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Friday, August 12, 2011

R.I.P. Jani Lane, Warrant Singer and Hair Metal Icon

Posted By on Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 8:36 AM

jani_lane.jpg

Jani Lane, the lead singer and songwriter for the hair metal band Warrant, probably best known for the hit "Cherry Pie," was found dead in a Los Angeles hotel room last night. He was 47.

Firefighters responded to a 911 call at a Woodland Hills Comfort Inn, and declared Lane dead a short while later. The cause of death is unknown.

Ben Westhoff, the music editor at our sister paper in L.A., penned a pretty thorough obit of Lane:

Though they arrived late on the hair metal scene, Warrant was one of the most popular groups of the era, breaking through with their 1989 debut, Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich. The album sold two million copies and had a seemingly endless string of radio hits, including "Down Boys" and the power ballads "Sometimes She Cries" and "Heaven." The group became best known, however, for their sophomore work Cherry Pie, which also went double platinum. Its lead, eponymous single famously featured model Bobbie Brown being hosed down by the group, dressed as firemen. Brown and Lane later wed, and had a daughter together before divorcing not long after.

Born and raised in northeastern Ohio, Lane met band mate Steven Sweet in Florida, and the pair moved to Los Angeles in the mid-'80s, joining Warrant -- which was founded by guitarist Erik Turner -- shortly thereafter. Lane was workmanlike in his approach, possessing neither spectacular pipes nor profound songwriting abilities. "One day I was sitting around thinking I want to write a song about ménage a trios...and the line 'love in stereo' came into my head," he once told Hit Parader magazine. "Inspiration can happen anywhere at any time."

But that hair. In an era that valued both highly misogynist lyrics and the sartorial approach of a streetwalker, Lane was capable of pulling off both, with a lithe figure, impressive locks, and an androgynous stage name. (Born February 1, 1964, shortly after the death of JFK, his given name was John Kennedy Oswald.) ...

Read the rest of Westhoff's piece here.

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Ian S. Port

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