Warrant is an American hard rock band from Hollywood, California, that experienced success from 1989–1996 with five albums reaching international sales of over 10 million. The band first came into the national spotlight with their Double Platinum debut album Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich, and one of its singles, "Heaven," reached No. 1 in Rolling Stone and No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The band continued its success in the early 1990s with the Double Platinum album Cherry Pie which provided the hit album titled song and music video.
Following the critically acclaimed Gold album Dog Eat Dog the band started to experience frequent changes to the line-up and despite the drop in popularity with the arrival of grunge, they released Ultraphobic in 1995 and a successful best of album in 1996. The band also changed their musical direction with the release of the grunge influenced Belly to Belly in 96, but returned to their roots very quickly by the end of the decade. The band experienced highs and lows in the 2000s with successful tours, a new covers album Under the Influence, lead singer Jani Lane leaving, a brand new Born Again album with new singer Jaime St. James and a brief reunion of the original line up. Into the new decade former lead singer and main song writer Jani Lane died.
After more than 20 years, the band is still recording music and performing, now with ex-Lynch Mob vocalist, Robert Mason.
Warrant's music has undergone significant evolution throughout the band's 20-year history. The style used during the 1980s and early 1990s, which is typical of many "Sunset strip" glam metal bands, remains the band's signature sound. During that period, the band was known for their heavy, melodic rock anthems and sentimental ballads.
Early years (1984–1987)
Warrant was formed in 1984 by guitarist Erik Turner who had previously been a member of KNIGHTMARE II. The first line up included vocalist Adam Shore, drummer Max Asher "Max Mazursky", guitarist Josh Lewis and bassist Chris Vincent who was quickly replaced with Jerry Dixon. The band gigged hard in California opening for the likes of Hurricane, Ted Nugent, Stryper and Black N' Blue among others. In September 1986 both Shore and Asher quit to create Hot Wheelz. Later that month Erik Turner was at a gig watching a band called Plain Jane who had become a regular feature in the L.A. club circuit and he was impressed by the band's songwriting and vocal performance, and invited lead singer Jani Lane and drummer Steven Sweet to jam with his band at Hollywood's db Sound in September 1986. Lane and Sweet along with guitarist Joey Allen (who replaced Lewis) completed the revamped line-up in 1987. The recruitment of Lane proved pivotal in the band's future, with the singer quickly assuming the role of song writer.
After achieving fame 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 also put in a showing on the movie soundtrack to Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Eventually it was announced that Columbia had snapped up the band. Lane immediately blew his advance on a black Corvette which he promptly crashed in true Rock n' Roll style. Warrant opened their 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.
Peak of popularity (1988–1993)
In January 1988 Warrant signed a contract with Columbia Records, and in April they began recording their debut album Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich. The album was released January 31, 1989 and was a significant success charting at number 10 on the Billboard 200. The album spawned 4 hit singles on the US charts: the No. 2 power ballad "Heaven", the No. 20 Power Ballad "Sometimes She Cries", the No. 27 rock anthem "Down Boys", which is now Warrant's alias, and "Big Talk", which reached No. 30. Image-wise, Warrant became a huge hit instantly and slotted right into the trend for big-haired, leather-wearing hard rock bands, and their music videos made much of their look. Allied to heavy touring with the likes of Poison, Mötley Crüe, Queensrÿche, Cinderella and Kingdom Come alongside huge MTV coverage.
The band was featured in Screamer Magazine several times before finally landing the cover of its June 1989 issue.
Warrant: Live – Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich which was the first Warrant video album was released in 1990 on VHS and Laserdisc, featuring the band performing live in concert. The video was certified Platinum
The band's momentum at this point carried them to further success with the much anticipated second album Cherry Pie in 1990. Once more produced by Beau Hill, the album's title track was released as the first single and immediately propelled itself to a top 10 placing in the American singles chart.
The album had tentatively been titled 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' after the original opening track. However, the label wanted an 'anthem' track, resulting in Lane coming up with 'Cherry Pie' and the track not only became the lead cut and the title track. The video for the song employed model actress Bobbie Brown, who Lane would later marry.
The album charted at No. 7 on The Billboard 200 and featured guest appearances by Poison's C. C. DeVille, Danger Danger's Bruno Ravel and Steve West, and Fiona. The album, which spawned the hit singles "Cherry Pie" (Featured in Guitar Hero II), "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (the acoustic intro was performed by Eric Oswald – Jani's brother), Blind Faith and "I Saw Red" which also reached the Top Ten in the United States, and the album went on to sell 3 million copies.
The release of "Cherry Pie" was followed by a world tour with Poison, which ended in January 1991 after a conflict between the two bands over stage room.
The band's European tour with David Lee Roth was cut short after Lane fractured several ribs in a stage dive in Birmingham, England. Warrant soon returned to touring, headlining shows in America on their 'Blood, Sweat And Beers' tour, supported by FireHouse and Trixter.
The band released their second video album Cherry Pie: Quality You Can Taste in 1991. The video features backstage interviews, concert clips including a preview of the band's next album and all the music videos from Cherry Pie.
