LIVE REVIEW: The Winery Dogs with special guest Johnny O’Neil

LIVE REVIEW: The Winery Dogs with special guest Johnny O'Neil


Opening the show was a Minneapolis favorite Johnny O’Neil. For those of you who are not familiar with Johnny, he was one of the founding members of Dare Force. Album #2 is completed but there is no release date yet. There is a potential that the album will be titled the same as the first single, Brand New Day which he performed live last night. He released a live EP recently that you can download for free on his website, If you like classic hard rock, give him a listen.

The Winery Dogs for the lack of a better term in my opinion are a supergroup. I know that term is probably misused but I don’t know what else to say. You have three over the top, extremely talented musicians playing together in a band that all come from successful careers with other bands. They just released their new album III, which you can listen to and download at their website-


I’ve been a fan of all three of these guys over the years and the bands that they’ve been in. The first being Billy Sheehan more so because of his work with David Lee Roth. That is when I first discovered him. I saw Richie Kotzen with Poison back in the day. I followed his solo career and now on to The Winery Dogs. He’s one of those musicians that you really had no idea how talented he was until he started writing his own material and singing. And lastly, Mike Portnoy who was the drummer of Dream Theater. The reason for the history lesson is because many of you reading this may have heard of The Winery Dogs but may not actually know who the members are.

We are truly a unique group of musicians coming together to make very interesting and unique music period to me they’re very much like the cream from the 60s. All of those band members were ridiculously talented yet we’re able to create some incredible rock and roll together and color within the lines so to speak. What I find interesting about them and their music is how technically proficient it is yet it’s still straightforward rock’n’roll. So many times in the past when I’ve seen bands that have a talent level that this band has, they have a tendency to go off on these long jams or turn the music into something that’s just entirely too progressive for my taste.



The songs have great hooks which is what keeps me coming back. I like the new single Xanadu Is a great place to start if you want to hear what they sound like and have no reference point. You can look it up on YouTube or on their website. Even though I’m not a musician I find myself mesmerized by how these three gentlemen play their instruments. I will never forget being in the front row for the Eat Em’ and Smile tour with David Lee Roth. Billy Sheehan was the bass player at the time with Steve Vai the guitar player period they did this dual solo that’s something I’ll never forget. There’s a lot of that in this band as well. You walk away shaking your head thinking how did he do that? And I’m not even a musician so it must make the musicians watching really shake their heads.

To me this is another band that deserves your attention and respect. They played to a packed crowd last night. There was literally nowhere to move so you had to hope you had a great spot to watch from because there was no place else to stand. They are currently on tour promoting their new record, check Pollstar or their website for upcoming dates.



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