Supergroup features ex-members of Dream Theater, GNR, and Journey
By David Sands
August 4, 2017
Billy Sheehan and his Winery Dogs bandmate Mike Portnoy have a new band in the works, one that gives a respectful tip of the hat to the Greek god of music and poetry. Their divinely inspired prog metal supergroup is named Sons of Apollo in honor of the Greek deity (as well as Apollo Creed from the Rocky movies).
In addition to Billy on bass and Mike holding down drums, the outfit also features keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Black Country Communion), guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses) and vocalist Jeff Scott Soto (Journey, Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force). The group will be releasing their debut album, Psychotic Symphony, in October via InsideOutMusic/Sony Music. (LISTEN TO ALBUM TEASER BELOW.)
“The music is modern, but we have an old school soul,” says Sherinian, who also played together with Portnoy in Dream Theater. “What is unique about Sons of Apollo is that we have true rock n’ roll swagger along with the virtuosity — a lethal combination!”
Sons of Apollo builds off the experience Portnoy, Sheehan and Sherinian had working in the short-lived instrumental group PSMS, which toured in 2012 and 2013. The new band takes that foundation and adds a vocalist and an emphasis on original material.
“Derek and I reunited shortly after I left Dream Theater in 2010 and we put together an all-instrumental touring band with he and I, Billy Sheehan, and Tony MacAlpine,” says Portnoy. “That was my first time working with Derek since the ‘90s when he was in Dream Theater and it was just great to be working with him again. Ever since that tour, which was really just a one-off live thing, he has been nudging me to start a real, original, full-time band. The timing just had never been right, because I had too many other things on my plate. Long story short, the time was finally right to take the bait and put together a band.”
Sons of Apollo takes that foundation and adds a vocalist and an emphasis on completely original material. The bandmates see the project as fusing the progressive style and technical prowess Portnoy and Sherinian created in Dream Theater with with the rock and roll energy of acts like Van Halen, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin.
Psychotic Symphony will be coming out Oct. 20 and a world tour is being planned for 2018.
For those folks worried that the new group might spell the end for the Winery Dogs, fear not, Portnoy wants to reassure fans that’s not the case.
“This is going to pick up for me and Billy where The Winery Dogs left off, in terms of this being the next logical full-time thing for us,” he says. “I’m not saying The Winery Dogs have broken up, because we haven’t, we’re just on a break. Sons of Apollo is absolutely going to be a full-time band and we plan on touring all over the world all throughout 2018 and, honestly, it is the priority for all five of us.”
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