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On Jani Lane and Glam

When the news of Jani Lane's death hit the Internet - and thus the world - Thursday evening, I was both sad and troubled. I did what I do: I immediately opened my laptop and updated this site with the news and then replicated the story for Noisecreep. Then I texted a few friends, posted on Facebook and Twitter and just generally felt sad.

Turns out I was still sad - very sad - come Friday morning. I didn't know Jani. We'd met one time, but I'd seen him perform often. I am just a big fan and his loss is a blow. Then it sort of hit me: Thursday's loss just isn't about Jani. No, it's more about Glam Metal in general.

Since the early 1980s, fans of Glam have been vehemently defending their musical heroes to so-called critics and other "true" metal fans. That sort of defense becomes ingrained: anymore, you just do it and don't think twice. So, for years when anyone mocked the song "Cherry Pie" I always had a knee jerk defense response. I have responses for all sorts of Glam bands. It is what I do. It is what you do. We're fans.

The loss of Jani, best known as the original singer and main songwriter for Warrant, is more about the bigger picture. Yes, we lost another musician we all admire far too soon, but what does that say about us? Are we all living in the past, by taking up for Jani (and Kevin DuBrow and Steve Clark and on and on and on) or does such a loss represent more? After all, we grew up with these musicians. Had posters of them on our walls. Danced to their music. Saw them in concert and got excited when they won awards and became infuriated when they were dealt personal blows.

The matter of the way Jani died is of little consequence to me. It really isn't any of my business. I'm more interested in keeping his memory alive through his music. He was a brilliant songwriter and yes, he was so much more than just "Cherry Pie."

I think it would be hard to be an aging rock star. After all, everyone can't rise to the level of fame shared by Bono or Steven Tyler or Mick Jagger. Of course, they have their demons too but when they pass, the event will be considered near cataclysmic, just like Michael Jackson died. I guarantee Rolling Stone, CNN and Vanity Fair all have obits ready for Mick Jagger just in case. There will be breaking news banners, cover stories, days of mourning. This isn't going to happen for Jani and he probably always knew that. I mean he was "just" a Glam Metal singer, right?

I think what Jani (and Dubrow and Clark and on and on) didn't realize was the massive impact they had on their fans. The sort of bond someone forges right at the beginning of a band's career is a very hard thing to break for the true fan. I know some of you were there for Warrant's first tour. You went on that ride to success with them and you'll never forget. Back then you were in high school, skipping class and rolling down the highway, spraying your hair high and rocking out to "Big Talk." These days you might be a lawyer, financial analyst or teacher... but you're still clicking to "Big Talk" on your iPod. Will today's artists have that sort of magic, that sort of staying power? Some might, but the chosen class will be far fewer than what we've been blessed with over the years.

I'm pleased with the amount of positive comments from fellow musicians remembering Jani. For whatever reason, Jani was a tortured soul with too much talent and not enough self-confidence. Such is the case with most fallen rock stars.

 Me and Heather with Jani Lane at Rocklahoma 2007

Reader Comments (17)

Well said. I feel like a part of my youth died in that Comfort Inn with Jani & a little selfish when I think about some of the great tunes that I will miss out on in the coming years. Again, R.I.P.
August 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGEO II
He was a great story-teller. Something about his writing came out like a book and the music behind it was killer. A true loss.
August 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTom W
There is no need to compare Lane to Jagger (or Bono, for that matter).

On the one hand, Lane and Warrant never had the impact--in terms of reaching across genres and capturing fans along the edges of different genres--that Jagger and the Stones had in their heyday. They were never able, to reach a bit closer for comparisons, to achieve the sort of success that AC/DC, Def Lep, or even Motley Crue had. Why? I am sure there are many reasons.

On the other hand, Lane's fans--I count you as a passionate one who wrote a well thought out tribute--continue to measure his impact and relive his importance. Musicians, regardless the genre, that can do that, even the ones that aren't among the very best or best known, hold a place in the hearts of their fans. That should be enough.

