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Billy Sheehan, Mike Portnoy and Richie Kotzen Project Wraps Up Debut Album

Billy Sheehan, Mike Portnoy and Richie Kotzen

A new album by a new supergroup will be coming in 2013, thanks to the teaming up of bassist Billy Sheehan, drummer Mike Portnoy and guitarist/vocalist Richie Kotzen.

“I’m really pleased with it,” Sheehan shared with Blabbermouth.net. “Richie sang his ass off and played amazingly unique stuff, and, of course Mike annihilated on drums. [It's a] really cool, unique record.”

The project originally included John Sykes, who was replaced by Sheehan’s Mr. Big bandmate, Kotzen. The cause for the change was due to a conflict in schedules – and the work styles of Sykes and the other band members. Portnoy and Sykes had recorded a dozen song demos in Los Angeles last year before the split.

In an interview last year on Eddie Trunk’s “Friday Night Rocks” radio show on New York’s Q104.3 FM, Portnoy discussed the reason for the change.

“I love John personally, and we get along great — he’s a sweetheart of a guy — but I need to keep moving,” the drummer shared. “I can’t sit still and kind of wait to make an album over the next three years, I need to put things on the calendar and move forward and get them done, and John’s kind of just a ‘wait, wait, wait’ guy. Sadly, it kind of just stopped in its tracks, and Billy and I said, ‘Look, let’s do something…’”

It was Trunk who made the suggestion that the duo work with Kotzen, who replaced Paul Gilbert in Mr. Big for a couple of studio albums.

The result? Portnoy described the band as having a “classic-rock kind of power-trio sound.”

“If you picture the classic-rock bands of… the classic ones — Zeppelin, Cream, Hendrix, Grand Funk [Railroad] — if you take that classic-rock power-trio sound of the early ’70s, and then you sprinkle it on top with some of the modern kind of sounds of Soundgarden and Alice in Chains or Black Crowes or Lenny Kravitz… It’s in that vein; it’s kind of a [mixture] of all of those bands.”

The group recorded 14 original songs and eight cover tunes. No word yet on what will make the final release. Stay tuned.