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Jani Lane - From Ohio to Hollywood

May 21, 2017

  Born John Kennedy Oswald, raised in Akron, Ohio, he was drumming under the name “Mitch Dynomite” with his older brother’s band on the Cleveland cover-band circuit when he was 11 years old. He went on to become a top high school athlete, but turned down scholarships from Ohio State and Kent State to try and make it as a rock star.


Shortly after graduating from high school, Lane joined the band Cyren as the drummer and eventually Dorian Gray. After making a name for himself in Ohio, Jani relocated to Florida in 1983 with Dorian Gray.



                                                   Dorian Gray 1983- Stoned In Love


He eventually formed Plain Jane with future Warrant bandmate Steven (Chamberlin) Sweet and longtime friend/bassist Al Collins ( Al Collins (Alley) who later played in Slammin' Gladys. [Jani executive-produced Slammin Gladys' only album and made a guest appearance in the bands video for the song "Down on your Knees" and sang backup vocals for the song "What U Need"]. It was at this time Lane adopted the stage name "Jani Lane." Jani, Al and Steven recorded the first Plain Jane 4-track demos at their rented house in Winter Park, FL before relocating to CA in the spring of '84.









             Plain Jane - "California Stars"                     Plain Jane - "Rhinestones & Lipstick


By 1985, Plain Jane had become a regular on the L.A. club circuit and opened many shows for the band  Warrant. As if their fate had been written in the  "California Stars" Plain Jane's bassist and guitarist left the band on the same day Warrant's singer and drummer quit. Erik Turner, who had founded Warrant in July 1984, was impressed with Jani's songwriting and vocal performance, and invited Lane and Sweet to jam with his band Warrant in September 1986.



                                   Warrant - Live @ Gazzari's 1987  


After breaking attendance records set by Van Halen on the L.A. club scene, the band recorded a demo tape in September 1987 for Paisley Park Records, a record label owned by musician Prince. With major labels taking an interest and after recording tracks for A&M Records the band recorded the song "Game of War"for the movie "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure". Eventually it was announced that Columbia had signed the band. Lane immediately spent his advance on a black Corvette which he promptly crashed. Warrant opened their touring campaign in September billed with D'Molls followed by dates with Britny Fox. The label immediately arranged for them to work with the in demand Beau Hill as producer on what would become the band's debut album "D.R.F.S.R."

  Warrant & Britny Fox


 The album was released amidst some controversy. It was widely rumored that guitarists Erik Turner and Joey Allen had not played a note on the album and that all guitar work had been performed by ex Streets guitarist and session musician Mike Slamer. Slamer's wife confirmed in 1998 that her husband played guitar on the record.Mike Slamer has stated in interviews that he played guitar and the lead solos on the album. Producer Beau Hill stated in a 2012 interview that Slamer did in fact play on the album. Beau had said to the band that the "songs are really great, but I think we’re a little weak in the solo department and so I like to bring somebody in". Beau also stated that "everybody in the band signed off on it and everything was done above ground". There were also rumors of the album being delayed due to Jani having a bit of a breakdown after walking in on his girlfriend and best friend in bed. ( Which lead to Jani writing the song "I Saw Red" from the "Cherry Pie" album )


Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich was released in 1989.The album was highly successful, spawning the hit singles "Heaven" (No. 2, 1989), "Down Boys" (No. 27, 1989) and "Sometimes She Cries" (No. 20, 1990).The album peaked at number 10 on the Billboard 200.The  cover art features "Fugazi", an overpaid, amoral infrastructure manager and archetypal business psychopath. "Fugazi" was also featured in the bands video for the song "Big Talk".

The band toured in support of DRFSR,  as openers for Aerosmith, Motley Crue, Poison, and Paul Stanley.


 Following the success of their debut album, Warrant headed right back into the studio with producer Beau Hill for the follow up album "Cherry Pie". The album was originally to be called "Uncle Tom's Cabin" but at the last minute the president of Columbia Records, Don Ienner, wanted a rock anthem, so he called frontman Jani Lane (according to Lane, he wanted a "Love in an Elevator" type song), who wrote the song  "Cherry Pie" in about fifteen minutes. The song was written down on a pizza box which is now on display in the Hard Rock Cafein Destin, Florida, part of the Destin Commons. The guitar solo was played by C.C. DeVille as a favor to Lane, who was a long-time friend. 

On VH1's HEAVY: The Story Of Metal episode 3: "Looks That Kill," Lane expressed his regret for writing the song, stating that "I could shoot myself in the fucking head for writing that song." However, he later clarified that he had been under personal stress at the time of the VH1 interview, and had no ill feelings towards his association with the song.

Can I clear the air on that? They [VH1 producers] just caught me on a bad day. It was a bad moment—I was going through a divorce, my mom had just passed away, all this stuff was going on—and they sit me down in a chair and wanna start grilling me with questions, and I didn't wanna be there, so ... You know, push that interview to the side, I'm happy as a clam to have written a song that is still being played and still dug by so many people. It's hard enough to write a song, let alone one that sticks around.

