It’s with great sadness that we must once again add to the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal obituary postings as just this evening, singer Jani Lane (most famously known for being in the Glam band Warrant) was found dead in his hotel room. He was 47 years old. TMZ.com seemed to be the first to report the news and then it spread like a wildfire across the Hard Rock and Metal websites and found shock and sadness being delivered by numerous Twitter accounts of music’s most influential people.
Jani Lane was born John Kennedy Oswald on February 1, 1964 and came into the largest public prominence with his band Warrant during the tail end of Glam Metal’s rule in 1988. I will admit to not really being interested in the band when they started invading the video network of MTV because I was more intrigued by heavier stuff, but when I had the chance to reflect upon their first couple of albums in the remastered format many years later had to say that there was a certain quality to them that others sorely lacked. Lane was a troubled sort in terms of the public life we got to see on shows like “Celebrity Fit Club” where his seemingly endless battle with alcohol addiction appeared to be an unstoppable force in his life. In interviews he seemed to hate being referred to as “The Cherry Pie guy” as he felt he amounted to more than that in life, and as an observer looking in on that statement, I always felt he should have been happy that this particular song brought so much attention to his work and happiness to his fans. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side and there was likely a lot of distress brought on by this kind of fame. He would later recant the statement about the tune saying how the interview caught him on an off day and he did like how it keeps being played so many years later.
Lane married Bobbie Brown (from the “Cherry Pie” video) in 1991 and the pair had a daughter (Taylar Jayne Lane). They divorced in 1993. The cause of Lane’s death have not been publicly disclosed at the time of this writing but I am sure that we shall learn them soon enough. The Internet has a way of making things that would never go around come out very quickly. I did know that the singer recently taped an episode of Eddie Trunk’s “That Metal Show” for VH1 Classic and this will air when the season begins its run in the early Fall. Sadly, I never had the opportunity to see Warrant in concert when he reunited with the band or when he performed with Great White during Jack Russel’s recovery from surgery. I would have liked to had done that. On behalf of the PiercingMetal site and its creative team I wish consolation and healing to Jani’s family, friends and numerous devoted fans. He made his mark on a genre for sure and he shall be missed by many. Rest in Peace Jani Lane, many thanks for some truly memorable tunes.
PiercingMetal.com has reviewed some of the Warrant catalog of releases and those can be perused HERE.
Learn more about Jani Lane’s life via his Wikipedia entry HERE.
Title: “They Came From Hollywood”
Label: Cleopatra Records
Release Date: 11/11/2008
Genre: Glam Rock
Even though I hardly considered Warrant to be of any importance to my own music appreciation when they first came into their biggest prominence I had to say that looking back on these days were rather interesting to see so many years later. The band was one of the many acts that fell into the “Hair Metal” demographic and thanks to the machinations of MTV, we got a healthy dose of them and their videos “Down Boys” and eventual juggernaut “Cherry Pie”. During these years I leaned to a heavier and more aggressive level of Hard Rock and Metal and always groaned when the Warrant tunes came on and hence my level of original disdain for what they did. Despite me and other fans that followed suit, the band was popular and got radio and video play a whole lot more than bands I was passionate about. This DVD takes you on a journey to the bands past but it is not a documentary retrospective and instead a bunch of loosely stuck together live concert moments, some backstage footage and of course a bevy of bonus features. If you were never a fan of the band or only briefly recall the band that was fronted by singer Jani Lane, it will surprise you a little to see the films beginning as the band hits the stage for a headlining arena show in the USA. Back in the day, bands like this were headlining arenas all the time and this is not so much the case nowadays due to the dramatic changes in the music industry. The adventure back to the 80’s begins with this USA tour and in my opinion this is the cleanest and best sounding footage. The band actually sounds good live and is not as lame as I would have expected them to be in my Metal youth. The tunes crunch a little harder in the live sense and my thoughts are had I been there as well, I would have very likely had a decent time. This 1988 show is followed by a 1991 appearance in Japan and as expected the crowd is going crazy for the American Glam Boys. We also get one tune from an appearance in Italy. It might have been better to see these full shows presented on a single DVD since they were from two different touring cycles and would have given the fans something a little beefier. Of course I am sure that the legacy Warrant fans are not complaining based on the limited video product for the band that is available for their enjoyment.
