No, not a joke.. Just a short break from my usual Blogging with Ro, S&B style for a moment.
I’m 40 years old. I grew up in NJ and fell in love with rock n’ roll, heavy metal and in particular, hair metal bands. I have loved Posion, Def Leopard, Whitesnake, Ratt, Slaughter, Great White, Skid Row, Bon Jovi, Extreme and many more but none captured my heart like Warrant did.
Warrant grabbed me in a way the others just didn’t. Not sure why, but I fell hard for them. I feel head over heels for their frontman, Jani Lane. He had long blond hair, big blue, gorgeous eyes and a voice made of magic. I’m sure the first song I heard was Heaven. The power ballad.
I’ve got a picture of your house
and you’re standing by the door.
It’s black and white and faded,
it’s looking pretty worn.
See the factory that i worked
silhouetted in the back.
Memories are grey, but man they’re really coming back.
The first time I saw Warrant live was when they opened for Motley Crue in Philly back in 1989. They were amazing and blew me away. I was so hooked on this band! I saw them as much as possible after that one night. I listened to my Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinkin’ Rich tape until I wore it out. It was impossible to get into my car without listening to Down Boys, Heaven, In the Sticks or 32 Pennies.
I planned a trip to Florida to visit my cousin, Tobi with my friend, Christine. We drove down in my cute CRX. The morning after we arrived we went down to the beach in Ft. Lauderdale to get some sun. It was February and right around Valentine’s day. We happened to look behind us at the strip and noticed Warrant was playing this really small, tiny mind you, venue. They also happened to be sold out. I can’t tell you how bummed we were that we missed out on such an awesome opportunity to see them in a place that only held 500 people. Anyway, we went back to my cousins’ house and told her about the band, venue and whatnot. Tobi told me to grab the tape from the car with the liner notes. I brought it in to her and she had a fantastic idea which was kinda a scam of sorts. I can’t give you all the info on how we pulled it off.. hehe… We called the publicist and arranged an interview & press/photo pass for the show. Unfortunately, I was left without a ticket to get in. So, we had to work some more details out. Christine interviewed Joey Allen and Jerry Dixon over the phone, I believe the day of the concert.
Anyway, I bet you’re all wondering how, I, the curly Ro made it into the show…
A few other friends from Jersey happened to travel down to Florida at the same time as we did. They were Lance, Shawn and Rob.. Cool guys, hung out with them a bunch at The Fastlane, and I apologize for getting off topic.. We all met up at this club, in which I cannot for the LIFE of me remember its name… It was Valentine’s Day and as it turned out, Risque (now referred to as Slammin’ Gladys) was playing. We had no idea they were the opening act for Warrant on this mini East Coast tour. The club was doing a Warrant Ticket give away that night. 3 sets of 2 tickets…. Can I just tell you all my little group of 5 people won 2 sets of those 3 sets of tickets?? OMG! Holy shit, it was meant to be! To travel from NJ to Florida just for a quick, off the cuff vacation, meet up with some friends and all get to go to the show… PLUS a meet and greet! SQUEEEEEEE!!! Can I just say that I was BEYOND, beyond excited?
Christine did her, hehe, interview hehe and we went to the club for the meet and greet. There we realized that e saw the opening band the night before & they were really good friends with the guys in Warrant, in particular, Jani. Finally, after quite some time admiring him from afar, I got to meet Jani! It was amazing to be able to be close to him, see those bright blue eyes up close, touch his hair and just be close to him. He made my heart skip a beat. My palms were sweaty and I thought I would die on the spot! I was unsure what to say (first time meeting someone famous) and was blown away by his kindness toward everyone and his patience with fans like me who became tongue-tied like me. He even signed a drum snare I had brought with me. I actually have it somewhere at my parents.. The whole band signed it.
Seeing them play and in particular see Jani sing in such a small venue really cemented my love for him and the band. They had fun with playing and entertaining us. They sounded tight, Jani’s voice was spot on and they were a powerful unit of brothers at that stage in their career.
We found out after the show everyone was heading to The Button South in Miami for an after-show party. Of course we went. I think somehow we fangled our way in to the list. But however it was, we got there and had a blast. Skid Row was there, playing pool after a long day of recording their second album, Slave to the Grind. We chatted with them, along with Lance, Shawn and Rob and then went off on our own to meet the band again and we had a little flirting with a couple of guys from Risque.
Needless to say, we had a blast. We met the band, we had a huge adventure and kicked off a huge time in my life and Christine’s that may never have been if we didn’t have that amazing experience in Florida.
We wound up traveling back to NJ with our friends and wound up seeing the band at Maguire Airforce Base (don’t ask, we scammed our way on tho the base. hehe). They played an amazing concert for the troops heading off to Desert Storm. It was such a fantastic thing for them to do. The concert was free and there were like 300 people there. That was the first time we saw Jani with Bobbie Brown and gosh, were they a gorgeous couple! (Yes, I had a pang of jealousy but she was so nice!)
