The Chameleon Club – Lancaster, PA
August 4, 2013
Review by Marcy J Royce

It was not just another one of those shows. You know, the show where you walked in and knew what the night sorta would be like. I walked into The Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA with a completely open mind to this new powerhouse group dubbed THE WINERY DOGS.

When I told friends I was going to check out this new trio, they thought “oh yeah, you like wine and you like dogs… that’s why you’re going.” Well, not exactly. You see, I’m a child of 80’s and 90’s music and when you place these three heavy hitters in one solid band, it’s bound to be a match made in heaven. Yep, it sure was for me! The chemistry of Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, Billy Sheehan of Mr. Big, and Richie Kotzen of Poison/Mr. Big was completely revealed by the end of their set.

Winery Dogs

Winery Dogs

Their new self titled cd was released on July 23, 2013. And a tour followed suit to show how much these guys are going to grab the industry by the balls and rip up the stereotypes of their peers. THE WINERY DOGS jumpstarted their grip to visit the masses in July overseas. U.S. fans were rabid for them to return to our soil. When they did, the first place to feel the froth was New York City at the famed B.B. Kings. I knew some people who saw that show and had nothing but accolades for their performance. So I was ready to have my choker chain yanked by them.

As I readied myself to photograph these guys, the crowd and myself began to get really eager for the set to kick off with the stellar song, Elevate. Don’t for one darn minute let your mind think that these veterans of the stage would act their age. Sheehan was energetic and entertaining, smiling and engaging with the crowd constantly. Kotzen belted lyrics like they were home runs all the while nailing each note on his guitar. And Portnoy, well… Portnoy is Portnoy. If you know drummers you know what Portnoy can deliver. Hard hitting, solid delivery, high energy are key elements of what made me take notice early on. Portnoy also had superb engagement with fans this night from the first level all the way to the third level. With these three, the bark and the bite are equally enthralling.

Richie Kotzen

Richie Kotzen

Billy Sheehan

Billy Sheehan

Mike Portnoy

Mike Portnoy

These guys performed all the tracks from their debut album this night. That is what shined the most, the innovative presentation and the radio deserving songs that are sure to become quick hits. It’s raw, pure and exceptional rock and roll at its finest. No matter if the song was slow or fast tempo, each one left you toe tapping and head bopping leading you to want more and more. This is what true rock and roll is all about! All the songs left such an impression on me that I just couldn’t wait to listen to their cd again on my way home. The stage was set simplistically with their gear, a watered down version as to what I’m sure they are accustomed. All that doesn’t matter when you blend these three genre leaders into this group. The technical superiority just takes center stage. While the lighting is not impressive at this venue, I captured the essence of each member. Check out my photos: THE WINERY DOGS Photos

As I traveled home listening to their cd, I paired my visual memory of the show with each track I heard. A joy to relive the entire night. I’ve reviewed and photographed many bands in my last few years with away-team.com and I can honestly say that THE WINERY DOGS are in my top 5 bands to go see again and again. I say with conviction they are the remedy to what needs to be in today’s music. Melding past with present, lyrically and musically. A strong backbone fused with melodical mastery.

I already know that they are booked on the 2014 Monsters Of Rock Cruise. And I just know, without a single doubt in my mind, this tantalizing trio WILL BE the group that everyone will be talking about. But why wait until next year??? Check their schedule for the city nearest to you AND GO!!! Case in point: I have a friend in radio and she and I were talking about this show and she told me a venue near her inquired to her about these guys. Asking her what her opinion was about them, could he get enough people to fill his place. Emphatically I exclaimed “HELL YES!” She asked her listeners via Facebook if they would attend THE WINERY DOGS show. An overwhelming amount said yes. This may very well be the beginning of a “Dog Domination.” (They can quote me on that in the future, lol).

Setlist for Lancaster:
We Are One
One More Time
Time Machine
Six Feet Deeper
Drum Solo
The Other Side
Bass Solo
You Saved Me
Not Hopeless
Stand (Poison cover)
You Can’t Save Me
Shine (Mr Big Cover)
I’m No Angel
The Dying
Fooled Around & Fell In Love (Elvin Bishop Cover)

The Winery Dogs Website
The Winery Dogs Facebook

Watch Elevate video:

Buy their cd at:
The Winery Dogs on Amazon

A huge thank you to my gal Amanda for this opportunity involving me and the away-team. She’s my go-to gal for so much.

