MetalTitans: How did the name [Red Dragon Cartel] come about? What’s the story behind that? Sounds inspired by the mafia?
Jake E. Lee: (laughs) Let me think of a good story. I think it was Kevin Churko’s idea he came into the studio. He said something like “I always liked cartel. Jake’s half japanese? How about Dragon Cartel?” From there on it was Dragon Cartel then somebody said ‘Black Dragon Cartel.’ There’s so many ‘black’ named bands there’s a million on them. We went through the whole color range looking for the right one and the cool thing is if we decided to do a blues record we could be the Blues Dragon Cartel or if we decide to do a Black Sabbath tribute we can be the Black Dragon Cartel or if we do EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival) we could be the Rainbow Dragon Cartel! (laughs)
MetalTitans: What’s the story behind you getting Robin Zander to sing on Feeder?
Jake E. Lee: That was the first song that Ronnie (Mancuso) and I finished. We were listening to the song Ron was singing the melody. I had to add that Ron he’s a shitty singer! (laughs) He really is a terrible singer! (laughs) It’s hard to listen to him sing! So we listened to it and it was obvious that we had to get a singer right away. I said “I don’t know how we’d do it but I think Robin Zander would sound amazing on this song.” Ron said “I know Tom Peterson, he’s a friend of mine. Why don’t I call him up?” I was all for that. So we sent Robin the track and he loved it. He sang on it in Florida where he was at the time. Ron got the vocal tracks and mixed them here in the studio and called me to come down to the studio to listen to it. When I got to the studio and listened to Robin Zander, Tom Peterson, and Jeremy Spencer from Five Finger Death Punch playing together on one track that I had written like a week before– I knew I missed it. It made me feel alive and excited that was a pivotal moment for me.
Up to that point it was very noncommittal on my part. Ron and (producer) Kevin Churko asked if I’d be interested in working on something. At that point I really wasn’t. I was really content; I had a good run with Ozzy (Osbourne) and Badlands. I didn’t want to overstay my welcome. At this point it had been so many years since I had done anything that I thought “Who is going to give a shit?!” I was content with where I was in my life and I was noncommittal. They asked me to come in a write a song and see how it went. We wrote that song then we got Zander on the track and when I heard that I said “Yes count me in.”
MetalTitans: Before I cut you loose I have to ask about a couple things that came after Badlands. You were part of a band with Richard Black of Shark Island weren’t you?
Jake E. Lee: Oh, yes The Bourgeois Pigs. That was Michael Guy’s band we were friends and he said he had this project. He also had Matt Sorum on drums and Tony Franklin on bass both who are great players. He was writing songs and he wanted me to come down and give them a listen. I liked what I heard and he asked if I wanted to play on them and I said “Sure I’ll give it a shot.” We started recording, and Richard Black was on vocals, and some of those tracks I thought were pretty good. Michael writes computer software–that’s how he makes his money at that particular point he was very involved in that. So while he felt the music was good and felt that there was potential with the band he went back to working on software because he needed to make money. That’s why that ended.
MetalTitans: You’re playing on a late night TV show and you get an opportunity to play three songs from your catalog what would they be?
Jake E. Lee: I’d touch on the Ozzy era and I’d do Killer of Giants, that the song that I’m most proud of in my time with Ozzy. I’d want to touch on some Badlands and I’d do Sun Red Sun off the 3rd album that we demoed. Ray sang the hell out of that song and it’s one of my favorite performances of his. I’d have to do something from Red Dragon Cartel….that’s a hard one. I’d probably go with Feeder because that’s the song that got me back into the game.
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