Warrant is an American glam metal band from Hollywood, California that experienced success in the late 1980s and early 1990s with two multi-platinum albums. The band first came into the national spotlight with their debut album Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich, and one of its singles, "Heaven," reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
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 Los Angeles by guitarist Erik Turner in July 1984. Turner was soon joined by bassist Jerry Dixon. Warrant had a bassist named Chris Vincent before Dixon joined. Prior to his involvement with Warrant, Vincent played with a local band called SilverPants. The band's early members included vocalist Adam Shore, guitarist Josh Lewis, and drummer Max Asher. Vocalist Jani Lane (who replaced Shore) and drummer Steven "Sweet" Chamberlin (who replaced Asher) joined the band in September 1986, and guitarist Joey Allen (who replaced Lewis) completed the line-up in March 1987. Lane and Sweet were previously in the band Plain Jane, which had recorded several demos. The recruitment of Lane proved pivotal in the band's future, with the singer quickly assuming the role of song writer.
After gaining notoriety 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. At this time, A&M records purchased an option to sign Warrant and invited the band to contribute a song for the soundtrack of the motion picture Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Both deals would prove unsuccessful, with the band's contribution "Game of War" being pulled from the soundtrack and A&M allowing its option to lapse.
Peak of popularity (1988–1992)
In January 1988 Warrant signed a contract with Columbia Records, and in April they began recording their debut album Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich. It was a significant success, spawning 3 hits: the #2 power ballads "Heaven" and "Sometimes She Cries", and the rock anthem "Down Boys", which is now Warrant's alias. Image-wise, Warrant slotted right into the trend for big-haired, spandex-wearing hard rock bands, and their promo videos made much of their look. The song "Heaven" was not written by any of the members of Warrant and it is alleged that Jamie Lane stole the song from another musician who had already been shopping the song to various labels. This mistake cost the band a fair amount of money when suit was brought against them.
Following the release of the album, Warrant toured with Paul Stanley, Queensrÿche, Cinderella, Poison, Mötley Crüe and Kingdom Come. Kingdom Come members Rick Steier and James Kottak would later join Warrant.
The band's second record, Cherry Pie, was released in September 1990, 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 hits "Cherry Pie" (Featured in Guitar Hero II) , "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (the famous acoustic intro was performed by Eric Oswald - Jani's brother) and "I Saw Red", reached the Top Ten in the United States, and went on to sell 3 million copies. The record's title track received strong exposure on MTV and became the band's most successful single.
The release of "Cherry Pie" was followed by a tour with the band 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.
Trouble in the 90s (1992–1999)
The 1990s were characterized by frequent changes to the band's line-up. In 1992, Warrant released Dog Eat Dog. The record achieved only moderate commercial success, but still sold over 500,000 copies. While the record suffered poor sales performance in America, the band snared a European touring slot, playing a number of shows on the "Monsters Of Rock" festival, headlined by Iron Maiden.
Later that year, vocalist Lane temporarily left the band, which was then dropped by Columbia, following the arrival of grunge and the death of Warrant's long-time manager Tom Hulet. In 1994, 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. Ultraphobic, released in March 1995, and was not successful.
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 compilation was released in 1996 which was good timing and sold well. Warrant then released another studio album Belly to Belly in July 1996 in Japan and October 1996 in the United States. In October 1997, drummer Borg left the band, and was briefly replaced by touring drummer Vik Foxx, who was himself replaced in September 1998 by the band's touring keyboardist, Danny Wagner.
In 1999 Warrant released Greatest & Latest featuring re-done versions of some their classics and 3 new tracks.
Lane leaves (2000–2007)
The band was featured on the Rock Never Stops Tour in 1998 and 2003. Guitarist Steier and drummer Danny Wagner left the band in January 2000. Keri Kelli replaced Steier on guitars as a touring member and Mike Fasano replaced Wagner on drums. 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. 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. In April 2003, Warrant replaced drummer Fasano with Kevin Pharis.
Lane left Warrant again in January of 2004, taking Morris and Pharis with him. Lane was forced to cancel his first series of solo shows in Michigan after former band members took legal action to prevent the Warrant logo from being used on tour posters. Mike Fasano was briefly rehired, before Steven Sweet rejoined the band. Joey Allen also rejoined in February 2004. 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 KISS, Deep Purple, Mr. Big and L.A. Guns. On July 14, 2007, Warrant performed at hard rock festival Rocklahoma.
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.
Blabbermouth.net then received the following statement from the band:
"It is with the deepest regret that we have to announce that Jani Lane will no longer be performing with Warrant. From the beginning of our reunion talks to the last note of our last show together in Houston this past weekend (on August 31 at the Rock the Bayou festival), we have had nothing but good intentions of bringing a quality original Warrant show to our fans and friends. We wish Jani nothing but the best and remain friends. We are very excited that we have found an unbelievable voice in Robert Mason (Lynch Mob), an old friend of the band. We have three dates confirmed, come out and judge for yourself... We don't think you will be disappointed!"
On September 10, Rita Wild's Rock Report confirmed that Jani Lane is out of Warrant, but offered no further details on replacements or the band's future. Mason eventually agreed to not only finish the tour but also to become a permanent member of the band.