I was never a fan of Warrant. But I can understand the reactions. The respect you show his memory is respect that transcends the particulars of his life. Thanks for the heartfelt note.
August 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGood enough
I have a been a huge fan of Warrant and Jani's since 1989. I saw Warrant open up for Motley Crue that year and Warrant was incredible live. Jani Lane was one of the best frontmen from any era. Over the years, I saw Jani slowly dying from alcohol abuse from afar. When grunge hit and it supposedly wasn't cool to listen to Warrant anymore it was obvious that this impacted Jani much more than it did most other bands from that era. The thing that makes me angry about Jani's situation is the way his bandmates didn't have his back. Hell, Def Leppard waited for Rick Allen to play drums with one arm. Why couldn't Warrant support Jani with his rehabs?! I am thinking Jani would be alive today. He had thousands upon thousands of fans around the world, but still died a lonely man. Jani will be missed and his music will live on forever! I can't wait to hear his last project "Jabberwocky".
August 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterricksav65
I thought the same thing ricksav65...about Warrant, the band, not helping him out...BUT...they did give him several opportunities. After listening to Warrant's newest CD, Rockaholic, several times, I noticed that several songs were targetted toward jani as being a virus and that they were totally done with him...My guess is that the band, Warrant, should feel like shit now for trashing Jani on this new CD. Afterall, they rocked together for yrs and made some everlasting tunes for our genre.
I understand that bands on tour right now, including Warrant, are giving tribute to Jani.
August 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbrian L
Here we are some 30 hours after news broke of Jani's passing and its still all so.....SAD and just overall weird! Personally, as soon as I read and saw it was confirmed I felt like someone punched me in the stomach, just went numb for a few minutes. Then I got angry fast b/c I always thought Lane would be able to turn it around and get back to what he does best in life writing and singing. That M3 performance (in 2009) proved that when sober, he can take on the world,just so much talent in his blood, ya know?
No, I didn't know him personally and no, I wouldn't consider myself a die-hard warrant/jani fan but I had a lot of respect for jani and wanted to be in his corner, just optimistic that he would get it together. I was so excited to read on his website not to long ago that he was anxious to get back and he was writing again....I was so excited to hear what he had to say when I found out he was going to be on TMS. He had a lot more talent in his veins than some other 80s artis we grew up with and that are still kicking it...Its all so very sad that Jani couldn't see the positive aspect in life enough to overcome his battles. I pray for those close to him and esp for his children.

Did anyone read Baz' memorial statement? It was quite moving, gotta be honest. A real perspective that many of us don't realize b/c we only see one side of the fame.

I read last night that there is a public memorial service planned for 8/24. I guess details will unfold sometime soon.
August 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkari
This just in as of this AM....the episode of TMS with Jani has been moved up to AIR on 8/27 (not 10/1).
August 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkari
I remember listening to the entire Cherry Pie album so much that I wore my tape out. I'm thankful I got to see Warrant live back in the day (7th row center and I still have the confetti that they shot off the stage at the end of the show!). Jani was a great front man and an incredible song writer. As I sit here watching Warrant videos on Metal Mania on VH1 Classic, tears fill my eyes. He will be missed by more people than he would have ever expected.
August 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristine Sixx
great post and a sad day for rock, about warrant not being there for him is not totally true they tried as stated above and like any human people give up it happens everywhere its just that hes a rockstar whios died and gets magnified, im sure warrant wasnt thinkin they would wake up to hear jani had died and im sure they probably feel like hell but everybody knows you cant help someone till there ready to help themselves i know from my own personel experiences with a friend and a family member.
August 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterglamrockerarchie
Far From a Tragedy…Just Sad

Jani Lane passed away last night. The metal community lost another one. Mixed emotions run through my head this morning. Jani (as referenced by Chris Jericho) was a great songwriter. The hits go on and on and on. If “Cherry Pie” was written in 15 minutes, it further proves his ability to write. It is a testament to him and his talent. He wrote an enduring song in fifteen minutes. Amazing!

I was not Jani’s friend, acquaintance, or drinking buddy. However, I am lucky enough to enjoyed more than one drink with him at the HiFi Club in Lakewood, Ohio through the years. We never spoke of Warrant or his writing. We talked sports. I vividly remember the night of the Tom Brady “tuck rule” game. Jani was in the HiFi. He was polite to everyone, signing napkins, and posing for pictures. We had a table in a good location to watch the game. Jani asked for our extra stool, sat and watched the last of the 3rd and 4th quarters with us. He was just a guy like us.

