Tag Archives: jake e lee

Sharon Osbourne is miserable cunt that should go away

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Last week with the unveiling of the new iPhones, Apple also announced that they had given all customers free copies of a new and unannounced U2 album. Soon afterwards the internet shit their pants. Not because this was a free album by an iconic band. Nor was it because this is another volley in the changing of the music business landscape. No, the internet freaked out because this was another way to kick dirt on U2. Now I am not a U2 fan. I think I’ve owned one album from the group. But the backlash they received was mind boggling because U2 is not the first act to pull this. Jay Z did it with Samsung and his old lady Beyonce followed suit. Now they did get a little flack but not near the level Bono and boys have. One of those critics is the reason I am writing this. Music mogul, manager, and camera whore, Sharon Osbourne offered up her opinion.

“U2 you are business moguls not musicians anymore. No wonder you have to give your mediocre music away for free cause no one wants to buy it.”

Now anyone that knows who she is should find this statement laughable on many levels. She took her husband Ozzy Osbourne, and transformed him from a bat biting, Alamo pissing on, Devil worshiping Heavy Metal singer to a clumsy lovable Dad via reality TV makeover. With that makeover came a truck load of bobble heads, T-shrts, lunchboxes, and other kitschy crap that kept Hot Topic and Spencer Gifts in the black. None of this was done for the sake of music it was to expand his profile and business. It created new revenue streams because, let’s be honest, he hasn’t released a good album in about two decades. Sharon in her incredible foresight saw the changing record industry and broke him away from the metal genre turning him into a pop culture icon. She created Ozzfest as a touring festival so he could get the rub from the upcoming metal acts while at the same time positioning him as a musical deity when years before he could not fill most arenas. Then all the TV shows, don’t forget the variety show she had so her talent less kids could get more undeserved airtime. Again, she had turned him into a brand. Music was just a branch of a growing music business tree.
And kudos to her.
She learned just like The Beatles and Elvis and KISS did, make that money while you can. However, she went from being a shrewd business manager to an egomaniac cunt. From the show she made herself a star and it all went downhill. She has picked fights with almost 90% of the music business and never looked good doing it. From not giving Bob Daisley or Lee Kerslake proper credit. To stealing all writing credits from Jake E Lee for Bark At The Moon. To suing Tony Iommi for 50% of the rights to Black Sabbath. She did this to insure that all 4 original members would share equally from the name.

That is the definition of fuzzy math.

It then came as a surprise that leading up to the Sabbath reunion drummer Bill Ward said he was not participating because he was not getting a fair offer. Her lawsuit to get everyone 25% each quickly turned into Bill getting a reported 4%. As disgusting as that was, and it was, she made a business decision because she knew musically Ozzy doesn’t have it anymore.
So her remarks about the U2-Apple deal were puzzling. Yes, U2 are business moguls just as she is. They cut a great deal with Apple for this album plus I’m sure there is another deal to use U2 music in future ads for a certain amount of time. When they release the physical copies of the album in a couple months they’ll get more talk from this Apple deal. Again, get that money. Even more puzzling about her remarks is many bands of the Metal genre have done something similar. The Melvins, among others, have released free EP’s through a relationship with auto manufacturer Scion. Converse sneakers have offered similar arrangements.
I’m starting to think that the reason she is mad is because she wasn’t able to pull this off. For all of her work in making Ozzy bigger than the genre but to corporate America he is still the vile guy that killed a dove. So since she couldn’t make it happen she’s criticizing those that did. I still bet that in a couple years will see a deal with Ozzy and Burger King and she’ll sing a different tune.

Just like Ozzy’s it will probably suck.

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Red Dragon Cartel-S/T

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The musical equivalent of Bigfoot or Loch Ness Monster being spotted, ended when Jake E Lee came out of the shadows a while back. His much lamented time in exile ended with a cameo in a Beggars & Thieves video and then another cameo on That Metal Show. After those two visual appearances he has finally done some audio. Red Dragon Cartel is his new band and their debut release has a lot of expectations to meet.

 

Jake did a great job in assembling a terrific band. Ronnie Mancuso, the guitar player for the previously mentioned Beggars & Theives, is on bass. Jonas Fairley is the erstwhile drummer and the group is rounded out with Darren James Smith on vocals. Smith, or DJ as he is referred to, has a nice flexible voice. On the opener “Deceived” there is a bit of a Graham Bonnet sound in there. Then on “War Machine” a hint of Ozzy to go with the very Sabbath-y riff. The rest of the time he has more of a raspy voice that works well on the ballad “Fall From The Sky” as well as the rocker “Slave”.

 

The member that everyone is curious about is the man himself, Jake E Lee. He sounds as great as ever and reminds you why he is so revered. Plus, with the many guest vocalist he adapts his playing to their strong suit. Robin Zander and the catchy pop with “Feeder”. In This Moment’s Maria Brink and the heavy yet slinky sounding “Big Mouth”. Sass Jordan sings on “Redeem Me” and its’ echoing of the great Badlands. The most surprising appearance is Paul Dianno on the rockin’ “Wasted”.

 

With all that being said, the most shocking song is “Exquisite Tenderness” a solo piano instrumental played by Jake’s.

 

It’s been close to two decades since Jake E Lee has released an album of original material. There was a high possibility for Red Dragon Cartel to be either an offering of safe, dated material or a misguided attempt to be modern. Thankfully it is neither, it is a terrific testament to the musical ability of Jake E Lee. He has created a slab of terrific and timeless hard rock/metal that is a declaration of of what veteran acts can do. I know it’s early but this is a clear leader for Album Of The Year.

 

 

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

 

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

 

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

 

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

 

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

 

$0-Not worth the drive space

 

 

 

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Beggars and Thieves-We Are The Brokenhearted

If you’re like me, you have a vague remembrance of Beggars & Thieves. They were the band that bassist Phil Soussan joined after leaving Ozzy. The glut of comparable acts along with a horrible cover sent Beggars & Thieves to the delete bin. The band never called it quits and have been making albums since. Their latest, We Are The Brokenhearted shows that maybe we missed out the first time around.

The avenue that helped lead Beggars & Thieves to re-recognition was a post on Blabbermouth featuring the video for “We Come Undone”. It was noteworthy because the video featured the reclusive guitarist Jake E. Lee. While curiosity may have caused people to push play, the song is what kept people til the end. It is a very catchy AOR track that is tailor made for a soundtrack. Ironically it has an uplifting lyrical theme which seems in contrast with the rest of the album.

The remainder of Brokenhearted maintains its’ AOR roots but has a dark/melancholy feel to it. Not that it is goth or alternative, it just has the different feel to it. It’s immediately noticeable on track #2 “Oil & Water”. Normally it would be a paint by number power ballad but here it contains so much more emotion. Having a near 6-minute running time also helps distinguish it.

The rest of the album is as strong as the opening two offerings. From rockers like “Beautiful Losers” and “Seven Seconds” to softer fare of “Stranded”.

You have to give credit to singer Louie Merlino and guitarist Ronnie Mancuso for trudging along and never quitting. Their hard work is evident with this terrific album so hopefully it pays off for them.

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