Exclusive Interview with Richie Kotzen from The Winery Dogs About their New Album ‘Hot Streak’
By Veronica Haggar
The countdown begins for The Winery Dogs’ new album Hot Streak, to be released this Friday, Oct. 2nd, as well as Richie Kotzen’s first official live DVD.
The hard rock band The Winery Dogs, formed by lead vocalist and guitar player Richie Kotzen, bass player Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy on the drums, has been taking over the world since 2013, after the release of their first self-title album. This year they are more than ready to conquer the world once again with their second self-produced album, Hot Streak.
“I feel like the band has evolved since the first record and personally I think we outdid ourselves on this record,” said Richie Kotzen, vocalist and guitar player of the band. “I think that we were able to maintain the basic sound that was scooped on the first record but we ended up exploring some other venues that we didn’t do on the first record, I think it really just happened naturally.”
After playing together over 100 shows around the world, the Dogs have been able to get to know each other better, which they believe has made the writing process even easier than on the first record.
“My favorite tracks on the record would be, I guess Ghost Town, the song Hot Streak, I love that one, we have a song called Fire, which is a ballad and came out really great,” said Kotzen. “But you know when you look at songs it’s almost like picking out your favorite child, they’re all part of you so it is really difficult to do.”
Kotzen confessed that the song Fire almost didn’t make it on the record. This unique ballad evolved from a very different song. Even though the original piece was pretty much the same quality, the lyrics were heading in a different direction.
“I remember when I started doing the guitar parts at my studio and making some of the production work for the song, I started realizing that I really wasn’t in love with the lyrics,” confessed Kotzen. “I wanted to changed them and at that point I started messing around with the lyrics and I came up with Fire.”
While the original piece was meant to be recorded with the idea of being a typical trio with an electric guitar, bass, and drums, Kotzen realized that the piano would be the key instrument for this song.
“If you listen to the song, the piano part is really the glue that is kind of holding everything together,” explained Kotzen. “Then I decided to go with the nylon string guitar to add this different flavor.”
While the fans anticipate the new album, they have already been rocking out to Oblivion, the track chosen as the leading song of Hot Streak.
“Personally, I really would’ve love to have lead with Hot Streak,” admitted Kotzen. “I personally think that would’ve been a better choice but you know I learned, after being in the record business since I was 18, that sometimes you have to trust other people,” explains Kotzen about the decision on making Oblivion the leading song for Hot Streak. “We are writing the songs, we are producing the record, we’re making a lot of the important choices that affect the outcome of what we are creating, and at a certain point, I’m not in the marketing business you know, I’m a musician, I’m an artist, I’m a song writer, so if someone listen to the record and the label, and they think that ‘hey this is the song that we want to start with’ then you know, I’m fine with it.”
The band has also been working on a music video for the song Oblivion.
“I’m hoping it’ll be out within the next couple of weeks because it would be nice to have that out with the record,” said Kotzen about the release of the music video. “I’m curious to see what it’s going to look like because it was one of the video shoots that we were kind of trusting the directors you know, all the cool stuff is going to happen in editing.”
The Richie Kotzen Live DVD comes out the same day as Hot Streak, a big day for Kotzen.
Kotzen had been touring and making records for years, somehow he never had the opportunity to record a proper DVD.
“I did one years ago in Brazil and it was a great show but the cameras that were used were lower resolution and it wasn’t ‘a high def thing’ and the audio was ok but it wasn’t that great,” clarifies Kotzen. “This time, we were able to go in with great cameras and great audio equipment, and they really capture what I do with my band, it’s an exciting DVD,” affirms Kotzen. “I play at a level that I don’t really reach when I play with The Winery Dogs, just by the nature of the kind of music that we do on the trio, so i think it’s going to be very interesting for people to watch me playing in that environment.”
The Double Down World Tour starts this Saturday. The band will be playing all around the U.S. during the present year and in 2016 they will be playing around the world.
“A lot of bands when they come out with a new record they like to play 1 or 2 songs of the new record but with The Winery Dogs I think we’re going to do a pretty big chunk of the new record,” said Kotzen. “We have toured all over the world and we had to play you know a full show and so we ended up doing an entire record and we had a couple of cover songs as well, but this time we have 2 records to chose from so we don’t have to add any cover songs.”
The rock band will be playing at The Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale on Oct. 16th.
“I really can’t wait for it [Hot Streak album] to come out and can’t wait to get out there and play it for people,” admits Kotzen, thrilled about the release of the album and the upcoming tour.