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Jake E. Lee

For a very short time, he was a member of the band that Ronnie James Dio was forming after he left "Black Sabbath" and you probably know him from his time in Ozzy Osbourne's band, but he's definitely not only that. Let's get to know guitarist Jake E. Lee a little better.

(Photo: Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)


1. He was born on February 15, 1957, in Virginia, USA to a father of Welsh descent and a mother of Japanese descent. His name at birth was Jake Lou Williams.


2. Jake grew up in San Diego in a very musical home. His father was into Jazz, his mother loved of Classical music, and his sister was Pop and Rock.


3. Under the influence of his mother he started taking piano lessons, already at the age of 6, but at the age of 13, he lost interest in the instrument and switched to the guitar, on which his sister played.


4. He taught himself to play the guitar alone, with the help of books, applying what he learned in piano lessons.


5. His sister listened to "Led Zeppelin", "Black Sabbath" and Jimi Hendrix. This helped shape Jake's musical taste.


6. The guitarists he was influenced by in his youth, were Tommy Bolin, Jeff Beck, and Ritchie Blackmore.


7. From the late 70's Jake played in local bands from San Diego. His first band was named "Teaser" after guitarist Tommy Bolin's debut album, which he admired.


8. In 1980 Jake joined "Mickey Ratt" which would later become the famous glam metal band "Ratt". He even recorded a single with them called "Dr. Rock" and recorded with the band two more songs, one of which was "Tell the World", which was included in the first and mythological collection album of "Metal Massacre" from 1982, which also included the song "Hit the Lights" by "Metallica".


9. Lee later moved on to "Rough Cutt", produced by Ronnie James Dio and managed by Wendy, Dio's wife.


10. Not many know, but Lee was invited by Ronnie James Dio to join his emerging band, immediately after he left "Black Sabbath".


11. Jake accepted the offer and drummer Vinnie Appice noted that there were even recordings from rehearsals held with Jake. But Jake did not last long in the lineup. He claimed that Dio asked him to play "block chords" that would not interfere with his singing. Jake felt limited and therefore left, when shortly afterward he moved to Ozzy Osbourne's line-up.


12. After the death of guitarist Randy Rhoads, Ozzy Osbourne came to Los Angeles in search of a guitarist that would fill in Randy's big shoes. He met with bassist Dana Strum who at the time recommended Rhodes to him. This time he had worm recommendation on Jake.


13. Ozzy's first choice was George Lynch's guitarist "Dokken", but in the end Ozzy chose Jake and he was not wrong, it was a great choice that was tailor-made for Ozzy and helped jumpstart his solo career.


14. Jake was a member of Ozzy Osbourne's band for 5 years from 1982 to 1987. He was an integral part of the writing process of Ozzy's major albums "Bark At The Moon" from 1983 and "The Ultimate Sin" from 1986. Despite his contribution, Jake did not always get credit, as you can read in the review of the album "Bark At The Moon".


15. His first appearance with Ozzy was at the 1983 U.S. Festival, in front of 350,000 viewers.


16. After the tour of the album "The Ultimate Sin" ended, Jake was fired from Ozzy's band. The message was given to Jake in a phone call by Sharon Osborne and she caught him unprepared. He was confident he would continue for a long time as Ozzy's guitarist and lead writer.


17. After being fired from Ozzy's band, he received an offer to move and work with David Coverdale in "Whitesnake". Jake refused and eventually formed "Badlands", together with singer Ray Gillen and drummer Eric Singer.

18. The band released their debut album called "Badlands" in 1989 where Jake also played mandolin, sitar, and keyboards.


19. In 1991 drummer Eric Singer left the band and moved to "Kiss", to fill in for Eric Carr who passed away. Jake and the "Badlands" released their second album "Voodoo Highway", in which Jake also plays bass and percussion.


20. The band's third album "Dusk" was released in 1998 after the death of singer Ray Gillen. The songs included in it were outtakes, demos, and live clips from the studio.

21. After the "Badlands" disbanded, Jake formed a new band called "Wicked Alliance" with singer Mandy Lion (from the band "World War III"), drummer Ray Luzier who would later join "Korn", and bassist Jimmy Bain. They recorded a demo and went on tour, but it did not take off from there.


22. In 1996 Jake embarked on a solo career that opened with his instrumental debut album "A Fine Pink Mist".

(Photo: David Plastik)


23. Jake will release the 2005 album "Retraced", in which he will perform cover versions for various artists he admires.


24. In 2009 he will play on the album "Dissonance" by the band "Enuff Z'Nuff".


25. In 2013 he will form a new band called "Red Dragon Cartel". The debut album bearing the band's name will be released in 2014, while the second album “Patina” was released in 2018.


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