Red Dragon Cartel, led by former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E. Lee has officially split with vocalist Darren James Smith according to the band's Facebook account. Filling Smith's shoes for the remainder of their scheduled shows is...
Michael Beck, is the owner, engineer, and producer at SoundVision Recording Studio in Mesa, Arizona. Beck has worked with artists such as, MARILYN MANSON, SOILWORK, ABIGAIL WILLIAMS, DAATH and THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER.
Darren Smith was highly criticized by fans for his out-of-tune vocals and apparent inebriated state during that first show. In an interview with "The Shoe With Miles Schuman", Smith was quoted as saying "None of us were ready for that show." but to fans, it was only Smith who was not ready, or rather not qualified for the job. Smith went on to blame lack of rehearsal, sleep deprivation and the paparazzi of all things for his terrible performance.
"We all met in Vegas, we had, maybe, four days rehearsal, we rehearsed the night before until about 4 a.m., got up at 7, drove to the desert, got to L.A. around 4 in the afternoon, or sometime early in the afternoon, and there was fans there and paparazzi from the minute we got there. So it was overwhelming."
Smith went on to say he did not know what his job "Really Was" because Jake had not told him. Really? Come on man. Talk about a lame excuse. Man up and admit you got a little too high and was not up to performing at a high level like you think you can. We are pretty sure what was expected of Smith was dicussed long before that now infamous show first show in December 2013 at West Hollywood, California's Whisky A Go Go.
Darren Smith blathered on ad nauseam blaming anyone, and anything except himself. "I just thought they wanted kind of Ozzy and stuff like that, and they wanted a party, they wanted to have fun, but that's not what they want." Smith opined, "it was probably the best thing that ever happened to us, was that I set myself up to fail." Naaa, we don't think so. It put a stain on the band in the minds of the fans during their debut performance after what amounted to a torrent of promotion leading up to the first show.
When asked if thought he had "redeemed himself" in the eyes of Jake's fans since the first Whisky show, Darren Smith said: "Less than 24 hours later I did. And I really don't care. And as far as redeeming myself, I'm more comfortable on stage now than I've ever been, and I just had to figure it out for myself. Saying "I don't really care" says it all, don't you think? This was the message his debut performance left in the minds of fans, so this split is probably the best thing that could happen if this band is to survive.
I like Jake E. Lee from his days with Ozzy, but let's be realistic. That was a long time ago, and stumbling out of the gates after so many years with a drunken frontman who doesn't know his job, and "doesn't really care" is not doing your band any favors.
Regarding any negative criticism Smith received on the Internet about the first show, Darren said: "Everybody's a warrior or a soldier when they're sitting on their couch, scratching their balls. I mean, people are so tough and brave when they're in the comfort of their own home, but half these people making comments have never stood on a stage. And the ones that have stood on a stage… A real musician wouldn't shit on a fellow musician. So the way I look at it is, if you've got something to say about a fellow musician, well, you're just a douchebag. [Laughs]" I suggest it's easy for any clear minded person to see who the "douchebag" in this scenario is.
RED DRAGON CARTEL's self-titled debut album reportedly sold around 5,000+ copies in the United States in its first week of release and debuted at position No. 69 on The Billboard 200 chart. Released on January 28, 2014 via Frontiers Records, the Album was recorded at Las Vegas' The Hideout Recording Studio — owned and operated by Kevin Churko (OZZY OSBOURNE, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, IN THIS MOMENT) — and was produced by R. Bernard Mann (a.k.a. Ronnie Mancuso) and Jake E. Lee, and executive-produced, mixed and mastered by Churko.
Darren Smith will reportedly hit the road with the veteran Canadian rock outfit HAREM SCAREM, in which he plays drums and sings. RED DRAGON CARTEL will finish out their remaining shows with Michael Beck, and presumably be looking for a new frontman soon thereafter. Who would you like to see doing vocals for RDC? Post your suggestions below in the Facebook comments.