The former Ozzy Osbourne, Badlands guitarist had become an enigma after disappearing from the scene in the early nineties. As noted DJ, critic and host of VH1’s “That Metal Show” Eddie Trunk says, “By far the number one thing rock and metal fans all over the world want to know is “What ever happened to Jake E. Lee”
Aside from a few short guest spots and a quick under the radar covers album, Jake all but disappeared from public life casting dark shadows and strange rumors as to his health and situation. The Mystery has actually made him more popular as the rumor mill spread thru the Internet. Badlands even became more popular after their demise and are considered by many critics to be the top lost gem’s of the era.
The truth was in some ways even more tragic than the rumors. After the Aids related death of Badlands vocalist Ray Gillen and the overdose death of Jakes ex-wife and mother of his only child Jade, Jake faded into the darkness close to being a recluse. Although his love for music never faltered Jake felt that although he was never anything but a great classic rock guitarist he was lumped into the whole Hair Metal thing and disillusioned by the business and the great personal losses he had suffered thru he retreated in to semi-obscurity at one point not even touching the guitar for a few years.
The one thing that no one knew was that even with all the disillusionment and at some points with out the guitar Jake had continued to write music amassing literally hundreds of ideas some almost complete songs and sometimes just a riff.
In 2011 Producer R.Bernard Mann. AKA Ronnie Mancuso an old friend he had met when he first was asked to audition for Ozzy and with whom he had written a riff tape that ended up being the inspiration for some of the songs on the “Bark at the Moon album. Asked Jake if he would perform in his band (Beggars & Thieves) new video. When the video was released the flood gates opened and Ronnie and Jake were both blown away by the response and love that still was out their for Jake.
Say’s Ronnie Laughing: He destroyed the band! All of a sudden it all became about Jake E. Lee not Beggars & Thieves. We were all astonished at the amount of Love and interest there was worldwide for Jake. I don’t think any of us realized what a cult figure he become. I had quite a few well-known people in the video but once we got past the first 10,000 views it became all about Jake. There is even a You Tube video of some guy playing the solo (Even though it is Ronnie playing) pretty much every comment was about Jake.
Seeing the love that was out their got a few people thinking. Producer Kevin Churko whose Hideout studio’s is tied together and connected to Ronnie’s Hideout Studio 3/Drum Room came to Ronnie with the idea of doing a Jake album in the style of Slash’s ( ) utilizing different vocalist. Kevin agreed to executive produce and mix the album (If Jake agreed to make one) and Ronnie was willing to put in the time to make great album. Kevin and Ronnie approached Jake and he agreed thus began the long tedious process that begot (Jake E. Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel) one of the best rock albums in a long time. Ronnie elaborates on the process.
Initially Jake scoured thru his numerous hard drives for every bit of music he had created over the last 15 years. Literally hundreds of bits, licks, semi complete songs etc. Meticulously Ronnie and Jake categorized every bit putting them into groups like Fast Ozzy sounding Riffs, Bluesy Bad land style Riffs, act.
They then began assembling songs from the best bits utilizing the great talents that are part of the Hideout Studio family, like Kane Churko “Kevin’s son” who has co- written top ten singles for “Five Finger Death Punch” and “In This Moment”