Continue reading “They Came From Hollywood” by Warrant
Artist: Various Artists
Title: “Monster Ballads Xmas”
Label: Razor & Tie Music
Release Date: 9/11/2007
Genre: Holiday Rock
So you’ve outgrown your “Alvin & The Chipmunks Christmas” album and with age you were more inspired by the heavier side of things which makes a “Celine Dion Christmas” practically useless when you need a dose of holiday tunes with a little Metal edge to them. Well look no further boys and girls because the folks that gave us “Monster Ballads” have delivered a present wrapped in leather and spikes in the form of “Monster Ballads Xmas”. The premise is a whole lot of fun since it takes a number of the eighties Hard Rock heroes and lets them deliver the jingle and the jangle in a distinctive Metal fashion. It begins with Skid Row and while a couple of the lines are changed around the song is a quasi-Punk jam that was quite interesting and the perfect way to open the CD. Winger follows next with his rendition of John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)”, and I admit that I was hesitant at first but found the manner in which Kip and company did it to be a great success. I am sure John smiles from the beyond with how classy this one was done. Jani Lane’s contribution didn’t appeal to me much since it was very close to the way Twisted Sister did it on their full-length Christmas album and we get a sample of it next. Metal fans should look into that release as a must have for the Heavy Holidays without a doubt.
Continue reading “Monster Ballads Xmas” by Various Artists
Artist: Various Artists
Title: “Metal Mania: Stripped Across America”
Label: Sidewinder Records
Release Date: 2/21/2006
Genre: Hard Rock
Filmed at both the record release party as well as during the actual tour comes the “Metal Mania: Stripped Across America” DVD. The idea was a pretty good one, and played off the once popular MTV Unplugged idea by taking a number of classic 80’s performers and putting them on tour together. The tour featured such performers as Kip Winger, Great White, Slaughter and Stephen Pearcy (former Ratt) among several others and each musician would play acoustic versions of their hits. I was sad to not attend this tour when it came through town but one cannot hit every show which makes this DVD of some interest to people who had the same thing happen to them. Yet as I looked to it and hoped to find a comprehensive document of the performances, I admit that I felt let down by only finding a single DVD and one that ran a mere 12 songs. The DVD medium is taking over a large amount of ground on the CD and I felt that a lot more could have been included to make this something incredible for the buyer. Most of the performances are top-notch and I have to lend some kudos to Jani Lane, as the former singer of Warrant does a terrific job especially. Lane has had some well-publicized fall-downs and I think the quality of his playing should help him realize that life’s obstacles can be overcome. Slaughter performs their staple track as a full band which to me is not quite stripped but sure sounds good. Winger’s two of their three hits are performed and he does this with no one helping him but his twelve string guitar.
Continue reading “Metal Mania: Stripped Across America” by Various Artists
Artist: Various Artists
Title: “Subdivisions: A Tribute To Rush”
Label: Magna Carta Records
Release Date: 3/15/2005
Genre: Progressive Rock
Magna Carta Records follows up their Rush tribute “Working Man” with “Subdivisions” and while there is nothing quite like the original, this album continues to showcase the other side of some Progressive and Rock greats it makes for a nice companion to the first release. The original “Working Man” found Mike Portnoy on most of the drumming, and he is clearly a monster talent capable of all things Peart; his adventures in Dream Theater have allowed him to take drumming to the next level. “Subdivisions” however lets all the drumming be handled by Steve Vai and Annihilator skin basher Mike Mangini. Mike is a killer player who does the album justice. Vinny Moore and Stu Hamm handle the rhythm guitars and bass on the whole recording as well and that makes the key focus be on the vocal talent this time around. Sebastian Bach is once again present on the album and he does a great considering his level of expertise. As a result “Tom Sawyer” and “Lakeside Park” have a new heaviness to them. Yet despite Bach’s presence I was more interested this time around in the contributions of the other singers and I feel many listeners could enjoy this as well. Joining the talented folks who put this together is Randy Jackson (Zebra), Kip Winger (Winger) and Jani Lane (Warrant).
Continue reading “Subdivisions: A Tribute To Rush” by Various Artists