RED DRAGON CARTEL, the band led by former OZZY OSBOURNE and BADLANDS guitarist Jake E. Lee, will release its sophomore album, "Patina", on November 9 via Frontiers Music Srl.
The follow-up to RED DRAGON CARTEL's eponymous 2014 debut, "Patina" marks the group's first release with drummer Phil Varone (SAIGON KICK, SKID ROW) and bassist Anthony Esposito. The band's current lineup is rounded out by singer Darren James Smith.
RED DRAGON CARTEL's new album was recorded at Esposito's Obscenic Arts studio in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania and was reportedly mixed by legendary producer Max Norman, who has previously worked with OZZY OSBOURNE, MEGADETH, SAVATAGE and LOUDNESS, among others.
In addition to being the new bassist for RED DRAGON CARTEL, Esposito co-produced the album alongside Lee.
"I think we had a great production partnership," says Jake. "He never discouraged me from trying things that were a bit outside the box; in fact, he encouraged it. His attention to detail in the recording of everything was exceptional. Much more than I alone would have toiled over. He has an incredible work ethic that kept me from lapsing into complacency. If we disagreed on how something should be, we'd find a perfect marriage of the two sides, or completely reimagine it. We didn't settle on anything unless we both agreed it was perfect. If I do another album, I'd love it to be with him again."
Another new member to RED DRAGON CARTEL is drummer Phil Varone, whose style Lee really appreciated. "Phil is a very solid and groove-oriented player, who is not afraid to turn things upside down to give the song a more unique flavor," explains Lee.
"Patina" marks a change of style from the debut RED DRAGON CARTEL album, featuring a more bluesy hard rock direction as opposed to its predecessor's heavier leanings.
Lee says: "The first album was more of a piecemeal production with some of the song ideas being 10 years old and never having more than one player in the room at any time. I wanted to do this one from scratch with all the songs originating and worked on with everyone in the room, on their instruments. It felt much more organic, like the way I used to do it for the first 20 years of my career — more honest to my roots."
When asked about his musical inspirations for the record, Jake says: "My inspirations for 'Patina' are from the artists I loved during my youth. Robin Trower, Santana, BLACK SABBATH, CAPTAIN BEYOND, THIN LIZZY, GRAND FUNK RAILROAD, David Bowie… I could go on and on, but let me also say that there are also hints of SLY & THE FAMILY STONE, Dick Dale, psychedelia and even some George Benson. Don't let any of that scare you — it all makes sense!"
"Patina" is a definitive statement of Jake's unbelievable skills with a monster production from Esposito and a perfect mix, courtesy of Norman, whose relationship with Jake dates back to the guitarist's days with OZZY OSBOURNE.
The track listing for the disc is as follows:
03. Crooked Man
04. The Luxury Of Breathing
06. Chasing Ghosts
07. A Painted Heart
08. Punchclown (bonus track)
09. My Beautiful Mess
10. Ink & Water
The official music video for "Havana" can be seen below.
"I chose 'Havana' as the first song to be released from the new album for a few reasons," Lee told Guitar World. "First off, it begins with a lone guitar playing the riff, promoting the idea that this is a guitar-heavy record. The song's production is about as straightforward and basic as it gets on this album and I wanted it to be apparent that, overall, it's more of an old school approach, as opposed to its predecessor [RED DRAGON CARTEL's self titled, 2014 debut album.] And, it's just a cool riff I couldn't wait to share with anyone interested in what I'm doing!"
Back in September 2015, RED DRAGON CARTEL was rejoined by Darren James Smith after a period of several months during which the band played shows with a number of other vocalists, including former JONES STREET frontman Shawn Crosby, Canadian singer Paul D'Eath (CITIZENS UNITE, MUSHROOM TRAIL), Chas West (Jason Bonham, LYNCH MOB, 3 LEGGED DOGG) and Michael Beck.
Issued in January 2014, RED DRAGON CARTEL's debut CD sold around 5,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 69 on The Billboard 200 chart.