Then our time with Warrant & Risque ended with a show at The Limelight in Manhattan. We were put on the list by Dave and Steven from Risque and were supposed to have VIP passes to the off-limits area. The guy at that door wouldn’t let us in and most likely didn’t believe us that we were ok to go back. So, off the cuff I decided I’d give him my purse and made a deal that I’d find Steve and bring him back to ok us being back there. He agreed and I disappeared into the back area. I found my drummer friend (with a chick on his lap and when he saw me, he stood up, chick fell off his lap and he took off with me with the girl was still on the floor. LOL) and he went with me to get Christine. He brought us back and we hung out with our new friends and rock stars. We had such a freaking blast!!
We became friendly obviously with the guys from Risque and the roadies from Warrant. While yes, I’d love to tell you all I hung out with Jani and he was awesome, I can’t. Bobbie was there (Yes, the Cherry Pie girl) and they were all busy with their friends, which was ok. Christine and I were having an amazing time at a concert with amazing people! Who would have thought 2 weeks ago when we were on our way to Florida we’d end up 2 weeks later at the Limelight, backstage and VIPs?
The show was amazing and if you had never made it to The Limelight, it was an old church converted into a club. Everything was still quite church-like inside, missing the pews and containg a stage where the pulpit would have been. There were 2-3 stories to the club, too all looking down at the first floor and the stage. The place was incredible & everyone had a view of the band while they played. We stayed until the very end, watching Warrant play with the members of Risque. After the show we said good night to our new friends, the roadies from Warrant & to Warrant themselves, then we were on our way out on to the dark streets of Manhattan.
It was around 3am when we got outside that we found out my car had been towed! We were SCREWED! We were unsure what to do and walked around a bit, trying to figure things out. We got lucky because 2 undercover cops, in a taxi, saw us & asked us some questions. We told them what happened and there was no way for us to come up with the $325 it would cost for us to get our car back (my cute CRX) and we’d have to wait until the morning when we could get to the bank. They asked us if we had someplace to go and we remembered the guys from Risque told us where they were staying. The cops took us to their hotel, I believe they were staying at the Milford Plaza with all the road crew. We arrived inside the hotel at the same time as Risque & Warrant’s road crew. They knew us and the cops felt ok leaving us. We told them what happened and the guys from Risque, namely Steve and Dave tried to get us some money. But, they couldn’t get money from the front desk (this was before ATMs) and now we were stuck. So… They put us up for the night and told us in the am if we couldn’t get our car back, to come back to them and the Warrant road crew would drop us off at home in Jersey. LOL This was right before Warrant was traveling to Japan for the beginning of the Cherry Pie tour. Luckily, we got the $$ from the bank and got my car back.
**** All pictures were taken by Tobi Bruner, except for the very first band picture.****
Our adventure was CRAZY FUN and such an imprinted memory on my heart. I saw Warrant several other times after, met them a couple of other times and again Jani was gracious and so nice. I never had another adventure with them or much time to really spend with them, Jani in particular my love for him never wavered. He was the long hair of my dreams and I was always on the hunt for my own Jani Lane.
Fast forward 20 years later, Warrant still had a place in my heart and Jani Lane still owned a big chunk of it. In recent years I had hoped to see him live again and tell him in person, thank you for being an amazing human and writing songs that still touch my heart and bring me fantastic memories, but now it looks as if I will never have that chance. But, I had emailed with him a few times about 3 or 4 years ago on Myspace. He was so nice and kind-hearted in the emails, I wish I had kept them. I never in my heart thought he’d actually die. I knew there was a possibility in my head but my heart couldn’t go there.
This past week broke my heart in a very profund way. My 19 year old, whole life in front of me, heart was broken last Friday morning. I was suddenly brought back to my teenage feelings for a man I’ve met only a few times and had dreamt about many, many times since I first saw his picture and heard his magical voice. No matter how many times I listen to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Bed of Roses, I Saw Red, Mr. Rainmaker, Bitter pill, Stronger Now and so many others, I am transported back in time to a time where we were all young, having fun, fresh faced and amazing futures ahead of us. Jani was more than the “Cherry Pie Guy,” he was a dad, brother, son and friend who happened to write one of the catchiest songs ever written. No matter what, most everyone knows that song… and it was written off the cuff in 15 minutes. Jani was amazing and I will miss his presence in this world. He was my “perfect” yet, flawed long hair.
Jani Lane passed away on August 11, 2011. He was 47 years young, had crazy demons in his life, an awful addiction and just wanted to be loved like everyone else. He leaves behind 2 daughters, his family and dear friends. He will be missed by so many in the industry and by his true and loyal fans.
Jani was a hugely talented and hugely underrated musician, songwriter and singer. He wrote hundreds of songs, helped out many fledgling bands and was kind to his fans. He deserved better than what he experienced in recent years. I hope he’s found the peace he’d been looking for. I hope his spirit is free to soar and that he finally found that Heaven is not too far away.
Heaven isnt too far away
Closer to it everyday
And no matter what your friends might say
We’ll find our way
Now the lights are going out,
along the boulevard
Memories come rushing back and makes it pretty hard
I’ve got nowhere left to go
And no one really cares
I don’t know what to do
But im never giving up on you.
RIP Jani Lane, you have been loved by not only me but thousands of fans along the way. Your music and memory will live thru us and your family left behind. Sing with the angels and know your legacy will live on.
Here’s to The Song and Dance Man: