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About The Book


Tales from the Stage will take you on a vivid journey through the hard rock/heavy metal movement, with 15 of the best tour guides in the business. They helped develop it, they thrived in it, and somehow survived it. These are their stories.  Read more.

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Jake E. Lee

Jake E. Lee Update

March 3 2013 – One of the many benefits of living in Las Vegas is that it’s fairly easy to stay in touch with friends and family. Not a month goes by that I don’t get to visit with an old crony or family member visiting Sin City. February was no exception to this rule. A good friend, and guitar player from my first band came to town with his wife. We used to call him “Fake E. Lee” in high school, as he was known to “fake” the guitar lead on Bark at the Moon on occasion. Fake E. and I had just agreed to hang out Wednesday night when an idea popped into my head. How cool would it be to have Jake E. Lee join Fake E. Lee and myself for a cocktail? I reached out to Jake, and he agreed to hang with us.

Wednesday evening went off without a hitch (excluding Fake’s taxi ride taking him 15 miles out of his way), with Jake providing some exciting information about his new venture. For starters:  Jake’s new project is officially named, “Jake E. Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel,” obviously referencing his Japanese roots. The new CD is still being worked on, and the release date is TBD. If I were a betting man, my money would be on a June drop date. It’s public knowledge that the new release will feature an array of vocalists including Sass Jordan, Robin Zander, and potentially Paul Dianno.

The Red Dragon Cartel is nearly in place with Ronnie Mancuso playing bass, and Jonas Fairley from Black Betty playing drums. The lead vocalist position is almost solidified, but details are still being worked out. The only information that I can provide is that he hails from Canada, and certain logistics need to be ironed out prior to a formal announcement.

It’s certainly an exciting time for the fans of Jake, as we all look forward to him rejoining the game. The two new tracks that I have heard are very impressive, and are incredibly fresh sounding – but not really in the same family as his work with Badlands or Ozzy. It’s still hard rock, but perhaps a bit more melodic. As I receive more information I will pass it along.

True to form, another friend of mine is visiting Las Vegas this week. Eddie Trunk is in town and I am hoping we get to grab a beer or two during his trip. He always has a million and one things going on, and will report back soon with any info that he gives me the green light to print. Stay tuned!

jakenick

Fake E. Lee, Jake E. Lee, and Michael Toney

Good Stuff in 2013!

January 8, 2013-Ahh, the new year!  2013. New beginnings, new goals, new resolutions, and most importantly; three things that every metal fan can watch for in early 2013! Let’s dive right into it.

 1) Alice in Chains – After Layne Staley’s death, Alice in Chains fans couldn’t fathom how the band could go on with out their shining star. In a shocking move, Jerry Cantrell and crew found another front man who looked more like Lenny Kravitz than Layne, but his voice eerily mimicked their original lead vocalist. This cat also played mean rhythm guitar, and possessed a wicked stage presence. Die hard fans of the band struggle at times to give him a fair shake, but William DuVall is the real deal. AIC’s most recent album, Black Gives Way to Blue, was a solid effort and a new album should be out the first half of 2013. But the best news? Count on a AIC tour to coincidence with the release of the new album.

 2) The return of Jake E Lee – It has been more than a couple decades since one of the flashiest, but underrated guitar players in the world put out a meaningful piece of vinyl. This should change in 2013. Jake E. Lee rose to fame in the mid 1980s, as Ozzy Osbourne’s axeman. Although he technically replaced Brad Gillis, Jake was considered the permanent replacement for the late, and beloved Randy Rhoads. Big shoes to fill, no doubt, but Jake did so with a style of his own and won fans over with his technical playing, and second to none stage presence. After appearing on the albums Bark at the Moon, and The Ultimate Sin, Jake was let go from Camp Sharon and formed Badlands with Ray Gillan. The first Badlands album is considered a classic by most fans, and contained a much bluesier feel than his previous work with Ozzy.  Jake fell off the map for nearly 20 years, and announced earlier this year that he will have a new CD out by second quarter 2013, with a tour to follow. Sass Jordan, Robin Zander, and others are featured on the album and the first two tunes that I have heard are awesome!  It’s certainly not a half-assed attempt at a comeback. It will be a legitimate album that Jake and all of his fans will be proud of. I’ll report more info as I get it.

 3) Adrenaline Mob - There is life after Dream Theater for Mike Portnoy. Adrenaline Mob’s debut album, Omerta, packed a powerful punch, and received numerous industry awards. Never one to just sit around, Portnoy, and guitarist, Mike Orlando are back in the studio putting the final touches on an album of cover tunes due out in the next couple months. These guys love to play live, so watch for a tour of club dates to be announced soon. They are an amazing band live, and to see some of the best musicians in the world taking over a small stage in a town near you – there is nothing like it!

Stay tuned for more news as I get it. Happy New Year!

As Metal Fans, How Lucky Are We?

December 28, 2012-As the year comes to an end, like most people, I like to reflect back on the year that was. While running a few errands today, I had some time to ponder and I realized something; as a fans of classic metal music, we are in an awesome spot. A very envious position that most lovers of other genres of music would trade places with in a heartbeat. 

The “Glass Half Empty” crowd will argue that our music is a dying breed, and continues to get little-if any-respect from the industry and media in general. They will babble on about lacking attendance at classic metal shows, and measly CD sales. Some of these words I would tend to agree with, but I would also turn some of them into “Glass Half Full” comments.

Most of us just love the music. We have for decades. The posters on our walls during the 80s are still fresh in our heads. Iron Maiden, Ratt, Motley Crue, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Kiss, Van Halen, Ozzy, Judas Priest, Scorpions, and the list goes on. Most of us still have photos of live shows that we attended (taboo back then), old concert T-shirts, and maybe even a guitar pick or drum stick that we were lucky enough catch while fighting off dozens of other Metalheads. Many of you are smiling right now recalling these experiences.

So, why are we lucky?  For starters, the bands mentioned above are still alive in some form or fashion. Maybe not the exact line-up that we would prefer, but we can still catch them playing live shows, and nailing your favorite tunes once a year when they visit a venue close to you. I recall seeing Ratt several times in the 80s. Opening a festival of 60,000 people, then opening for Billy Squire for 10,000 people, and then having Bon Jovi open for them in front of 20,000 people. The chances of getting close to the stage were slim, and shaking someones hand from the band, much slimmer. Recently I saw Ratt play to 200 people in Las Vegas. I set up shop 15 feet from the stage (right next to Jake E. Lee who was there supporting his old band, and friend Warren DeMartini), and experienced: no pushing or shoving, 3 minute beer lines, with no wait time for the urinals. Ratt sounded awesome, the crowd was into it, and they all came out to meet the audience after the show.

By sticking to our guns, and appreciating music that has never really been “mainstream,” we can now reap the benefits of hanging in there. Something else worth pointing out; the classic  metal musicians are now typically much more mature and humble than they were back in the day.  They will shoot the shit with you, and even have a cocktail or two if time permits. Madonna, Elton John, Beyonce, Maroon 5, Justin Timberlake, or P Diddy don’t offer their fans this luxury. I will take an intimate club any day over an arena.

Recapping my rant, as metal fans–we have it good. Our music continues to be played live all around the world, and for that-if nothing else-we should be appreciative. Let’s all support these bands when they make a run through our town, and stake your claim in the front row. Trust me, it’s usually easier to do now, than it was 30 years ago. Happy New Year!