WARRANT's ROBERT MASON: How I Found Out About JANI LANE's Death
April 9, 2021
Robert Mason has once again said that Jani Lane was "in a very dark place" before his final exit from WARRANT.
Lane recorded several albums with WARRANT in late 1980s and early 1990s but left the group several times. The band's seventh studio LP, "Born Again", was released in 2006 and featured Jaime St. James as the lead singer. In 2008, Lane returned to WARRANT temporarily and toured with the group. In September that year, WARRANT announced that Jani had left again. The band replaced him with Mason and released its eighth studio album, "Rockaholic", in 2011.
Speaking to Waste Some Time With Jason Green about how Jani's last split from WARRANT came about, Mason said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "They told Jani he was better off probably staying off the road, because they were having a hard time keeping him sober. They hired a very expensive per-day sober coach that couldn't do it.
"It's a horrible thing," he continued. "He succumbed to all of that… He was in a very, very dark place, and the worst place for him was to be on the road. And my guys were deathly afraid of finding him not making lobby call one day and expired in a hotel on the road, and how that would look and how that would feel for them.
"So, yes, they told, 'No more WARRANT for you. Please go home and make yourself better. And maybe we'll talk about it someday. But make yourself better.'
"[After I joined WARRANT] Jani was alive and did Jani Lane solo shows for a little bit. He put a band together with a lot of the usual suspects, guys he would use, and really great players. But he was just not the same guy and not in the same place."
Lane died in August 2011 at age 47. Paramedics found his body in a Comfort Inn motel room in Woodland Hills, California, which is near Los Angeles. Lane had battled alcohol abuse for years.
Reflecting on how he found out about Jani's death, Robert said: "I think it was us and the SLAUGHTER guys, we were all having dinner at a steak joint somewhere in the middle of the country doing a gig, and everybody's phone just buzzed — it seemed [like it happened] all at once. It was kind of rare for us — all band and crew; everybody — after flying in, we were all sitting around the table, with appetizers, waiting for entrees to show up, and all of sudden, everybody's phones just blew up. And it was that horrible look. I remember somebody looking and going [opens his eyes wide]. And I know they thought to themselves, 'This is what this is,' and they were dead right. We all picked up the phone, and we were, like, 'Did you just hear…?' 'Yeah, I just got a text from so-and-so.' 'I just missed a phone call from six people.'"
According to Mason, Lani's passing didn't come completely unexpectedly to him and the rest of WARRANT. "Clearly, it's not anything that anybody wanted to happen, but it was less of a surprise, I think," he said. "It wasn't as huge a shock. And that's a terrible thing to admit."
WARRANT's latest album, "Louder Harder Faster", was released in 2017 via Frontiers Music Srl. The disc was recorded with producer Jeff Pilson — a veteran bassist who has played with DIO, FOREIGNER and DOKKEN, among others — and was mixed by Pat Regan, except for the song "I Think I'll Just Stay Here And Drink", which was mixed by Chris "The Wizard" Collier (FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, PRONG, LAST IN LINE).