Jake E Lee
Jake E Lee With Custom Made Guitar
This is not a Les Paul
Name: Jake E Lee
Born: February 15, 1957 (Norfolk, Virginia USA)
Hair: Dark brown
Favorite Color: "All colors, depends on what it is."
Favorite Stone: "Keith Richards and Amethyst."
Favorite Car: "1960's muscle cars."
Favorite Music: "Rock."
Favorite Guitar: "Jackson Strat."
Favorite Sport: "Martial Arts and Weight Lifting."
Favorite Food: "Indian, Mexican, hot, spicy foods."
Favorite Pets: "Dogs."
Favorite Holiday: "Christmas...I love getting unusual presents."
Favorite Movies: "Horror films and Martial Arts movies."
Influence: Jimi Hendrix
Advice to aspiring musicians: "Follow your heart, practice, practice, practice, get plenty of exposure,
and most important, love what you are doing!"
Jakey Lou Williams was born February 15, 1957 and raised in West Virginia, USA. His mother was Japanese, and his father was an American serving in the Navy. When the Navy relocated Jake's father, the entire family would pick up and move at a moments notice. Finally, however, the Williams family moved to San Diego, California, where they stayed for a long while. Jake began diving into the local California culture, and he took a liking to skateboarding.
His mother had forced him into classical piano lessons, but soon he was interested in the guitar. His sister, who had a tremendous influence on Jake as a child, let him listen to some of her records, including Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, & Black Sabbath. These bands led to Jake's intense interest in the electric guitar and Rock and Roll music. Sadly, Jake's sister passed away in a motorcycle accident.
During high school, Jake would walk around campus with his acoustic guitar strapped to his back. He never joined a clique or group, but he had the reputation as the cool guitar dude with long hair. He formed a band called Teaser, and they played one school dance before Lee was kicked out of school for changing the grades on his report cards.
Teaser continued, however, and Jake played many clubs in the San Diego area. They developed a huge following, and packed clubs and parties where they frequented. He caught the eye of guitarist and good friend Warren DiMartini, and soon DiMartini was asking Jake for lessons. He also caught the eye of Stephen Pearcy of a San Diego band called Mickey Rat. Pearcy asked Lee to join his band as lead guitarist, and Jake accepted. They changed the band's name to Ratt, moved to L.A., and began playing clubs. Soon, their following was huge, too, and they began gigging in popular clubs like the Whiskey and the Troubadour. Jake left Ratt for greener pastures, however, and was replaced by DiMartini, on Jake's recommendation.
Jake played a few gigs as lead guitarist of Rough Cutt, and was discovered by Ronnie James Dio. Dio expressed an interest in working with Jake, but they only wrote a few tunes together before Lee left to seek further musical inspiration. Around this time, Ozzy Osbourne had began to contact him, inviting him to audition for the lead guitarist spot in his band. Ozzy had just lost Randy Rhoads, who had been a tremendous force in the metal scene.
Jake knew that the shoes were huge, but he thought he could fill them. He auditioned amongst 500 other guitarists from around the world, and Ozzy at length chose Jake over all of them. Jake flew to England for rehearsal, and then went on tour with the legendary madman Ozzy Osbourne.
For four years, Jake toured with Ozzy. They put out "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, and was another grand success for Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy, however, was in the midst of his drug-and-alcohol days, and fired Jake in the middle of one of his rages. Contrary to common belief, however, Ozzy and Jake remain good friends to this day, and Ozzy has recently talked to Jake about a possible reunion, although Jake has repeatedly turned him down.
After the Ozzy Osbourne madness, Jake took a break. He wanted to spend more time with his daughter and wife. As soon as word spread that Jake was back on the market as a guitar player, however, the phone calls started coming in. Nothing interested Jake, however, until he received a phone call from ex-Black Sabbath lead singer Ray Gillen. Gillen was hoping to form a blues-based metal band with Lee, and Lee responded. Together, they recruited bassist Greg Chaisson and drummer Eric Singer, and formed Badlands.
Badlands put out their first album in 1989, self-titled "Badlands". It was a mix of bluesy metal, powered by hard-driving guitar riffs, and it received critical acclaim. The band toured to support the album, and followed it up with "Voodoo Highway". Voodoo was an even deeper dive into the blues, and again received acclaim from critics. However, due to internal pressures, Ray left Badlands, and the band didn't last very long with his replacement, John West. Unfortunately, Ray Gillen would eventually pass away due to complications caused by the AIDS virus. In the year 2000, however, "Dusk" was released, which was recorded live in earlier sessions with Ray Gillen.
Since Badlands, Jake has been invited to play on several compilation and tribute albums, including tributes to Rush, Jeff Beck, and Van Halen. He also released a solo album called "A Fine Pink Mist". There could be much more in store for this most excellent virtuoso guitarist. Hopefully the world will hear more from Jake E Lee very soon.
"Kamikaze" Fan Club Biography
Jake was talented and creative even as a youngster. At the age of five he began taking classical piano lessons at the guidance of his Mother. His instructor told her that Jake showed much promise in becoming a classical pianist. But, Jake had other ideas!
