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Badlands


When it's over, it's over. Except when there are tour commitments. Badlands guitarist Jake E. Lee and vocalist Ray Gillen had a falling out during the recording of the group's second album, "Voodoo Highway."

There were high expectations given that Lee was Ozzy Osbournes' guitarist from '82-'87, until he was unceremoniously fired by Ozzy's wife/manager Sharon. Gillen and drummer Eric Singer had brief runs with the post-Ozzy Black Sabbath. Lee met bassist Greg Chaisson during an Ozzy audition. On paper, this looked like a second tier supergroup. A solid money maker.

Since Badlands' self-titled debut peaked at only #57 on the Billboard 200, their record label, Atlantic, wanted to bring in mega-successful songwriter Desmond Child to help write "Voodoo Highway." Employing a hired gun didn't sit well with the band. "(We'd) rather make money touring than releasing an album (we) did not believe in," Lee later proclaimed.

Gillen took it upon himself to write a handful of songs that he thought had commercial appeal. He also shared his opinion with Atlantic. However, the group refused to record the songs claiming they were only 'average'. Eventually, Gillen was fired.

Lee and Gillen then took to bashing each other in the British music magazine Kerrang! Lee went first criticizing Gillen's "erratic behavior." A once collaborative relationship had quickly bitten the dust.





But with a U.K. tour on the horizon, and fans not showing any enthusiasm for Gillen's replacement (Soul singer Debby Holiday), the band's original vocalist was readmitted. But all was not well.

During a concert at the London Astoria, Gillen pulled out a copy of Kerrang! containing Lee's interview and shouted to the crowd "there's two sides to every story." Lee mouthed "It's all true."

Amazingly, the show continued. A Kerrang! reviewer claimed he "had never seen a band with so much tension play so superbly."

In the next issue of Kerrang! Gillen took his shot calling Lee "a lazy musician." He went on to state that the guitarist "couldn't wear (Eddie) Van Halen's socks." What? He was apparently down on Lee's playing rather than his wardrobe.

Not surprisingly, '91's "Voodoo Highway" didn't do well and following the tour, Gillen was officially fired and replaced by John West.

However, being dropped from Atlantic, who'd had enough, was essentially the end.

Gillen died in '93 at his New Jersey home due to AIDS-related complications. Five years later, the unreleased Badlands album "Dusk" was released in Japan.

Singer worked on guitarist Paul Stanley's solo project which led to his joining KISS.

Lee went on to start Red Dragon Cartel - where he suffered continued difficulties with vocalists.


Badlands Discography

Albums:

1989 Badlands
1991 Voodoo Highway
1998 Dusk (Japan release)

Also see Red Dragon Cartel.


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