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Music & Concerts
Red Dragon Cartel comes to Largo
Largo Cultural Center welcomes Jake E. Lee’s new band
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Jake E. Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel plays at Largo Cultural Center March 28.
LARGO – Former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E. Lee brings his new band, Red Dragon Cartel, to Pinellas County for a performance Friday, March 28, 8 p.m., at Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive.

Tickets start at $24.50. Call 587-6793 or visit largoarts.com.

Jake E. Lee performed with Ozzy Osbourne on the legendary albums "Bark At The Moon" and "The Ultimate Sin." He then joined former Black Sabbath singer Ray Gillen to form the band Badlands.

Lee is now playing with a new band – Red Dragon Cartel. The Largo Cultural Center performance will feature selections from Lee’s long career in music, including classic Ozzy Osbourne and Badlands songs as well as material from Red Dragon Cartel’s new album.

Jake E. Lee

According to a biography provided by Bigg Time Entertainment, Jake E. Lee entered the world as Jakey Lou Williams. He was born and raised in West Virginia, but, with his father in the military, the family was constantly on the move.

They eventually settled in San Diego, Calif. There, Lee and his sister took to the California culture and lifestyle. His mother saw his musical talent and convinced him to learn classical piano at an early age. It was Lee’s sister, however, who would introduce him to rock and roll. She let Lee listen to her favorite heavy metal and hard rock albums, exposing him to Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.

The appeal was such that Lee soon switched to guitar as his instrument of choice.

Lee founded his first band – Teaser – while still in high school. Playing the Southern California scene, he quickly attracted attention. In the coming years, he would play for Ratt and Rough Cutt and became a member of Ronnie James Dio’s band.

The death of guitarist Randy Rhoads left a vacancy in Ozzy Osbourne’s band.

According to Bigg Time Entertainment, Osbourne asked Lee to audition for his band. Lee knew that Rhoads’ shoes were hard to fill, but he believed he was able to handle the challenge. Osbourne auditioned around 500 other guitarists from around the world, but it was Lee who eventually got the spot.

For the next four years, Lee recorded, wrote and toured with Osbourne. They released “Bark at the Moon,” which eventually went multi-platinum, and quickly quieted critics who said Rhoads could never be replaced. The “Ultimate Sin” album followed, which was another huge success for Osbourne.

Osbourne and Lee split in the midst of Osbourne’s well-documented drug and alcohol period. Although the official story is that Osbourne fired Lee, Bigg Time Entertainment states that the two remain good friends.

Following his departure from Osbourne’s band, Lee took a sabbatical to spend time with his family. He turned down a number of job offers. Then, one day, he received a proposition he could not ignore. Ray Gillen, another former Black Sabbath lead singer, approached him with the idea of forming a blues-based metal band. Lee agreed, and the two soon recruited bassist Greg Chaisson and drummer Eric Singer. They called the band Badlands.

Badlands’ self-titled debut album was released in 1989. It featured a mix of blues and hard rock, powered by hard-driving guitar riffs. The album earned critical acclaim as well as impressive sales. The band toured worldwide to support the album, and followed it up with “Voodoo Highway.”

Health issues forced Gillen to leave the band and Lee also soon departed.

For many years after Badlands, Lee largely remained out of the spotlight. In 1996, he released an instrumental album, “A Fine Pink Mist,” and in 2005 he released a blues album, “Retraced.”

Working with Kevin Churko and Ron Mancuso in Las Vegas, Lee’s new band Red Dragon Cartel has recorded its eponymous first album for release on Frontiers Records. In addition to Lee’s guitar work, the band features Darren Smith on lead vocals, Jonus Fairley on drums, Ron Mancuso on bass.

The album also features guest appearances from Robin Zander of Cheap Trick, Maria Brink from In this Moment and other all-star musicians.

Eddie Trunk book signing

Largo Cultural Center will host its first book signing on Friday, March 28, 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The event will feature Eddie Trunk, author of the newly released “Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock & Heavy Metal Vol. 2.” Trunk's special appearance is part of the Jake E. Lee's Red Dragon Cartel show at the Largo Cultural Center.

Trunk also will emcee for the show. The book signing is open to ticket holders to the concert.

Trunk is a 30-year music industry veteran who has built a reputation for being one of the most respected personalities in the worlds of hard rock and heavy metal. He hosts “Eddie Trunk Live,” a weekly live music, talk and interview show on SiriusXM satellite radio Channel 39, which is branded "Trunk Nation" during his program.

He is currently host and co-producer of the hit series “That Metal Show,” the longest-running program in the history of VH1 Classic. “That Metal Show” is seen around the world.

Trunk has recently turned his attention to writing. In 2010, he released his first book “Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock & Heavy Metal.” The book was very well received by critics and fans alike. Last year, he finished work on the sequel, “Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock & Heavy Metal Vol. 2,” which was released in late 2013.
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