I love Robert Mason. I love Jamie St. James. They are not Jani Lane. Singers, generally, define the sound of a band. The successful replacement singers are far outnumbered by those who were unsuccessful replacements. I was an unabashed fan of Warrant. America is very aware of DRFSR and Cherry Pie. However, Dog Eat Dog and Belly to Belly are very good as well. Jani & I agreed on one thing, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is far and away the best Warrant song. It will never sound the same again, as a part of my early life soundtrack died yesterday.

It’s not a tragedy when you see this coming, its just sad…

and now, I'm sad.
August 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersmknotsmf
wrote this Friday morning, just posted today
August 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersmknotsmf
This is why i love this site . i was at work when i heard the news.said to myself Allyson will have the news and all my meatalheads will speak on it. Like i said last night DAMN DAMN DAMN
August 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertommydahl
They just kicked off Metalmania with "Heaven". Maybe the thing isn't programmed by Robots after all. Or the robots have hearts after all.

The film doesn't lie. Even with all the glossy production, the heart, soul and guts of Lane always showed through.

p.s. I met him, had beers with him and Eric Turner (cuz I was dating Turner's cousin at the time) after a performance at Limelight (Britny Fox opened). It was the third time I saw them and right after "Cherry Pie" came out. I remember what a nice guy he was but shy and distant, actually.

He was also had a black eye that concerned me and was probably the same one from that vid and the awards show performance (can't remember which ones on both counts but my ex-lead guitarist has the latter on videocassette).

The other two times I saw 'em was at Hammerjack's in Baltimore. The first time, they opened for Kingdom Come. After their sets Jani and members of Warrant, Kingdom Come, Danger Danger and Kix jammed for nearly an hour, playin' stuff like "Rock And Roll" by
Zeppelin. My gang and I watched the whole thing and I remember Jason Bonham and Fred Coury rushin' up front to watch.

Looking back on that night, I now realize those were the salad days of Hair Metal, the REAL resurgence of Rock'n'Roll that most of the critics, Rock Cognicenti and intellectuals missed.

And there was Jani Lane presiding over probably one of the biggest Rock'n'Roll moments of that time, completely under the radar except for all those present that night, singin' his heart out, havin' the time of his life makin' everyone else havin' the time of their lives! Jani, why didn't you remember and let at least one of us return the favor?

What a singer. What a songwriter. What a performer. What a shame.

God Bless and Godspeed, Jani! We pray for you and your family, especially your kids. Your music will live on forever!
August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
BTW, loved Brian L.'s anecdote in his earlier comments on Al's first post. And, I agree with Scott Whitt's earlier comment on there as well.

Jani, no one could touch you. If only you realized it yourself.
August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
I feel this is one of the best tributes I have read. I did not know Jani, but sure loved the music, and really enjoyed seeing them in concert several years ago. I had to laugh at the part about being a lawyer, financial analyst, etc. I'm a pediatric surgeon and frequently have the hair metal on when I'm operating, much to the chagrin of the people I work with. My family is adopting a shelter dog, and the name they gave her was Sweet Baby Jane, so I suggested to my wife after the news of Jani's death that we should name her Jani. Since my wife is pretty cool, and also a hair metal fan, she readily agreed. I hope Jani Lane's family is able to make it through these difficult times and realize how many people his music impacted, even if he could not.
August 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteroper8n
Still can't believe Jani is gone. I got a call from my old concert buddy that Jani had died. We had seen Warrant many times together. One thing that really made me like Jani was his appreciation for the fans. He used to announce on stage where they would be going after the show. Anyone else remember that? What other band does that?

