RED DRAGON CARTEL, the band led by former OZZY OSBOURNE and BADLANDS guitarist Jake E. Lee, was recently rejoined by singer Darren James Smith. Darren’s first show back with the group took place this past Sunday, September 6 at Rainbow Bar & Grill’s Backyard Bash in West Hollywood, California. Fan-filmed video footage of the performance can be seen below.
RED DRAGON CARTEL will take the rest of 2015 off from touring to hit the studio and start recording. The second album from RED DRAGON CARTEL will be ready for release in the first few months of 2016.
In an interview with Sleaze Roxx, Darren was asked what led him to come back to RED DRAGON CARTEL and how long it had been in the works. He responded: “I would say a month. I got a call from Jonas [Fairley, drums] saying maybe I would reconsider coming back and to think about it. And then I never heard anything from him. And then Diana [Lane, RED DRAGON CARTEL manager, of Lane Six Entertainment] called, and then Jake. I don’t know the reasons why, but I like to think it’s because I’m the guy for the gig, I guess. [Laughs]”
Asked about the reasons he left RED DRAGON CARTEL earlier in the year and whether those various issues have been resolved, Darren said: “Yes! I don’t want to get into it because I don’t want to dredge up the dirt. I am not one to hold grudges. I am not one to hold anything like that. Well, the right people are involved and I really love the songs, man, you know? And I really love Jake and Jonas and Greg [Chaisson, former RED DRAGON CARTEL bassist], and I am sure that I will love Anthony [Esposito, current RED DRAGON CARTEL bassist]. I met Anthony, and he is a great guy, so we will see what happens.”
Darren also talked about the difficulties RED DRAGON CARTEL has seemingly had replacing him — having recently played shows with former JONES STREET singer Shawn Crosby, Canadian singer Paul D’Eath (CITIZENS UNITE, MUSHROOM TRAIL), Chas West (Jason Bonham, LYNCH MOB, 3 LEGGED DOGG) and Michael Beck. He said: “Hmmm. I knew a couple of them. I am friends with a couple of them. We’re still friends. Hmmm. I don’t really have a take, and I am just fortunate that it worked to my advantage. And I am fortunate to be asked back. I am not going to speculate, and I am not going to say something that I think, because it probably isn’t true. So I would rather not answer that. [Laughs] That’s my answer, right. [Laughs]”
RED DRAGON CARTEL in March announced the departure of bassist Greg Chaisson, who exited the group because he could “no longer take any more time away from [his] regular job.”
RED DRAGON CARTEL’s debut CD sold around 5,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 69 on The Billboard 200 chart.
RED DRAGON CARTEL’s setlist includes new material like the singles “Feeder” and “Deceived”, as well as major hits from Jake E. Lee’s glorious past: “Bark At The Moon”, “The Ultimate Sin” and “Rock ‘N’ Roll Rebel” (all originally recorded by OZZY OSBOURNE), as well as “Shine On” and “High Wire” (BADLANDS).