It's been more than a decade since Warrant erupted onto the national scene in 1989, and a lot has happened since. Yes, the music business has been through a lot in the past thirteen years, but the true spirit of rock 'n' roll is still championed by the bands that have bucked trends and defied the odds by remaining true to their course. If Warrant isn't at the top of that list, it's only because they got tired of waiting around for recognition and headed back out on the road.
Warrant was formed in Los Angeles by guitarist Erik Turner in July 1984. The band's early members included bassist Jerry Dixon ,vocalist Adam Shore, guitarist Josh Lewis, and drummer Max Asher. Vocalist Jani Lane (who replaced Shore) and drummer Steven "Sweet" Chamberlain (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. Jani Lane also assumed the role of s songwriter.
After gaining attention on the L.A. club scene, the band recorded a demo tape in September 1987 for Paisley Park Records. The A&M label purchased an option to sign them. After A&M allowed its option to lapse, the band signed a contract with Columbia Records, and in April 1988 they began recording their debut album, Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich. The record spawned three hits: the Number Two power ballads "Heaven" and "Sometimes She Cries", and the rock anthem "Down Boys".
The band's second effort, Cherry Pie, was released in March 1990, and featured guest appearances by Poison's C.C. DeVille, Danger Danger's Bruno Ravel and Steve West, and Fiona. The hits "Cherry Pie", "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "I Saw Red" reached the Top Ten in the United States, and went on to sell three million copies. The record's title track, only included on the album as a result of record company pressure, received strong exposure on MTV and became the band's most successful single.
Over the years, the cast of Warrant changed but the music kept coming. In 1992, Warrant released Dog Eat Dog, in 1995, Ultraphobic; Belly to Belly was released in July 1996 in Japan and October 1996 in the United States. Under the Influence was released in May 2001. The 2006 lineup consists of Jaime St. James (vocals), Erik Turner (guitar), Jerry Dixon (bass), Steven Sweet (drums) and Joey Allen (guitar).
If Warrant and their like-minded, hard-rockin' peers have learned anything over the past few years, it's that there's power in numbers. Whether you call it nostalgia, hair rock, a flashback, or just plain rock 'n' roll, it's striving, and Warrant are proud to be at the head of the pack.
"I think this music has finally gotten old enough to be cool again Just like bellbottoms," says Jerry Dixon with a laugh. "We took a lot of punches over the years, but I'm glad we stuck it out and lasted. Our approach to music is to just have a good time, and especially with everything that's going on in the world, people don't want to be bummed out anymore. We know the problems are there just like everyone else does, but when we're onstage, Warrant's about having a good time."
Whatever the reason, the crowds are coming out in full force, and Warrant's demand as a live act has continued to grow over. "I think people's musical tastes are a lot more varied than people think," says guitarist Erik Turner of the band's blossoming fan base. "I'm really surprised by how many younger fans are out there at our shows Some of them could be our kids. Maybe they are! We see and meet a lot of high school kids who are coming to our shows and checking us out for the first time."
And why not? Especially when the very stations that turn Alien Ant Farm and Crazy Town into Top 40 pop superstars continue to play "Heaven" and "Cherry Pie" in frequent rotation. "When grunge hit, there was a definite backlash, but now we're seeing bands who like Warrant, and aren't afraid to mention Warrant in interviews," say Erik Turner, citing OZZfest kingpins and Warrant fans Drowning Pool, as well as pop-rockers New Found Glory.
But even if radio were to swing full-circle, offering the same support they did more than a decade ago, the band still wouldn't turn their backs on their past. "There's a lot to be said about being nostalgic, but I think it's great, and the best thing that can happen to a band," offers Dixon. "Let's be honest If you were to start in this business, and someone would promise that your band would survive for as long as we have, then be considered nostalgic and be able to tour amphitheaters 17 years later, would you take it? Of course you would! ..."
Hollywood hard rockers Warrant
have released their ninth studio album Rockaholic
(2011). The vocalist of their glory years, Jani Lane has come and gone once more. Replaced by Black ‘N Blue
singer Jaime St. James, the slot is now filled by ex-Lynch Mob
singer Robert Mason.
Rockaholic is a fine melodic hard rock, an unexpected and enjoyable listening experience. This comes from the interesting and varied song composition. Rockaholic begins with some straight ahead hard rock in “Sex Ain’t Love”, “Innocence Gone”, and “Snake”. Warrant wants to strike first, kick ass and take names. “Snake” has a heavy groove and a blistering solo. “Sex Ain’t Love” is a prime material for single release or a stylish video. It rolls and rocks with infectious groove.
The bit bluesy “Dusty’s Revenge” follows, but then Warrant throws the listener a curve or two. “Home”, a fine power ballad, is nothing new for Warrant. But the melodic, near album-oriented, rock of “What Love Can Do” and “Life’s a Song” are entertaining contrasts to the opening material. This AOR feel returns in the two additional ballads “Found Forever” and “Tears in the City”. The latter is quite exemplary and shows Mason’s strong vocal skills.
Somewhere in between lie variations on Warrant’s traditional hard rock themes. “Show Must Go On”, “Cocaine Freight Train” (with a little blues harp), and “The Last Straw” are fast rockers with great melodic lines and big hooks. “Show Must Go On” and “The Last Straw” have an arena-ready rock brilliance. Finally, “Candy Man” and “Sunshine” find Warrant developing simple and steady, uncompromising, hard rock.