It was always the highlight of our concert experience when going to see Warrant. I had a huge crush on Jani (who didn't back then?). I will NEVER forget how kind he always was to me. I'm sure it was quite obvious to him that I wasn't the groupie type, just a fan of his music. I remember one night, after they had opened for motley, we went to the bar they had mentioned, and he was surrounded by all of these beautiful girls, I on the other hand was in my last year of college and had worked all day and had just enough time to get back to my dorm room and put on some less than sexy outfit to drive the three hours with my friends to get to the show. My friend kept telling me to walk over to Jani and say hi, maybe get a picture. I just couldn't do it, so finally we decided to go outside for some fresh air. This was after Jani had hopped up on stage and jammed out with the local band. It was one of those times that you can't believe you were there and wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world. Anyway, I guess Jani had the same idea to go outside, so we are standing out in the parking lot, just the two of us, and Jani and Jerry walk out.

I have no doubt I looked like some lost little Sunday School girl in my jeans and t-shirt, eyes wide as saucers, looking down at my feet. Luckily for me my friend shoved me towards Jani and I had no choice but to speak! Oh my God...I can't believe the feelings this is bringing back for me, just writing I practically come crashing into Jani and he just laughed and kind of steadied me. Meanwhile my friend starts talking to Jerry. I start telling Jani how much I enjoyed the show, how much I loved the album, blah, blah, blah...typical fan girl stuff. But the whole time he treated me like I was important. He maintained eye contact with me and never acted like he was in a rush or wanted to get back to all those half dressed girls inside the bar. Finally my friend came over and ask if she could get a picture of Jani and me. He didn't hesitate a moment to put his arm around me and pull me in close to him for the shot. Afterwards I thanked him and he said no, thank you guys for coming out and supporting us. What was probably nothing to him meant so much to me.

We saw Jani and the band several more times after that for the next year or two. And every time, he never failed to say where he was going for drinks after the show. And we'd always go and just hang out. It was like he was just another guy and the whole rock star thing was kind of seperate.

And then a lot of time passed, Warrant and the rest of the bands from that era faded. We all grew up, got married and had children. And then in the late nineties I read in our local paper that Jani was going to be appearing at a little bar in my town. I begged a friend to go with me, we blew the suburbs off that night and went to a part of town that normally neither of us would have stepped foot in. Jani was, to me, amazing as usual that night, though I have to admit I was viewing him through the eyes of a twenty-two year old. But amazing none the less.

After the show Jani walked around in the crowd and greeted people. I walked over to him and told him how happy I was to see him out touring again. And as he had done almost ten years earlier, he thanked us for being there. I'm sure he had no idea how much he and his music had meant to me and certainly no memory of the night I met him many years before.

The next time I saw Jani, he was on Celebrity Fit Club. I could not believe it was him...time, alcohol, the disappointments of life and career had changed him. My heart broke for him as I watched each week. But for me, he would forever be that sweet, young, good looking rocker that had given a silly young girl a memory she would never forget.

Many years later, around 2007 or 2008 I guess, my family and I were on vacation and I saw that Jani was going to be at the House of Blues nearby. I was tempted to go, but didn't want to leave the family and none of them cared to go. To this day I regret not going, and after word of Jani's death, I regret it even more. I never got to see him again.

But Warrant, the orginal Warrant, and Jani will always hold a special place in my heart. His songs are on my ipod,and I don't care who makes fun or rolls their eyes about it.

In addition to his amazing song writing skills, he was a showman, a true "song and dance man" if you will. He was one of a kind in a world that seemed to be looking for something that he wasn't. But he tried so hard. Listen to Belly to Belly. To me, that was Jani's attempt to move his music in the direction that the record companies and unfortunately the fans, were moving. And the entire album is great, yet because it had Warrants name on it it was overlooked.

And so today, almost a week after hearing of Jani's passing, I still feel sad. So sad. Like a huge part of my youth has gone with him. And sad that I'm not so sure he ever really knew just how much he and his music meant to so many people. And sad that, as the orginal post up there states, his death was but a blip in the media. The coverage that MJ got, that other musicans received, and yet again, Jani was overlooked. I don't get it and I never will. But for me, Jani and his music will never be forgotten. He will always be that wild, funny, cute, talented young rocker who's posters covered my walls oh so many years ago.

I pray that Jani finds the peace that he never found here on earth. And that God comfort his precious children. Godspeed, Jani.
August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSometimesWeCry
I really enjoyed this tribute to Jani. Summed up my feelings as well. We lose our rock heroes too soon.
September 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Sexy Armpit

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