RED DRAGON CARTEL featuring guitarist Jake E. Lee (OZZY OSBOURNE, BADLANDS) made their live debut on December 12th at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, CA. Reviews poured in following the show and after live clips were posted on YouTube pounding vocalist Darren Smith (HAREM SCAREM) for what hundreds of fans deemed a substandard performance.
Sleazeroxx.com spoke with Smith about the infamous debut!
Sleaze Roxx: Now, obviously we are going to talk a little bit about Red Dragon Cartel’s first show. You had a tough first outing doing at the Whisky A Go Go. What struck me the most was that Jake E. Lee really went to bat for you publicly and tried to shoulder the blame for whatever happened. What are your thoughts, two months later, on that performance and the aftermath from it?
Darren James Smith: “Well, 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! I just thought everybody should really — I don’t know. 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. The reason why Jake decided to take the blame upon himself — which also shocked me by the way — was he said he should never have put our first show with such a stigma as the Whisky with four days’ rehearsal. We should have been playing a tour that ended up there, but that was our first show. I mean we still are figuring out each other, you know? He had not played in so long that he just forgot all the details it takes to put a band out there — a brand new band out there. And that is kind of the reason why he took the blame. There was no weird feeling at the Whisky that night. There was nobody going, ‘OHHHH. You guys sucked.’ There was none of that so to wake up in the morning and see all these haters — I mean to me, it is just like, really? That is like me going on the internet and critiquing some operation a guy had that I know nothing about, you know? I am not a doctor so I think a lot of the people just talk out of their asses most of the time. But at the end of the day, that is what the internet has given us — freedom of speech that probably should be shut down!
Sleaze Roxx: Fair enough (laughs). Obviously, Ozzy Osbourne and Ray Gillen have very different vocal styles. Which ones are the harder songs for you to sing?
Darren James Smith: “Well, Ray Gillen is — it is way up there, it is a much cleaner voice. Ozzy, it is a much milder, more monotone melodic structure. Not always, but more so than a Ray Gillen. I think playing in cover bands and stuff like I did around my home when I was not touring with the original recording guys kind of prepared me for the diversity of what I would have to do. It feels weird to be singing full out, pretty much yelling, and then pull it back and sing the other soulful blues rock — but I love the challenge. And ever since the first show, I do not drink at all anymore because it is not second nature right now. It is still a new band. I hope to drink a whole lot later in the show (laughs). I mean, don’t forget that for that first show, I did not even have time to be nervous because I was so distracted by the paparazzi, the fans, all that and the socializing. But let’s not talk about that shit anymore.”