~ Raw blues goes heavy ~
Badlands were the side project launched by former Ozzy guitarist Jake E Lee, who promptly got replaced in Ozzy’s band by Zakk Wylde (who himself launched a few different side projects but managed to never get replaced by Ozzy). Badlands also ended up with one-time Black Sabbath singer Ray Gillen out front, and even with both of those guys, the most successful sidekick in the band was future Kiss drummer Eric Singer (who I actually got to meet backstage at a Kiss concert on the “Revenge” tour when they came through Fayetteville in ’93). It says something about ‘Sidekick week” that the entire first paragraph for our first band just talks about where else these guys played, and not at all about the song, huh?
“High Wire” and “Dreams in the Dark” were the MTV hits, but this was the real standout, that tried to give listeners a solid, raw blues riff in the context of a hard rock song, and it works really well. You get Jake’s skills both carrying a tune on a great riff, and shredding some lead lines, in a type of blues he’d never get to play with Ozzy, and you get Ray unloading a powerhouse voice while the rhythm section holds down the fort. I may have very, very drunkenly performed this once or twice. Badly, I can assure you.
Badlands made it through 2 albums before music industry apathy torpedoed them. Unfortunately, their sidekick names weren’t enough to carry them through to greater success, but they did show that a bunch of talented guys didn’t have to live in someone else’s shadow to make great music.
This week we’re showcasing bands that were founded by guys who made their names as someone else’s sidekick.