Jake E. Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel Split With Frontman
March 18, 2015
Red Dragon Cartel, former Ozzy Osbourne and Badlands guitarist Jake E. Lee’s latest project, have parted ways with vocalist Darren James Smith.
“Red Dragon Cartel and singer Darren James Smith have officially parted ways,” revealed the band in a statement. “All scheduled shows will still take place as planned with Michael Thomas Beck on vocals. We would like to welcome Michael to RDC and we look forward to getting back on stage.”
“It is true I left RDC, kinda complicated but I think it was the right thing to do,” said Smith via Facebook. “One day I’ll comment more, for now ‘that’s all folks!!!'” Rumors circulate that Smith will once again take over drum duties in his former band Harem Scarem.
Smith made his live debut with Red Dragon Cartel during an infamous show at Hollywood’s Whisky A Go Go in December of 2013. The show received so many critical complaints that Lee was forced to offer an apology days later.
Regarding his live debut, Smith told Sleaze Roxx, “I think the aftermath was really blown out of proportion. Everybody was basically judging me from iPhone recordings. Yeah, I had a few drinks. I mean, I am playing the Whisky with four nights’ rehearsal with Jake E. Lee — and me and him were drinking, you know? I mean, worst case scenario — a guy in a rock and roll band got drunk on stage — OHHHHHH! That’s heavy! You know? Give me a break! To me, it was just ridiculous, you know? I mean, it was not as bad as everybody says. All these couch critics, critiquing me with all their expertise — I just found it really humorous. I was at that show. There was nobody giving me the finger. There was nobody yelling, “You suck!” It was a complete audience getting into the show and rocking it. Afterwards, there were no weird vibes. I know it was not an ace show. I mean we had four nights’ rehearsal before we did that show.”
Red Dragon Cartel ended up releasing their self-titled debut album on January 26th, 2014, via Frontiers Records. Initially recording with various well known vocalists such as Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander, In This Moment’s Maria Brink, and Iron Maiden’s Paul Di’Anno, Lee and producer Ronnie Mancuso eventually decided that they wanted a permanent band. The new members were culled from over a thousand submissions from a ‘Jake E. Lee needs a lead singer and drummer FaceBook page’, resulting in the addition of English born Smith and Vancouver based drummer Jonas Fairley.
With the passing of his friend and Badlands bandmate Ray Gillen, as well as his wife, along with a general disillusionment with the music industry, Jake E. Lee withdrew and disappeared from the scene causing much speculation and mystery as to if he were to ever return. As Jake says, “There were all sorts of crazy rumors flying around the internet and although I certainly wasn’t an angel and admit to spending time on the dark side, I was never homeless, never arrested and as I may have put down the guitar for a while, I never stopped writing music. I just didn’t want to join some ’80s super-group. I have to keep moving forward musically. Not to say that I hate or don’t want money, but I’ll never compromise at the expense of my musical integrity.”
Courtesy of www.sleazeroxx.com