The Winery Dogs


The Chameleon Club

Lancaster, PA

Photos: Marcy J Royce

Richie Kotzen

Richie Kotzen

Billy Sheehan

Billy Sheehan

Mike Portnoy

Mike Portnoy

Billy Sheehan

Billy Sheehan

Billy Sheehan

Billy Sheehan

Billy Sheehan

Billy Sheehan

Winery Dogs

Winery Dogs

Richie Kotzen

Richie Kotzen

Billy Sheehan

Billy Sheehan

Richie Kotzen

Richie Kotzen

Richie Kotzen

Richie Kotzen

Mike Portnoy

Mike Portnoy

Mike Portnoy

Mike Portnoy

Billy Sheehan

Billy Sheehan

Richie Kotzen

Richie Kotzen

Mike Portnoy

Mike Portnoy

Mike Portnoy

Mike Portnoy

Winery Dogs

Winery Dogs

Richie Kotzen

Richie Kotzen

Winery Dogs

Winery Dogs

Mike Portnoy

Mike Portnoy

Richie Kotzen

Richie Kotzen

Richie Kotzen

Richie Kotzen

Billy Sheehan

Billy Sheehan

Mike Portnoy

Mike Portnoy

Mike Portnoy

Mike Portnoy

Richie Kotzen

Richie Kotzen

Winery Dogs Crowd

Winery Dogs Crowd

Winery Dogs Fan

Winery Dogs Fan

The Winery Dogs_PromoJuly 31, 2013 –THE WINERY DOGS (@TheWineryDogs) is sending a huge thank you to their loyal fans in North America for giving their critically-acclaimed self-titled debut album a strong debut on the Billboard charts. Not only did it explode onto the “Top Rock Chart” at #5, it also opens on the “Top 200 Albums” chart at #27.

The power trio–Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Avenged Sevenfold), Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big) and Richie Kotzen (Mr. Big, Poison)—self-produced THE WINERY DOGS, which was released July 23 on Loud & Proud Records. The album has been hailed as “…one of the most intriguing releases of the year” by Loudwire.com, and in a recent reader’s poll on Revolver magazine’s website, fans called it their “Album of the Week.”

Success hasn’t been limited to the U.S. shores. THE WINERY DOGS recently kicked off their first-ever tour in Japan and South America to sold-out crowds wherever they played. After one more stop in Buenos Aires on August 1, they’ll head home for their first U.S. shows, starting August 3 in New York City at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill. While they’re in town, THE WINERY DOGS will appear on “The Artie Lange Show,” which will air Monday, August 5 at 10pm ET on DirectTV and is streamed live on the show’s website. On Tuesday, August 6 at 7pm, the band will take part in an in-store signing session at Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJ. For more information, visit www.vvinyl.com.

Once the first leg of their U.S. trek concludes on August 8, Portnoy, Sheehan and Kotzen will take a much-deserved break before heading back overseas for their first shows in Europe throughout most of September, which will include stops in England, Germany, Spain, Italy and Portugal. The U.S. tour will start up again on October 3 in Agoura Hills, CA at the Canyon Club.

Meanwhile, THE WINERY DOGS will guest on the nationally syndicated radio show, “Rockline,” with host Bob Coburn on Wednesday, August 14 at 8:30pm PT/11:30pm ET. Fans are encouraged to speak with the band that night by calling 1-800-344-ROCK (7625). The show will be streamed on Rocklineradio.com for two weeks beginning the afternoon after the live broadcast.

Check out THE WINERY DOGS at any of the following U.S. tour stops:

DATE                      CITY                                             VENUE

Sat 8/3               New York, NY                     B.B. King Blues Club and Grill
Sun 8/4             Lancaster, PA                      Chameleon Club
Tue 8/6              Fords, NJ                             Vintage Vinyl (in-store)
Wed 8/7            Newton, NJ                          The Newton Theater
Thu 8/8             Chicago, IL                            Reggie’s Rock Club
Thu 10/3           Agoura Hills, CA                 Canyon Club
Fri 10/4              Las Vegas, NV                     Vamp’d
Sat 10/5              San Diego, CA                     Romana Mainstage
Sun 10/6    San Juan Capistrano, CA        Coach House
Tue 10/8        Sacramento, CA                     Harlow’s
Wed 10/9        San Francisco, CA               Yoshi’s

The Winery Dogs-Album Cover


The Winery Dogs


The Winery Dogs


Loud & Proud Records


Rating: 11 out of 10


Release Date: 7/23/13

Yes, you did read that right, 11 out of 10, we broke the scale on this one!  The word triumvirate is often defined as a “rule of three”, in this case it’s “three that rule”.  Guitarist and vocalist Ritchie Kotzen (Mr. Big/Poison), bassist Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big), and drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater/Avenged Sevenfold) have long been considered three of the finest at their respective crafts, so it’s no surprise that when their talents collide we are left with nothing less than an Album of the Year contender.

From the opening riff of “Elevate”, you realize that this is going to be one of those albums where one can’t help but “feel” the music.  A blues rooted rocker with a hint of Nugent-meets-Wolfmother, this opening track is just a pre-cursor of what’s to come.  From “Desire” to “The Other Side” to “Regret”, the entire album is riddled with screaming, yet soulful guitar, pulse-pounding drums, killer vocals,  and bass lines that would make Geddy Lee blush!

