Drummer Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, ADRENALINE MOB) joined Richie Kotzen (MR. BIG, POISON) on stage last night (Tuesday, August 7) at The Baked Potato in Studio City, California to perform a cover version of the BOB DYLAN classic “All Along The Watchtower”. Fan-filmed video footage of his appearance can be seen below.
Kotzen, Portnoy and bassist Billy Sheehan (MR. BIG) are currently recording the debut album from their new three-piece project for a tentative early 2013 release.
In a posting on his web site, Portnoy wrote about last night’s jam session, “For those of you who don’t know, The Baked Potato is a legendary jazz club in L.A. that every great jazz, blues and rock player has jammed at… a great little club that is about the size of my living room holding no more than 100 people! It’s the ultimate place to see your favorite musician play up close and personal.
“Anyways, Richie just tore it up! So much soul in his playing and singing… so many goose-bump moments… The man is the real deal! I really am honored and so excited to be working with such an amazing talent.
“After a short intermission, Richie invites me up to sit in for a song and we jam on his version of ‘All Along The Watchtower’. No rehearsal, no discussion, just a true jam…it was a blast!”
During a July 2012 appearance on Eddie Trunk‘s “Friday Night Rocks” radio show on New York’s Q104.3 FM, Portnoy said about his collaboration with Kotzen and Sheehan, “[Richie is] an unbelievably underrated talent, not only [as] a guitar player but a phemonal singer, and just an amazing songwriter and artist. I think people just kind of lump him, or write him off as the guy that was with POISON and MR. BIG. I think they have no idea what he’s really capable of.”
Asked to describe the musical direction of the project, Portnoy said, “It’s a classic-rock kind of power-trio sound. If you picture the classic-rock bands of… the classic ones — [LED] ZEPPELIN, CREAM, [JIMI] 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. But on top of it all you’ve got the phenomenal playing that Richie and Billy do, and I could play a couple of things on the drums as well [chuckles], so… And all three of us are singing — Richie is the lead vocalist, obviously, but me and Billy are also singing.”