Skip to main content

Derek Sherinian taps Joe Bonamassa, Steve Lukather, Nuno Bettencourt, Zakk Wylde, Michael Schenker and more for new album, Vortex

Steve Lukather, Joe Bonamassa, Derek Sherinian and Michael Schenker
(Image credit: Jesse Grant / Scott Legato / Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic / Chiaki Nozu/WireImage via Getty)

Derek Sherinian has announced his new album Vortex, for which he’s recruited an entire legion of electric guitar A-listers.

For his upcoming effort, the ex-Dream Theater keyboardist has recruited Joe Bonamassa, Steve Lukather, Steve Stevens, Nuno Bettencourt and Zakk Wylde, as well as Mike Stern, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and Michael Schenker.

It will also see Sherinian reunite with longtime collaborator, drummer Simon Phillips – who co-wrote and co-produced the album – and bass guitar player Tony Franklin.

Due July 1 via InsideOutMusic, the eight-track Vortex will serve as a continuation of 2020’s The Phoenix, with Sherinian saying he’s confident the upcoming effort will outdo all his previous releases.

Of the album itself, Sherinian commented, “Simon and I always try and outdo ourselves with every release, and I am confident we achieved our goal.

Vortex is a continuation of The Phoenix,” he continues. “However, I feel the composition is stronger on the new album, and I would describe it as a modern day ‘70s-style fusion record, but with newer heavier tonality.”

According to Sherinian, his list of guest guitarists assembled naturally during the writing process, having worked with Bonamassa, Stevens, Lukather, Wylde and Bumblefoot on other projects in the past.

Derek Sherinian Vortex cover

(Image credit: Press)

For his newer collaborators, though, Sherinian sounded out Bettencourt – who features on a track called Fire Horse – for his “Van Halen swing and swagger”, and enlisted Schenker as he “wanted to write a great song inspired by my favorite Schenker tracks”.

“The choice of guitarist works itself out in the writing,” the prog-rock titan reflected. “Also, like in the case of Steve Stevens, we co-wrote the song together, so it was natural for him to play on it.

“I have always been a fan of [Bettencourt’s] playing, and I am glad that we finally got to record together. He has the Van Halen swing and swagger to his playing that I love. We were both born in 1966, the Chinese year of the Fire Horse.” 

As for Schenker, Sherinian continued, “Michael Schenker has been one of my heroes for many years. He asked me to play on his Immortal album, and in return, he agreed to play on Die Kobra.“

Tracks that catch the eye include Key Lime Blues, which features both Bonamassa and Lukather on the same song, as well as the aforementioned Die Kobra, which contains some dual-guitar action from Michael Schenker and Zakk Wylde.

The full tracklist for Vortex can be found below:

  1. The Vortex feat. Steve Stevens
  2. Fire Horse feat. Nuno Bettencourt
  3. Scorpion
  4. Seven Seas feat. Steve Stevens
  5. Key Lime Blues feat. Joe Bonamassa, Steve Lukather
  6. Die Kobra feat. Michael Schenker, Zakk Wylde
  7. Nomad's Land feat. Mike Stern
  8. Aurora Australis feat. Bumblefoot

Keep your eyes peeled on Derek Sherinian's official website for further updates.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Matt is a News Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.