Former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E. Lee spoke in an interview with Dean Delray from “Let There Be Talk” podcast, revealed a tragic story about Bandlands frontman Ray Gillen, who died in 1993 from AIDS.
“When [Ray and I] first got together, we were talking to make sure we were compatible. And so drugs came up. We both said, ‘Yeah, I did coke.’ It was in the ’80s. ‘But no problem. I don’t still do it.’ And then I said, ‘You ever shoot up?’ ‘Cause I never have, ’cause I hate needles.
And he said, ‘I did one time.’ And I said, ‘Oh.’ He goes, ‘It was with my uncle.’ His uncle was a biker, and he had a Harley, and he was so different from his father — this wild guy on a bike, and apparently gay. And he just kind of idolized him, and he wanted to try heroin one time, I guess.
This is what Ray told me. And so he shot up with his uncle — one time, just to see what it was like and to have a little bonding moment. But then, maybe two years after that, I remember Ray telling me that his uncle was diagnosed with AIDS. And, to me, it must have happened that one time that he did it with his uncle.”
On how he was blackmailed by manager Paul O’Neill, he said:
“He (Ray) never told me. But in between the first and the second [Badlands] record, he started getting really thin and didn’t look quite as healthy. And I never asked him about it. But, anyway, between those two, Paul O’Neill — he was our manager, as well as producing the vocals on the first record — we decided to fire him. There was missing money and whatever. We decided to fire him.
And Paul calls me and says… ‘Cause the first Badlands tour, we cut it off pretty short, because Ray got pneumonia. And then, for some reason, the management said, ‘Well, you need to do a second record,’ even though we’d hardly really toured on that first one. Which I thought was weird. Anyway, when we decided to fire him, Paul said, ‘Well, you can’t fire me.’ [I said], ‘Why not?’ And he said, ‘Because I have information, and I’ll tell Atlantic Records about it.’ I go, ‘What are you talking about?’ And he said, ‘Ray has AIDS.’ And I said, ‘Why do you say that?’ And he said, ‘Because when he went to the hospital, when he had pneumonia, the blood work showed that he had it. And if you fire me, I’m gonna tell Atlantic Records.’ And I was, like, ‘You motherfucker!’
So, then I said, ‘This is gonna be Ray’s decision. I’m not gonna say yes or no.’ But I did tell him, ‘You motherfucker. That’s fucking blackmail, and that’s just bullshit. That’s fucked up shit.’ So I asked Ray, and Ray said, ‘Well, it’s not true, so fuck him. Fire him.’ So we did fire him. And he did tell Atlantic Records that. And we got kind of screwed on the second record because of it. They wouldn’t even give us tour-support money at all… But, yeah, Paul O’Neill fucked us on that.
But, anyway, Ray never told me he had it,” Jake repeated. “And I just brought it up that one time because we were gonna fire the manager. And he said he didn’t have it, so I just took him at his first word.”
Click here to source of the statement (Blabbermouth). Listen to entire interview below.