In 1992, Warrant released their third album the critically acclaimed Dog Eat Dog. The record achieved only moderate commercial success compared with the first two albums, but still sold over 500,000 copies reaching Gold status and charting at No. 25 on the US charts. While the record suffered poor sales performance in America, it was still considered as Warrant's strongest record, and a favorite among many devoted fans. The band snared a European touring slot, playing a number of shows on the "Monsters Of Rock" festival, headlined by Iron Maiden. The album featured the singles Machine Gun, The Bitter Pill and The Hole in my Wall.
Warrant also cut two tracks for the 'Gladiator' movie in a cover version of Queen's anthem 'We Will Rock You' and 'The Power'.
Changing Times (1993–1999)
The 1990s were characterized by frequent changes to the band's line-up. 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, following the arrival of grunge and the death of Warrant's long-time manager Tom Hulet. In September 1993, Lane returned to the band and a short U.S. club tour commenced. In May 1994, guitarist Allen left Warrant and was followed by drummer Sweet in the following month. In November 1994, Rick Steier replaced Allen on guitar and James Kottak replaced Sweet on drums. Shortly thereafter, a new record deal was signed with Tom Lipsky of CMC Records in September 1994. A Japanese deal was signed with Pony Canyon Records at the same time.
The band's fourth album Ultraphobic was released in March 1995 and, although critically acclaimed, was not as successful as its predecessors. The new album,(produced by a returning Beau Hill) saw Warrant acknowledging the Grunge phenomenon with a record that openly admitted to a Seattle influence, although was still a natural progression from the hard edged 'Dog Eat Dog'. The album featured the singles Family Picnic, Followed and the ballad Stronger Now and the band went on tour again, touring America, Japan and Europe.
Drummer Kottak left the band in March 1996 and was replaced by Bobby Borg, formerly of Beggars & Thieves, Left For Dead, and Opinion. The Best Of Warrant was the band's first compilation album released in 1996 which was good timing and sold well, featuring all of the hits from previous albums.
Adopting the official handle of WARRANT 96 (in order to signify the group's new musical direction), the group came up with their fifth studio album, the Grunge infested Belly to Belly in October 1996. The record dispensed with the Melodic Rock niceties of previous works. The record was described by guitarist Steier as a "concept album" that follows a rags-to-riches-to-rags storyline concerning fame, fortune and the examination of one's value system once the spotlight fades. The album featured some of Lane's most compelling writing but also failed to reach the band's former commercial success.
Warrant released their first live compilation Warrant Live 86-97 in July 1997. It was recorded live at Harpos Concert Theatre, Detroit, Michigan on November 22, 1996. Warrant toured in 1997 opening for Alice Cooper in America alongside label mates Dokken and Slaughter.
In October 1997, drummer Borg left the band, and was briefly replaced by touring drummer Vikki Foxx. The band was featured on the Rock Never Stops Tour in 1998. In 1999 Warrant released Greatest & Latest album featuring new re-recorded versions of some their classic songs and three new tracks.
Lane leaves (2000–2007)
Guitarist Steier and keyboardist Danny Wagner who also performed drums left the band in January 2000. Keri Kelli replaced Steier on guitars as a touring member and Mike Fasano became the newest in a long line of drummers. Keri Kelli and Mike Fasano had previously played together in Dad's Porno Mag. In August 2000, Kelli left Warrant to tour with Slash's Snakepit and was replaced by Billy Morris.
Warrant's next record was an album of cover versions, Under the Influence, released in May 2001, also featuring two new original tracks: "Subhuman" and "Face". The band toured with Poison again in the summer of 2001, but the tour was cut short due to back injuries sustained by Poison bassist Bobby Dall.
Lane released his official debut solo album, Back Down to One, in 2002 through Z Records. It carried a "power pop" sound which was more closely aligned with the sound of Warrant than his unreleased Jabberwocky project. Shortly after the album's release Lane was admitted to a rehab center for alcohol and drug-related exhaustion.
The band again featured on the Rock Never Stops Tour in 2003 and in April 2003, Warrant replaced drummer Fasano with Kevan Phares.
Following rehab and nearly two years of arguments and disagreements with Warrant band members, Lane officially quit Warrant in January 2004, taking Morris and Phares with him. After a few acting roles and appearances on tribute compilations, Lane attempted to restart his own version of Warrant which would be stopped by legal action from his former band mates.
Mike Fasano was briefly rehired in early 2004, before Steven Sweet rejoined the band. Joey Allen also rejoined in February 2004 and Lane was replaced with former Black N' Blue vocalist Jaime St. James.
Warrant released their 7th studio album entitled Born Again on February 4, 2006 with producer and engineer Pat Regan, who has previously worked with Ace Frehley, Deep Purple, Mr. Big and L.A. Guns. Music Videos were shot for all the songs on Born Again including the singles "Bourban County Line" and "Dirty Jack", they appear on the DVD "Born Again: Delvis Video Diaries" along with behind the scenes footage, on tour clips and the making of the album. This was the first album to not feature Lane on lead vocals. On July 14, 2007, Warrant performed at the hard rock festival Rocklahoma.
