Jake E Lee's Red Dragon Cartel were last night at the centre of an agent dispute after their show in Wolverhampton was cancelled at the last minute.
Red Dragon Cartel in battle with agent
'Spinal Tap' moment leads to last-minute show cancellation – putting Download appearance at risk
In what has been described as a "Spinal Tap moment", Jake E Lee's girlfriend is said to have been involved in a dressing room showdown with the agent.
The band's next show has now been called off too – and it's believed their appearance at Download this weekend is also at risk.
The furious former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist insisted he and his band had been ready to play. But event organisers said the band had breached the terms of their visas, and then refused to address the problem.
A sign was posted at the door of the Slade Rooms venue shortly before opening time, saying the show had been called off due to "unforeseen circumstances."
Lee then wrote a message over the top on the outside of the door: "Jake E Lee was here and ready to go 08/06/2014" – and in a second note named promoter Denise Dale as the person responsible for the call-off.
Drummer Jonas Fairley said via Facebook: "Total fucking joke. The Red Dragon Cartel sincerely apologises. This decision was made by a completely unreasonable, immature, unprofessional booking agent."
Dale runs Metal Music Bookings & Management. In a statement, the firm says: "Denise was confronted in the dressing room in a Spinal Tap type of moment by Jake E Lee’s American girlfriend, who stated that she would henceforth be taking over the management of the band, and that Metal Music Bookings would no longer represent Red Dragon Cartel.
"Said girlfriend, who is in the UK on a tourist only visa, then proceeded to work at the band’s Nottingham Rescue Rooms show on Saturday June 7, which caused a serious visa irregularity, in contravention of UK immigration law.
"Denise Dale decided to attempt to defuse the situation and travelled to Wolverhampton’s Slade Rooms yesterday afternoon to find, on arrival, that the band and crew were demanding that venue staff ban her from entering.
"Denise informed them that the show could go ahead as long as said girlfriend was not in the building, but Jake declined this solution and the show was, therefore, cancelled."
The band this morning called Dale's claims "categorically false" and said preparations for the concert had been proceeding to plan until she arrived at the venue. They added: "She harassed the tour manager and guitar tech, demanding they leave and threatening arrest based on groundless claims.
"The former booking agent for Red Dragon Cartel had taken philosophical differences between herself and a close personal friend of Jake's which results in a series of unprofessional, childish actions. Mrs Dale was given multiple opportunities and solutions to defuse the situation. She refused and chose to escalate matters.
"And to reconfirm her immature and juvenile actions, she will be posting and reposting her false statement all over and over again."
Dale said this morning: "Another promoter has now cancelled the Buckley Tivoli show on June 13. It is not in our interest to cancel shows for any of our artists. The shows are cancelled for the reasons outlined."
The band's final UK appearance is planned for Download on June 15 – but if Dale's assertions regarding work visas are true, the festival appearance could also be called off.
Red Dragon Cartel previously cancelled two of their original seven UK shows, set for Glasgow tomorrow and Newcastle on Wednesday, explaining that Lee had to return to the US to deal with "urgent business matters." Their gigs in London on Friday and Nottingham on Saturday had gone ahead as planned.
Lee recently said he was resisting pressure to keep the band going any longer than he wanted to – and there was a chance their current touring commitments would be their last.