That Hair Metal Blog recently conducted an interview with former WARRANT singer Jani Lane. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
That Hair Metal Blog: What have you been up to lately?
Jani: Work-wise, all kinds of stuff. I'm actually trying to gear up to do some shows at the end of the summer which, of course, with me, it's always a matter of who's going to play in the band. Unfortunately, a lot of my friends who play in the band are touring this summer, so I've spent my summer pretty much writing. I've pretty much finished all the material for my next record, which I want to do this fall. Also, I'm working on songs for Alice Cooper's next record, "Welcome To My Nightmare 2". I have a song that I'm working on with his (and former WARRANT) guitarist, Keri Kelli. We had a couple of tracks on his last record, and this is a very big deal for Alice, as he's got Bob Ezrin producing. I'm also working on a couple of songs for RHINO BUCKET, working on songs for a young couple of guys — when I say guys, I mean they're kids, to me — out of Missouri, very talented RYAN TYLER BAND. I've written a couple of songs for those guys, they're on the verge of a record deal. Mostly writing stuff. That's what I'm concentrating on is the writing right now. Just working in various studios around town. I've done some work with Fred Coury from CINDERELLA. Unfortunately, he's out on tour right now, so I can't continue with that until he gets back. Just put a call into him yesterday. Just got married. My wife's name is Kimberly.
That Hair Metal Blog: You said you're writing songs for "Welcome To My Nightmare 2"…
Jani: Well, I have a song in particular that I'm waiting for… Keri Kelli just texted me from Russia. They're in Russia right now and they get back in a few days and hopefully, we will get to knock this song out quickly.
That Hair Metal Blog: You were an Alice Cooper fan growing up. What's it like to write songs for the man?
Jani: Huge Alice fan. I actually… Alice came from Detroit and I grew up in Cleveland. I was a drummer for 20-some years before I had to sell my drums to move to Los Angeles. Once I got here, people said, "Oh, you can sing and you have blonde hair. You're going to be a lead singer." So, I never bought a kit of drums, although I play on all the demos, and I played on some WARRANT stuff. I play drums every chance I get. That's the love of my life. I call myself "player of some, master of none."
That Hair Metal Blog: You've always seemed to be more comfortable in an acoustic environment…
Jani: You know what? I don't even own an electric guitar. It's so funny you say that. I have acoustics all over the house. Anybody who asks me about songwriting, I tell them, "If it works on an acoustic guitar and you singing it, it will work with all the other shit thrown in." Literally, there's not a song that I've done, and I've written a lot of songs … there's not a song that I've done that I can't sit down and do acoustically for you. Including "Cherry Pie".
That Hair Metal Blog: I wasn't going to bring up that song…
Jani: You know what? It's so misinterpreted on the point (on VH1's "Heavy: The Story Of Metal") that I make about that song which was: any time you write a song that stands any test of time, whether it's a year, a decade, whatever… I'm incredibly grateful that I wrote that song. The fact was that song was completely unplanned. The second record was finished, it was called "Uncle Tom's Cabin". I was very proud of "Uncle Tom's Cabin". "I Saw Red" and a few other songs on that record. It was done, and the president of Columbia Records called me up and he said, "Listen…" and he was a big fan of AEROSMITH and said, "I just signed AEROSMITH out of Geffen (Records),and I need something, give me sex and standing up and singing along, and no more of this heartbreak stuff. Give me a single." I literally wrote "Cherry Pie" that night, demoed it the next day, sent it out to him in New York that weekend. He drove around in his car with it. On Monday, we were set up back in the studio and we did the song, and all of a sudden, everything was "Cherry Pie". I go to the grocery store, and people go, "Hey, Cherry Pie Guy."
That Hair Metal Blog: People heavily associate you with that song. When they think of WARRANT think of the song and the girl in the video (Bobbie Brown). But, even on "Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich", there were the deeper songs that you seemed more comfortable with
Jani: Yeah, absolutely. "Cherry Pie" was a fun song. Like I said, I wrote it in a day, literally. It was meant to be a fun song, it was completely tongue in cheek, and I got blasted … you know, back in the day, you put out a video like that and people were like, "Oh my God, he has no respect for women." I'm like, "Wait a minute, I've got three sisters, two daughters, a mom and a wife."It was like, "Hold on a second." Now, with the lyrical content in songs today, it makes you laugh that it actually offended anybody. It was a very misinterpreted song. It was meant to be tongue in cheek and fun, and now that a little time has gone by, I think it's looked at properly. It is what it is: it's a fun song written in a day and it winds up, because of the video, it winds up being related to … I don't know. I've licensed the song a lot, and it winds up girls dancing to it, used in strip clubs, all that stuff. I believe there was a point where Playboy rated it one of the Top 3 all-time strip club songs, with "Girls Girls Girls", "Pour Some Sugar On Me" and "Cherry Pie". I was like, "Thank you."
That Hair Metal Blog: What's the sound for the next record?
Jani: It's really hard to describe. There's a lot of singer/songwriter stuff that I like a lot. It probably goes everywhere from my really early, strong influences — BEATLES, BOWIE, a lot of British Invasion stuff – to some very modern sounding stuff that I like. I like experimental bands, I like bands that have their own sounds, their own style. I'm a big fan of the experimental-ness, I don't know if that's a word, of bands like RADIOHEAD. I have a song called "The Thing" that I want to take in that direction. It is a really good song. The old influences are there too. It's all over the place as far as tempo and feel. Lyrically, I'm really proud of this stuff. If I get through a verse and a chorus and the lyrics don't … it's not a point of them meaning something to me, if I don't feel something when I'm singing them, I just throw them away. I've thrown away so many potential songs in the last year.
That Hair Metal Blog: Has it been nice to have that breathing room (from WARRANT)?
Jani: It can be nice at times, and then there are times where I miss it. I'll be completely honest, there are times where I like to perform, I have to make sure … I've taken some time. I did a really good show at House Of Blues in L.A., and then I got caught up in a really bad frame of my mind, and did a really horrendous, ridiculous show in Vegas. After that show, I said, "You know what? I'm not going to do this anymore until I figure out how exactly I want to go out on stage." If I don't go on stage to enjoy it, then the fans aren't going to enjoy it, they're not going to get a good show, they're not going to come back, and I'm not going to want to come back and do it. So, that's been, if anything, for my soul searching for me. Also, I've had a ton of negative interference in my life from, I'd like to think of a more cerebral term, but just "haters."
Read the entire interview from That Hair Metal Blog.