When Jake turned thirteen years old his musical interest changed to the guitar instead of the piano. He told his parents that classical music was "for old people" and "totally boring for the young!". Although his teacher had allowed him to compose his own music, and to venture into jazz and pop, it was the guitar that totally captured his attention. He was firm in his decision to give up piano lessons, so his Mother conceded and found a guitar teacher for him.
After only a month of lessons the teacher told Jake's mother that he had taught Jake everything he knew. He had begun his journey into discovering his one and only "Jake E Lee technique".
At sixteen Jake joined a band that played the circuit of clubs on the naval bases. That lasted only a few months. Jake's "technique" overshadowed the lead singer and after protesting that he had no inclination to alter his playing in any way, he was fired.
He then formed his own band and the group practiced in Jake's garage two to three times a week. The band had an up hill struggle because Jake could never find a lead singer that satisfied him.
During this time a stressful incident took place. Jake lost his sister, Susan, who was a victim of a drunken driver. Susan was only blocks away from where Jake was opening his first gig.
Shortly after that Jake left home and headed for L.A. to pursue his dream. He became acquainted with a lot of local musicians who were looking for their "big break" just as he was. He soon found himself sharing a small apartment (one room to be exact) with a group of young musicians. They began rehearsing together and eventually formed a band and called it Mickey Ratt. They played a few gigs around town but Jake felt they were getting nowhere.
He briefly joined another group called Rough Cutt. This time he found that a few new doors had opened up for him. He was spotted by an old member of Ozzy Osbourne's band and was asked to send a audition tape to Ozzy who was scouting for a talented, but unknown lead guitarist. Jake sent the tape, as did many other guitarists, to Ozzy who was in England.
Jake, not confident that he would be selected, pursued other opportunities. He auditioned for Ronnie James Dio and got the job. But Jake was soon confronted with an old problem. Dio wanted him to keep his playing low-key and insisted that he make changes in his style. Jake felt that this stifled his creativity. He left the group citing "professional and personal differences". Once again he was on his own. It had been four months since he had sent Ozzy the demo tape. He hadn't given anymore thought to it. He'd heard rumors that Ozzy selected a musician, but learned these rumors were unfounded. It was on a very gray morning when Jake received a call asking if he could be at Hollywood studio to personally audition for Ozzy the very next day! Jake, totally surprised and unprepared, said "Sure!" and went out to buy an Ozzy Osbourne album ("Blizzard of Ozz"). He brushed up on two tunes, "Crazy Train" and "I Don't Know" for starters.
The next day he arrived at the audition almost an hour late. This story is well known. His mother describes Jake thus, "Except within a musical context, Jake has no understanding of time. He was always late. To know him is to wait for him!"
Even so, he must have done something right at the audition. He claims he was not nervous, even under the scrutiny of Ozzy and the critical eye of Sharon Osbourne, Ozzy's Manager/Wife. After the audition Sharon approached Jake, smiling, and asked if he could be in England the next day. Jake answered affirmatively and that was the beginning of Jake E Lee and a partnership with Ozzy that lasted four years.
These years brought with them overwhelming fame and good times. However, they also included much strife and struggle. After touring with Ozzy for a year Jake returned to his home town, San Diego, to perform, as he had always dreamed of doing. His mother and father were so proud to have their son return as a superstar guitarist. All the disagreements and bitterness about Jake's choices vanished because they now understood what it had all been about.
Jake had visited Japan with his mother, Shizu Williams, and his sister, Susan, when he was twenty years old. At that time Jake was still a struggling musician, holding on to a dream. After the visit was over Jake's Uncle said to him "Come back again real soon!" Jake's reply was, "I will come back as a famous rock guitarist and perform here in Japan!". Jake kept that promise.
One of Jake's favorite places in the world is his mother's native country. The fans are more than enthusiastic about their "guitar hero" and much of his fan mail is sent from Japan. Jake, who is becoming a bit more "open" with interviews, realizes that his fans are curious to know all they can about him. However, there will always be a mystique about Jake, because he is different from most famous musicians. He is not vain, he lives a rather low-key life despite his consuming interest in quick cars and martial arts. He concerns himself very little with publicity and notoriety. He never claimed to be a "Don Juan" with the ladies, a worshipper of the occult, nor a user of drugs. It is true that when his female fans see him on stage a few hearts skip a beat or two, but Jake strictly plays to a listening audience and a composition that rocks and shakes the fans means more to him than their appreciation for his swivel hipped, funky style that he comes by naturally.
The "Bark at the Moon" tour proved to be very grueling. After it was over Jake went into seclusion and spent most of his time working at his favorite hobby, vintage cars, watching TV and relaxing by the beach near his home. He also caught up on zillions of hours of sleep he'd lost. Jake is a "night person" and even now awakens late in the afternoon and goes to bed when the sun begins to rise.
After the "Bark" tour he also gave his guitar a much needed rest. He didn't pick it up again for several weeks. Then it was back to the studio. Jake assisted Ozzy in selecting band members. They were bassist, Phil Soussan and drummer, Randy Castillo. They began composing and recording music for the block buster album "The Ultimate Sin". Ozzy went into the Betty Ford clinic to help rid himself of a long time dependency on drugs and alcohol. Jake worked constantly on composing twelve new songs that he later submitted to Ozzy. Half of these songs ended up on the album. "The Ultimate Sin" went platinum after several weeks on the charts.
