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A 7th SINGER? Anthony Esposito on new RED DRAGON CARTEL record: ‘I don’t think Jake is 100% sold on him (Darren James Smith) doing the record either’



Anthony Esposito on new RED DRAGON CARTEL record: ‘I don’t think Jake is 100% sold on him (Darren James Smith) doing the record either’


JARNRJ — A recent interview with RED DRAGON CARTEL bassist Anthony Esposito just hit JUSTAROCKNROLLJUNKIE dot com for anyone keeping score. And it looks like the score just might be a solid touchdown for the Jake E Lee project.


Yes, as in TD, as in 7 points. One for each singer they’ve used inside a years time. Or so it seems that just might be the case.

The band’s debut featured 2 singers. Darren James Smith, and a guest appearance by Cheap Trick vocalist Robin Zander. Then the last several months is (was) like groundhog day with the band. It seemed the same thing happened about every month, only different ground hogs. Errr, with singers.

Smith left the band, enter Chaz West (Ex Bonham), that lasted a few weeks, enter Michael Beck, lasted even less. Then enter Paul D’Eth and in July they grabbed Shawn Crosby to front the legendary 80’s guitar god. The former JONES STREET frontman (Crosby) didn’t make it to August, and now the word is that Smith is back.

But, maybe not for long.

According to a recent interview with the band’s 4 stringer (Esposito), Smith might not be the singer on the new RED DRAGON CARTEL recording either.

Read all about that and more below.


How did the end of the tour wrap up?

It was alright. It was the end of the tour, it was pretty much over with the singer which went kind of weird but it was good, I guess. Knoxville, Nashville and Little Rock were all good shows, they were fun.

How’s everything going in preparation for going over to Japan?

We’re going to Vegas to rehearse for two days then we’ll play LA at The Rainbow Labor Day Barbecue. We’ll play outside on a stage they’ll have built, then we go back to Vegas for two more days, then we go to San Jose and then we go to Japan. So we have two shows in California before we head to Japan.

I’ve never played with Darren (Smith) yet, I mean I’m sure it will be pretty easy to have him step right back in.

RENT_ME_BLOCK_Red_White_Sludge_2013When it comes to the singer situation, how did that really go? When I talked to Jake (E. Lee) at the show (Fish Head Cantina in Halethorpe, Maryland) he was pretty up front about this whole “using different singers thing” was kind of a plan.

Yeah, we never used different singers. That’s the whole misconception. None of those guys were ever in the band. They basically had a shot to audition and we kind of wanted to see what people would be like 24/7. When you audition someone at rehearsals they come in for an hour, they sing the songs and that’s it but when you’re on a bus with someone for twenty-four hours you really get to know them. Then it’s also how they interact with the crowd, with the songs, how they act on stage and there’s all these other intangibles that come in to play. We had dates booked and we’re like, “OK, lets go five, six shows with a guy at each one and see how it works out so none of them were ever in the band, we never made a band announcement saying, “This is my guy.”

Alright, I think that’s definitely were the misconception was because it seemed like you had this guy who didn’t work so let’s try this guy and then he didn’t work out so I think that’s where all the talk started happening and people wondering why it seemed like you guys just couldn’t keep a singer.

Yeah, ya know Greg (Chaisson)  brought in one guy and then management brought in another guy and Jonas (Fairley), the drummer, brought in one guy and then I had known one guy so I brought him in to do a couple shows so were were just going by people telling us that we should try this guy out and try that guy out and we had dates booked because we were fulfilling all the cancellation dates from previous tours, when the booking agent over booked the tours and some shows Jake had to cancel because of his back so we decided to do a trial by fire and see how these guys work out. We’d do one or two rehearsals and we’d just go for it and see how they sound.

I mean, the people that come to see us, come to see Jake. They’re not really coming to see who’s singing, ya know what I mean? The lion-share of the people want to see Jake play again because it’s been so long. No one complains at the shows about why this guy sang and not this guy because it’s all about Jake. It’s basically a solo thing, it’s not even a band.

SC_RDC_July_30_2015_2I gotcha man. With the footage of the singers I saw and then seeing all of you perform with Shawn Crosby, I liked Shawn and I thought he fit well for your band. I wasn’t personally super stoked on Darren but with him coming back into the band and the set up for a new record, I’m interested to see how that plays out now that some time has passed.

Well, I don’t think Jake is 100% sold on him doing the record either. That’s Jake’s call, Jake’s band, Jake’s decision and I think he just wanted to bring Darren back into the fold because he believes Darren was better then any of the other guys that came after him. I believe that he just wants to see. He just wants some one to came in and make him go, “Wow! That’s the guy!” and nobody has done that. They all have their good points, they all have their bad points but nobody has come in and grabbed the fucking bull by the horns and been that front man.

Look, Jake played with Ozzy Osbourne and Ray Gillen, those are tough shoes to fill and to come into a band that is pretty much a solo band situation with a phenomenal guitar player so it’s not an easy job to be a front man in that situation. We want some who’s ballsy enough and talented enough to fucking just blow us away and nobody has. It’s really been agreed upon by everyone involved that they aren’t the guys. It hasn’t been Jake coming to us asking what we think about this guy. It never even came to that. It was always decided that after this run we’ll get somebody else. It was never clear cut that anyone was “The Guy.”

reddragon-singerlessI can understand that and appreciate it too. Again, Jake was very open when I talked to him about liking the idea of using different singers. But, also having such a high-profile rock guy like Jake and having different guys coming in and out of the band, people talk. It’s kind of the headache of the business, I guess.

Well, Jonas has been there since day one. As far as the bass playing goes, he had Ron (Mancuso) and there were other issues involving that. I don’t think Jake every really wanted Ron to be the touring bass player and that just ended up working out that way. Then Jake got Greg and Greg’s a phenomenal, a great, talented bass player but it worked out that his personal life didn’t leave room for him to do this. So, he left under his own accord because of his life and that’s just the situation on that and that’s when I got the call to come in and play so it’s just been the singer issue.

Everything else has been pretty normal like in other bands but it just seems to be that and we appreciate all the attention we get, we love it. It’s great to see these magazines and people posting and caring, even if it’s negatively because they’re still interested in what we do which we think is amazing and we’re lucky that people even talk about it because there’s so many bands out there touring and nobody cares. It just seems that every move we make is being commented on and scrutinized and don’t get us wrong because we appreciate the concern by everyone out there.

Read the full interview is right HERE




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