During this time Lane became part of a new group Saints of the Underground, a hard rock supergroup composed of Keri Kelli (Alice Cooper, ex-Warrant, ex-Ratt), Robbie Crane (Ratt) Bobby Blotzer (Ratt) and Lane as lead singer. The debut album Love the Sin, Hate the Sinner was released in 2008.
In January 2008, the band's agent, The William Morris Agency issued a new photograph of the band with Lane prominently featured, confirming his return to the band. This version of the band was scheduled to play at Rocklahoma 2008. In March 2008, Warrant announced on its official website that it would co-headline with Cinderella on a summer tour after Rocklahoma 2008. Ultimately, the tour was canceled after Cinderella singer Tom Keifer's left vocal cord hemorrhaged, making it impossible for him to sing in the immediate future. They had several shows outside of the Cinderella tour including 2 dates in Canada, Rocklahoma, and several in August.
On September 5, 2008, Jani Lane left Warrant and Robert Mason (ex-Lynch Mob) took over vocals. A statement from the band, published by Blabbermouth.net, said that:
On September 10, Rita Wild's Rock Report confirmed that Jani Lane is out of Warrant due to song writing disagreements, but offered no further details on replacements or the band's future. Mason eventually agreed not only to finish the tour but also to become a permanent member of the band.
A compilation reunion DVD was released late 2008 titled They Came From Hollywood.
Recent events (2010–present)
In December 2010, founding member, Erik Turner appeared with longtime friend David Castagno on RadioScreamer to discuss Warrant's long and successful career as well as the band's next album plans.
On January 27, 2011, Joey Allen announced that the bass and drums for fourteen songs for Warrant's next album had been completed, with the rhythm guitar parts for seven also completed.
The release of the new album, titled Rockaholic, on May 13, 2011 in Europe and May 17, 2011 in North America was confirmed by Frontiers Records. It subsequently peaked at number 22 on the Billboard Top Hard Rock Albums chart. The album features two new music videos for the singles: "Life's a Song" and "Home".
Death of Jani Lane (2011)
On Thursday evening, August 11, 2011, it was announced by the Los Angeles Police Department, that Jani Lane, 47, former lead singer (1986––2004, 2008), had been found dead. It was confirmed that Lane was officially pronounced dead by fire department personnel who responded to a call shortly before 5:30 p.m. at a Comfort Inn hotel on the 20100 block of Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills, California. Lane died of acute alcohol poisoning.
A public memorial concert for the late Jani Lane – with performances by fellow metal rock bands, including Great White, Slammin' Gladys, Quiet Riot and L.A. Guns — was held on Monday, August 29, 2011 at the Key Club in Hollywood, California.
- D.R.F.S.R. Tour
- Cherry Pie Tour
- Blood, Sweat & Beers Tour
- Dog Eat Dog Tour (Hair of the Dog Tour)
- 1994 Club Tour
- 1995 Radio or Not, Here We Come (Ultraphobic)
- Rock Never Stops Tour 1998
- 2001 Under the Influence Summer tour
- 2002 Metal Edge Rockfest Tour
- Rock Never Stops Tour 2003
- 2007 Born Again Tour
- 2008 Reunion Tour
- 2009 Summer Tour
- 2011 Rockaholic Tour
- Current members
- Erik Turner – rhythm and lead guitars, acoustic guitar, harmonica, backing vocals (1984–present)
- Jerry Dixon – bass guitar, backing vocals (1984–present)
- Steven Sweet – drums, percussion, backing vocals (1986–1994, 2004–present)
- Joey Allen – lead and rhythm guitars, acoustic guitar, banjo, harmonica, backing vocals (1987–1994, 2004–present)
- Robert Mason – lead vocals, guitar (2008–present)
- Former members
- Touring musicians
- Scott Warren – keyboards, harmonica, backing vocals (1989–1991)
- Terry Ingram – keyboards, backing vocals (1991)
- Danny Wagner – keyboards, backing vocals (1995–1998)
- Shawn Zavodney – keyboards, backing vocals (2001–2004)
- Dan Conway – drums, percussion, backing vocals (2006)
- Michael Foster – drums, percussion, backing vocals (December 2012–February 2013)
- Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich (1989, Columbia) – No. 10, 2x Platinum
- Cherry Pie (1990, Columbia) – No. 7, 2x Platinum
- Dog Eat Dog (1992, Columbia) – No. 25, Gold
- Ultraphobic (1995, CMC)
- Belly to Belly (1996, CMC)
- Greatest & Latest (1999, Deadline) (new versions of previous Warrant songs)
- Under the Influence (2001, Downboyrecords)
- Born Again (2006)
- Rockaholic (2011) – No. 22 Billboard Hard Rock
- Warrant Live 86–97 (1997, CMC)
- The Best of Warrant (1996, Columbia)
- Rocking Tall (1996, Sony Music Special Products)
- Then and Now (2004, Sanctuary)
- Official website
- Warrant official MySpace site
- Classic Warrant videos on Sony BMG MusicBox
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Image from Discogs