When they went on the road to support the album the traveling and one-nighters proved to be just as hard as the "Bark at the Moon" tour. Jake's relationship with Ozzy had grown a bit sour, but since the two of them went their separate ways off stage, Jake gave it little thought. He chalked it up to personality conflicts. Much to his surprise, and to the surprise of Jake's many fans, he soon learned that Ozzy was planning to axe him as lead guitarist.
Although he knew it was for the best, he was saddened to end the years he had spent with Ozzy Osbourne. He read more about the end of their association in rock magazines than was actually discussed in person with Ozzy and the Management. The parts that were untrue he left to conjecture. When he was asked to give his side of the story he declined, and went into his well known seclusion. He felt his time would be better spent planning the future. He didn't give the slightest thought to giving up his music. He did give a lot of thought to forming his own band and doing his "own thing".
After a long deliberation, he let it be known that we would welcome demo tapes from musicians who might be interested in joining his new band. The tapes poured in from all over. Many were presented by musicians who were looking for their big break. Some were sent, or given in person by drummers, bass players and vocalists that have "names" already, but would like to be part of a new scene.
Jake became more enthusiastic about his compositions, and excited by ideas that he kept deep inside, waiting for the right time for exposure. He was very lucky to find Ray Gillen, an excellent singer whose ideas blended with Jake's concepts. Jake's selection of bassist Greg Chaisson completed his search for the ideal band.
Jake's fans are very eager for his return. He doesn't plan to keep them waiting much longer. This year will be the beginning of a dream he's had since he first picked up the guitar. All things became secondary to him then. We are grateful that he made a decision that overflows to capture us all in a flood of musical delight!
See ya at the concert!
Like the Phoenix rising from its ashes, four musicians have shed the chains which bound them to their previous units to combine their talents in a shared musical vision.
That vision is Badlands. Born from a desire to blend hardened metal rhythms with blues-based melodies, the members of Badlands came together out of an innate sense of musical brotherhood. In so doing, each brought with him a background richly steeped in the very foundations of rock history.
Formed in the summer of 1988 when guitarist Jake E Lee contacted vocalist Ray Gillen, the two quickly added bassist Greg Chaisson and drummer Eric Singer and hit the Los Angeles rehearsal studios to polish material for their debut LP, "Badlands" (released on Titanium Records). The stark, ripping tunes that emerged from those sessions paid homage to rock's hallowed past while paving the way for its future. Songs like "Hard Driver", "High Wire", "Dreams in the Dark" and "Streets Cry Freedom" are potent compositions filled with both the passion and power which mark Badlands sound. Yet it is the individuals which comprise this fierce fraternity which merit special attention:
Axe master Jake E Lee earned his stellar guitar reputation as a member of Ozzy Osbourne's band for four years, during which he appeared on two albums, Bark At The Moon and Ultimate Sin. By the time he left that unit, in 1987, his onstage gyrations and sizzling, six-string histrionics marked him as a guitarist who spewed forth hard rock tunes with a strong emotional edge. Wielding his battered white Charvel like the ultimate instrument of metal attack, Jake established himself as one of rock's most adventurous and exciting guitar heroes. Now, as a member of Badlands, he hopes to take rock guitar to new artistic heights. "We're all influenced by the blues. Ray isn't the world's highest screamer and Eric isn't your typical thrash or techno drummer. He comes from an older school and so does Greg. We all play with a lot of feeling."
Singer Ray Gillen cut his musical teeth on tour with Black Sabbath in 1986. His charismatic stage persona and his searing vocal power turned on audiences everywhere - both the guys attracted by Gillen's macho stance and the girls drawn to his raw sexual aura. But this New Jersey native will never be satisfied being rock's latest pin-up king. He wants to live and die on the strength of his music. "I'm really into bluesy singing. This is the first time I've been able to write music that really sounds like me. I never felt that 'special thing' before about any band I was in, but now I know what it feels like - this band is it!"
Eric Singer paid his dues as the hard-hitting drummer for Lita Ford, Gary Moore and Black Sabbath. His association with Gillen in Sabbath made him the obvious choice as Badlands' power percussionist. His kinetic energy both onstage and off makes him Badlands' most outgoing member as well as the rock solid foundation of the band's sound. "Our music is not singles, hit-type music. It's very concert-oriented and dynamic. It's very raw and real and geared towards our audiences. I call it 'intensely real' because we have incredible intensity when we play live."
Bassist Greg Chaisson is the perfect complement to Badlands' high-flying musical attack. His steady rhythms and fleet-fingered approach provide the anchor for the band's sound and keeps it on its steady, unrelenting course. Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, Chaisson's laid-back personality and passion for the martial arts and "muscle" cars characterize the aggressive stance he brings to Badlands' broad-based appeal. "I like being in a family-type band and that's what this is. We all hang out, we're all good friends, there are no egos, no attitudes and no poseurs."