Regarding Red Dragon Cartel vocalist DARREN JAMES SMITH


Well, I have read and listened to people discuss the debut performance of Red Dragon Cartel at the world famous Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood. Darren James Smith was raked over the coals and drug through the street. Apparently he had an off night, well that sometimes happens. If you have ever performed on stage in any capacity you know what I’m talking about. There are many things that can affect a performance: nerves, illness, preoccupation with something, or sometimes you are just not feeling it. I have been there before, it happens. It pained me to see people attacking Darren as they did,  I’m sure it hurt him. People were saying “he’s no Ray Gillen” we know that and I don’t think Jake E. Lee was trying to recreate another Badlands either, this was a new band with new life. There are several things that I feel (and these are just my opinions) affected this show in particular. First off the amount of press this show got was immense, no pressure there right? A lot of bands have time to hone their live performances before the press descends upon them. Not these guys,  we were inundated with minute to minute updates.  Second, I understand he had strep throat which sucks on any level but for a vocalist it’s devastating. Being sick and performing really does suck, been there, done that. Pile on these things to pushing yourself, learning songs, traveling it all adds up. 

I am sure that Red Dragon Cartel did not just pick Darren James Smith arbitrarily. There was something there and some chemistry between them that sparked the fire. Let’s give them the chance to find their groove and rock our ears!

I does my heart to good to see the smile on the face of  Jake E. Lee. He is writing songs and back on stage where he belongs.

Oh yeah, “Bark At The Moon” – Thanks Jake we know you wrote it!


it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s Rock N ‘Roll

the Hellion

18 thoughts on “Regarding Red Dragon Cartel vocalist DARREN JAMES SMITH

  1. I understand everything you were saying there. Having performed for years, I understand the ups and downs of live performances.

    If he did have strep, however, getting plastered before the performance makes even less sense, since it dries the voice out even worse. The fact that shouted out, “I’m FUCKING DRUNK!” mid-song didn’t help his cause, either.

    He’s apologized and I think that most people are willing to give him another chance. But I think that, in your desire to defend Smith, you glossed over some of what made his performance particularly disappointing.

  2. I agree 100%! I know Darren personally and know how talented he is and how great a person he is. He has paid his dues and deserves to be where he is now, on stage with a legend such as Jake E. Lee. I just hope that the people who were so quick to judge can get past the first impression and give RDC a chance to shine!

  3. well DARREN JAMES SMITH, was near perfect in SAN DIEGO on sunday night !! proving all the arm-chair critics wrong !! way to make us CANADIANS proud bro !!

  4. His craptastic performance at The Whisky had nothing to do with his vocal performance or being under the weather. It had to do with his lack of a work ethic and unadulterated on-stage doucheiness. He could learn a thing or two about humility and graciousness from Todd La Torre of the new and improved Queensryche.

  5. He was horrible at the Whiskey…bottom line. You think their management were celebrating after that show? As for the comments…people comment on what they saw. Trust me…Jake fans WANT him do well…I know I do. He was WAY to drunk and that’s the bottom line. Everything else are just excuses. The singer apologized for it and came back with a strong performance in SD. As long as he doesn’t get wasted and stays focused, this band will kick ass. I think he now realizes how he almost blew it. This is the mighty Jake E Lee he is singing for….it would be horrific to see Jakes name attached to such horrible reviews. I was a very harsh critic of the Whiskey show…but applaud his turnaround for the SD show. He sounded great.

  6. I consider Darren a close friend, we live in the same hometown and I’ve had the honor of sharing the stage with him many times. Darren has been stoked about this gig since the first talks of it last year and was busy with all his local projects. The prep and rehearsal schedule RDC has had was short, rushed and furious … add travel, daily rehearsal marathons, jet lag, strep throat and yes too much JD and ya get what ya got. But picture this.. you’ve had some success in the business (Harem Scarem, Warmachine etc etc ) then Jake E. Fucking Lee wants you to front his band… no pressure there. He’s not Ray or Ozzy.. he’s DARREN FUCKIN SMITH! and THAT GUY ROCKS HARD, he’s paid his dues and deserves this shot. We’re so proud of you Darren, keep rockin that shit like you did in San Diego and the haters can chew it !!! \m/ >< \m/

    • Amen! Can’t wait to see more from these guys! People love to criticize, but forget they aren’t perfect all the time either. Shit happens. I’m pretty sure the Ozz-man has had his share of bad days, but he’s done alright! Everyone needs to lay off of Darren!

  7. The people with the worst freakin’ things to say are the talentles, jealous, self imposed critical wannabes that could never, or have never been in a place to perform, record, or write music.

  8. An off night, yes it happens. There was more to it than strep. The good news every day is a new page. People forget specially if the other performances are great. Best of luck to Darren. Im ecstatic that Jake is back one of my favorite guitarists of all time.

  9. Ive played all over the world for many years and was raised with “Rockstars”. Yes everyone has a bad night, however….At that level your “Bad” nights should be better than a novices good night. Your at an A-level, paid dues, etc. You should know better than to drink to excess while your sick , with JetLag, un rehearsed, etc.. Your dues paying should have let you know to not say random BS while drunk, with strep, jet Lag, etc while onstage. I have been to MANY Ozzy shows when Jake was in the band, And even when everyone was partying HARD, they still didn’t let it effect they’re performance, While the singers might not have sounded perfect. There were no random explatives and excuses for why they were acting stupid or saying stupid things. They were pro’s at the top of the game. NO EXCUSES..I am ecstatic that Jake is playing again, and wish the band nothing but success. I only hope that Darren can rise to the occasion and become one of the “Rockstars” he has been working at becoming for years. There’s no crying in Rock n Roll.

  10. I was very critical of the performance that night.scratching my head asking myself why? Well it now has been become clear!!!! As a singer I can relate to everything but the alcohol.I have a drink before I go on and one or two up with me,I save the parting for after.Now that being said I think this being a huge show probally the biggest in his life,he was just tying to deal with the pressure.i met him backstage and he seams like a heck of a nice guy.he just set the bar very high for himself and Im sure he will deliver. Good luck and go kick some ass!! Peace The Kidd

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