Jake E. Lee
||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2007)|
|Jake E. Lee|
|Birth name||Jakey Lou Williams|
February 15, 1957 |
in Norfolk, Virginia
|Genres||Heavy metal, hard rock, blues rock|
|Occupations||Musician, guitarist, songwriter|
|Associated acts||Teaser, Mickey Ratt, Rough Cutt, Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, Badlands, Wicked Alliance, Enuff Z'nuff, Beggars & Thieves|
|Charvel/Jackson San Dimas|
Jakey Lou Williams (born February 15, 1957 in Norfolk, Virginia, USA), commonly known as Jake E. Lee, is an American guitarist best known for playing with Ozzy Osbourne in the mid-1980s and later in his own band Badlands.
Jake E. Lee was encouraged by his mother to take classical piano lessons as a child. With a lack of interest in piano, 13 year old Lee found that he enjoyed playing his older sister's guitar. His older sister influenced his desire to play by introducing him to Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin records. The first song he learned was "No Time" by The Guess Who. From there, he used what formal training he had from piano, along with a Mel Bay guitar method book and concentrated on becoming a self-taught, rock guitarist. Catching on and quickly developing a talent for the guitar, Lee played in several high school bands. And so, teenaged Jake E. Lee was already turning heads and wowing fellow San Diego musicians with his impressive style of playing.
In San Diego, Lee headed a band called Teaser, purportedly named after the debut solo album of Tommy Bolin, of whom Lee was an avowed fan. This Teaser should not be confused with the Dutch band Teaser which featured future Whitesnake guitarist Adrian Vandenberg. Teaser was the official House Band at San Diego's first "Teen Night Club", StraitaHead Sound, for several years. In 1980, Lee joined a San Diego hard rock band called Mickey Ratt, which after later relocating to Los Angeles became the popular glam metal band Ratt. They released the single "Dr. Rock"/"Drivin on E", which was given away for free to fans at their live shows. Their song "Tell the World" was included on the original pressing of the influential first Metal Massacre album (1982), an album which also featured Metallica's first song "Hit the Lights".
Lee soon left Ratt to join Rough Cutt, who were at that time produced by Ronnie James Dio and managed by his wife, Wendy. After hearing Lee in Rough Cutt in 1982, Dio invited Lee to join his new solo band Dio, which he was forming after departing Black Sabbath. Lee accepted, though his time in Dio's band was short-lived. According to drummer Vinny Appice, there were rehearsals with Lee and Dio and recordings of those rehearsals still exist. Lee claims to have written the main riff to "Don't Talk to Strangers" (which would later appear on the Holy Diver album) and that Dio wanted him to play "simple block chords that wouldn't trample on his vocals".
When Ozzy Osbourne sought a permanent replacement for the deceased Randy Rhoads, he came to Los Angeles to audition lead guitarists. Bassist Dana Strum, who had recommended Rhoads to Osbourne in 1979, this time recommended Lee for the job. Osbourne was torn between Lee and Dokken guitarist George Lynch. Though Osbourne is said to have initially chosen Lynch, he soon changed his mind and Lee became his full-time guitarist for the next five years. Lee joined Osbourne's band in late 1982 for the tour supporting the Speak of the Devil live album with drummer Tommy Aldridge and bassist Don Costa.
With Lee, Osbourne then began writing and recording the Bark at the Moon album. The songs "So Tired" and "Bark at the Moon" were released as singles, with accompanying videos, and they received regular airplay on MTV and radio. To date, the album has sold three million copies in the U.S.
After Osbourne left the Betty Ford Center where he had been treated for substance abuse, Lee presented him with the music he had written while Osbourne was away. Osbourne was purportedly very satisfied with the quantity and quality of Lee's new music, much of which would be used for the 1986 album, The Ultimate Sin. The album was awarded Platinum status in May 1986 and was awarded Double Platinum status in October 1994. Lee and Osbourne once again toured extensively, this time with Phil Soussan on bass and Randy Castillo on drums. In Kansas City, Missouri on April 1, 1986, a concert was filmed which would be released later that year as the home video The Ultimate Ozzy. In 1987, after touring with Ozzy Osbourne in support of The Ultimate Sin album, Lee was fired in a telegram from Sharon Osbourne while working on one of his muscle cars back in Los Angeles. Lee was completely caught off guard at the time of his firing and was under the impression he had a solid working gig with the Osbourne camp.