With such a great collection of musical genius, it’s hard to pick a favorite.  There are, however, some highlights that cannot go unmentioned.  One such highlight is “The Other Side”, which begins with Portnoy’s drums launching into a finger bleeding bass line from Sheehan, climaxing with Kotzen’s guitar solo, at which point he releases inner Eddie Van Halen.  

Kotzen then takes that same style and melds it into “One More Time”.  Yet another reminder that these guys are a force to be reckoned with, this track bears hints of Eric Johnson meets Van Halen’s “Eruption”. On the track “Six Feet Deeper” Portnoy’s drumming channels the spirit of the late, great, John Bonham. “Damaged” and “Not Hopeless” are two more favorites of mine that highlight just how much Kotzen’s voice sounds like that of one of rock’s greatest voices, Chris Cornell.

Perhaps the coolest song on the album is “Time Machine”.  This track has a conceptual feel to it, in that it begins sounding very much like a modern day Alice In Chains tune, and transforms as we travel time, into some good old fashioned 80’s guitar power rock!  Last, but certainly not least, the album culminates with “Regret”; a true blues based rock track that summons the air guitar and serves as a reminder that “blues gave birth to rock ‘n roll”, making our only regret not pressing the “Repeat All” button.

Every album has one or two band members on it that truly stand out, but The Winery Dogs smash that theory to pieces with their debut album.  If you love blues-based power rock, July 23rd should be like Christmas morning for audiophiles everywhere.  Hands down, the best album of 2013!!!

What are you waiting for??? Click here to pre-order The Winery Dogs debut album, and find out when they’ll be coming to your town to blow your mind in person!

Metal Icon LITA FORD is gearing up for the release of her new album Living Like A Runaway, which will be unleashed June 19th in North America via SPV/Steamhammer. The album will be available in four configurations: a double LP, limited edition CD, standard CD and digital download.

Today a first look at the double LP edition of Living Like a Runaway has been unveiled. This exclusive double LP comes with colored vinyl including two bonus tracks as well as the CD version of the release.
Double LP Track Listing:

1. Branded
2. Hate
3. The Mask

1. Relentless
2. Devil In My Head
3. Asylum

1. Living Like A Runaway
2. Mother
3. A Song To Slit Your Wrists By

1. Love 2 Hate You

2. Bad Neighborhood
3. The Bitch Is Back

Coinciding with the album’s release, LITA is hitting the road this summer with Def Leppard and Poison on the “Rock of Ages Tour“. In addition to the dates with Def Leppard and Poison, LITA has confirmed additional headlining shows during the run. These dates are scheduled for June 21st in Tempe, AZ, June 28th in Lexington, KY and July 12th in Jim Thorpe, PA.

LITA FORD on Tour With Def Leppard and Poison:
6/20: Salt Lake City, UT @ USANA Amphitheater
6/21: Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee*
6/22: Irvine, CA @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
6/23: Las Vegas, NV @ Red Rock Amphitheater
6/25: Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center
6/27: Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center
6/28: Lexington, KY @ Buster’s Billiards + Backroom*
6/29: Atlanta, GA @ Aaron’s Amphitheater at Lakewood
6/30: Tampa, FL @ Tampa Bay Time Forum
7/2: Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
7/3: Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena
7/6: Cleveland, OH @ Quicken Loans Arena
7/7: Detroit, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theater
7/10: Baltimore, MD @ Merriweather Pavilion
7/11: Newark, NJ @ Prudential Center
7/12: Jim Thorpe, PA @ Penn’s Peak*
7/13: Wantagh, NY @ Nikon at Jones Beach Pavilion
7/14: Atlantic City, NJ @ Revel Ovation Hall
7/16: Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre
7/17: Hamilton, ON @ Copps Coliseum
7/19: Chicago, IL @ Allstate Arena
8/9: Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Bank Atlantic Center
8/11: Charlotte, NC @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
8/12: Virginia Beach, VA @ Farm Bureau Live
8/14: Pittsburgh, PA @ First Niagara Pavilion
8/15: Hershey, PA @ Hershey Park Stadium
8/17: Buffalo, NY @ Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
8/18: Boston, MA @ Comcast Center
8/20: Saratoga Springs, NY @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center
8/22: Bangor, ME @ Bangor Waterfront
8/24: Indianapolis, IN @ Klipsch Music Center
8/25: St. Louis, MO @ Chaifetz Arena
8/28: Des Moines, IA @ Wells Fargo Arena
8/29: Lampe, MO @ Black Oak Mountain Amphitheater
8/31: Oklahoma City, OK @ Zoo Amphitheater
9/1: Houston, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
9/3: Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center
9/4: Austin, TX @ Cedar Park Center
9/11: Albuquerque, NM @ Sandia Casino Amphitheater
9/12: Tucson, AZ @ Anselmo Valencia Amphitheater
9/14: Concord, CA @ Sleep Train Pavilion