Cherry Pie was released on September 11, 1990 through Columbia Records. Like its predecessor, Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich, it was recorded at The Enterprise in Burbank, California. Once again Mike Slamer was joined by numerous other guest performers; the record also features contributions from Jani Lane's brother Erik Oswald, guitarist C. C. DeVille from Poison, guitarist and bassist Bruno Ravel and drummer Steve West from Danger Danger, and singer Fiona.The album carried a parental advisory sticker in the United States, due to the final track entitled "Ode to Tipper Gore", which consisted of a collection of swear words cut from the band's live performances. 

  Warrant - Live in Nakano Sun Plaza Hall, Tokyo 1991

Warrant hit the road in support of " Cherry Pie" with Firehouse and Trixter as the 

 opening acts. The tour was called " Blood, Sweat and Beers" Tour  

 "Cherry Pie" had four singles chart in the top 100 on Billboards and two in the top ten. The band released videos for the songs ( Cherry Pie , Uncle Toms Cabin , I Saw Red and Blind Faith) The album is the band's best-known and highest-selling release and peaked at number 7 on The Billboard 200. The album like it's predecessor DRFSR went double platinum. 


During the shooting of Warrant's "Cherry Pie" video, Jani met Bobbie Brown and the two were married on July 15, 1991.  A short time latter the two would have a child Taylar Jayne Lane.


Platinum records, hit singles, a beautiful wife and child ..........Then the era of Grunge hit Mtv and just like that all the bands that were celebrated for their excess were discarded for the gloom and misery of grunge music. Lane once said after seeing Alice In Chains posters go up on the office walls at Columbia Records: “Hello Seattle, goodbye Warrant.




Warrant began recording bass and drums for "Dog Eat Dog" in Los Angeles, California in February 1992. Overdubs were recorded at Morrisound Studios in Tampa, Florida, in March 1992. The record was mixed in at Scream Studios in Studio City, California in April 1992 with producer Michael Wagener. Apparently conscious of the widely circulated rumour that Joey Allen and Erik Turner had not played on the first two Warrant records, the band had Wagener include a statement in the liner notes that "no artist, except those listed, performed on this album in any capacity whatsoever".



"Dog Eat Dog" was released on August 25, 1992. The album peaked at number 25 on The Billboard 200. They released three videos for the songs ( Machine Gun , Bitter Pill - electric & Bitter Pill - acoustic) With only "MachineGun"being the only song to chart at #36.

The album achieved "gold" status in the United States, but was significantly less successful in a commercial sense than the band's first two albums. It is, nonetheless, regarded by most critics as Warrant's strongest record, and a favorite among many devoted fans. It is also the last album to feature all five original members.






                                 WARRANT - BITTER PILL



Dog Eat Dog is definitely darker, and heavier than the first two Warrant albums. This is still Warrant, not some 80s band trying poorly to mimic the sounds of the 90s grunge scene. The material is some of the most diverse of Warrant’s career, it is also probably their best. They kick off the album with the kick ass rockers “Machine Gun” and “The Hole in My Wall.” The next two tracks are a little more experimental “April 2031” is a tale of a bleak future, made all the more eerie with a children’s choir in its chorus. “Andy Warhol Was Right” is slow and melodic with orchestral accompaniment, featuring some of Jani's best songwriting. “Bonfire” goes back to the hard and heavy rock, while “The Bitter Pill” Is a great track that beautifully fuses the slow and melodic with the hard and heavy. “Hollywood (So Far So Good)” is a great pop rock song that likely would  have fit right in on one of their earlier releases. “All My Bridges are Burning” is a cool rocker that features some killer guitar riffs. “Quicksand” is another killer track. “Let it Rain” is possible the best ballad of their career.“Inside Out” is a straight up rocker, and bring  the album to a close is “Sad Theresa,” another rock anthem that was originally recorded by Jani's previous band Plain Jane.

               Warrant - Monsters Of Rock 1992, Reggio Emilia, Italy


Following their Dog Eat Dog world tour Lane temporarily left the band to start a solo career and the band was then dropped by Columbia. In September 1993, Lane returned to the band and a short U.S. club tour commenced. 1993 also saw Jani  get divorced from Bobbie Brown.

In May 1994, guitarist Joey Allen left Warrant and was followed by drummer Steven Sweet in the following month. In November 1994, former Kingdom Come member, Rick Steier replaced Allen on guitar and fellow Kingdom Come alumnus James Kottak replaced Sweet on drums. Shortly thereafter, a new record deal was signed with Tom Lipsky of CMC Records in September 1994.


Warrant began recording Ultraphobic in November 1994 with producer Beau Hill. The album was released in March 7, 1995 and, although critically acclaimed, was not as successful as its predecessors.The band supported the release of the record with a national tour beginning in Dallas, Texas.


             Ultraphobic Tour At The Iron Horse in MN 1995


A music video was made for the first single "Family Picnic" with a strong message against family violence and for the second single "Stronger Now", which Jani Lane refers to as the best song he has ever written.