After being fired from Ozzy's band, Lee formed the blues-based hard rock band Badlands with vocalist Ray Gillen in 1988. Badlands consisted of Lee, Gillen, drummer Eric Singer, and bassist Greg Chaisson. The band released their self-titled debut album in 1989. In 1991, Singer left Badlands to join KISS following the death of longtime drummer Eric Carr. Badlands then released the follow-up album Voodoo Highway. During the tour supporting that album, Gillen left the band and was briefly replaced by John West. Gillen later died of AIDS-related complications in 1993. In 1998, the final Badlands "album", Dusk, was released which compiled previously unreleased material recorded with Gillen.
In 1996, Lee released an instrumental solo album titled A Fine Pink Mist. The album received favorable reviews and was compared by music critics to Joe Satriani's Surfing with the Alien.
Throughout the 1990s and into the new millennium, Lee has kept a relatively low profile. He has most notably appeared on musical tributes to Queen, AC/DC, Rush, Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, and Metallica. Lee was involved in a project called Wicked Alliance with vocalist Mandy Lion, drummer Ray Luzier, and bassist Brian Perry, and also briefly joined Bourgeois Pigs with Shark Island (band) vocalist Richard Black, Michael Guy and bassist Tony Franklin. One demo from the Bourgeois Pigs sessions emerged on the Union 4 compilation in 2001 called "Calamities of Vanity". In 2000, Lee played lead guitar on two tracks from Rob Rock's Rage of Creation album. In 2005, Lee released his first album in eight years entitled Retraced, which consisted of blues covers from the 1960s and 1970s. Lee is currently in a three-piece band called 3 Day Crush.
In 2011, Jake appeared in the video, along with Ron Keel, Blas Elias, Sunset Thomas and Paul Shortino, for the song “We Come Undone” by the band Beggars & Thieves. The song is from their new CD “We Are the Brokenhearted” and Jake is featured performing the guitar solo. The following captions appear on the screen during Jake's appearance: “Jake E. Lee is alive and well, living in Las Vegas” and “He would just rather play with Beggars & Thieves than deal with shady promoters and play Bark at the Moon 750 more times”.
Note: He has used various other pieces of equipment, but due to his low profile, it is difficult to list all of it.
- Marshall JCM800 2203 and various other Marshalls
- Modified Fender Strat (modded by friend at Charvel, hence the logo. White finish, black pickguard, slanted middle and neck single coil pickups)
- Custom Charvel Strat (Sames specifications as his modded Fender, but with a transparent blue finish and no pickguard)
- Charvel San Dimas (Used on BTM tour and Ultimate Sin, with Ozzy Osbourne)Color White, with Black Pickguard.
- Charvel Holdsworth Strats (Red with mirror pickguard and single bridge pickup. Also had a second one in Daphne Blue with a black pickguard and single bridge pickguard)
- ESP Custom Shop Jake E Lee Signature Strats (Same specifications as his modded Fender, but in various different colors)
- Gibson SG Jr. (White finish with black pickguard and single P90 bridge pickup)
- Boss OD-1
- Boss BF-2
- Jake has been seen in photos and on video in recent years (2009-2012) using Gibson guitars:
- Black Gibson SG Standard
- Vintage (60's model) SG Jr. (Cherry finish, single P-90 pickup)
- Gibson Les Paul Special (Beggars and Thieves video - Single cutaway, dual P-90 pickups)
- Orange Amp head (model ??) with Marshall Cabinet
With Mickey Ratt
With Rough Cutt
- songs "A Little Kindness" and "Used and Abused" (1981)
With Ozzy Osbourne
With Wicked Alliance
- Twisted Beauty Demo (recorded 1994)
With Enuff Z'Nuff
- Dissonance (2009)