Jani Lane

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Jani Lane
Birth name John Kennedy Oswald[1]
Born (1964-02-01)February 1, 1964
Akron, Ohio, United States
Died August 11, 2011(2011-08-11) (aged 47)
Los Angeles, United States
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, musician
Instruments Vocals, piano, guitar, drums
Years active 1982–2011
Associated acts Warrant, Plain Jane, Sean E. River Project, Saints of the Underground, Great White
Website janilane.net

Jani Lane (February 1, 1964 – August 11, 2011) was an American recording artist and the lead vocalist, frontman, lyricist and main songwriter for the glam metal band Warrant. From Hollywood, California, the band experienced success from 1989–1996 with five albums reaching international sales of over 10 million. Lane left Warrant in 2004 and again in 2008 after a brief reunion. Lane also released a solo album Back Down to One in 2003 and the album Love the Sin, Hate the Sinner with a new group Saints of the Underground in 2008. Lane contributed his lead vocals and song writing to many various projects throughout his career.

Childhood and youth[edit]

Lane was born John Kennedy Oswald (later changed to John Patrick Oswald),[1] on February 1, 1964 in Akron, Ohio.[1] The youngest of Eileen and Robert Oswald's five children, John grew up just east of Akron in Brimfield Township, Portage County, Brimfield Townshipin OHIO, along with his older brother (Eric) and 3 older sisters (Marcine, Michelle and Victoria). Eric was an accomplished guitarist and Lane himself learned to play drums/guitar/piano by ear at age 6 with his brother, Eric and sister, Vicky guiding/teaching/participating with him. Although Lane grew up listening to Cleveland rock station WMMS (100.7 FM, "The Buzzard"), and was introduced to all types of bands/music by his brother, Eric, sister Vicky's connections in the music scene with many bands along with his parents Bob and Eileen's aid, he quickly made a name for himself at a very young age..[4][5] Lane played drums under the name "Mitch Dynamite" in clubs by age 11, again with the prompting of his sister and her boyfriend's band "Pokerface", he started his climb to bigger and better things. ("Mitch Dynamite" is listed as the drummer in the credits for Warrant's Latest and Greatest CD). Throughout the years, Lane would sometimes jump behind the kit to play with his band, and he had played the drums in various formats and gigs, always enjoying "Jam sesseions" at home and in public with his Brother and Sister as back-ups.[4][5]

By the time Lane was 11, his siblings had left for college or marriage. He graduated from Field High School in 1982[6] with many options going into this future, football scholarships at Kent State, Ohio State, Drama, etc. He was an honor roll and above average, intelligent student from kindergarten through high school. He chose his passion and not without very disappointed parents wanting him to continue his education. He idolized his father and both parents were torn with Jani's decision. His father suffered a massive stroke in 1985 that left him homebound, and his mother and siblings on caregiving watch, while he was encouraged to pursue his passion. It was a tough decision, but one that suited him well. It brought great emotional pain to him for not having that father figure with support and advice, and forcing him to rely heavily on those that didn't have his best interest at heart. He was often quoted as saying, "My private life is mine to cherish," and kept them (his family) protected.


Early years[edit]

After graduating from high school, Lane joined the band Cyren, featuring vocalist Skip Hammonds, guitarist John Weakland, bassist Don Hoover (and later, Rusty Fohner), with Lane on drums. After making a name for himself and his band in Ohio, he relocated to Florida in 1983, Lane played drums for Dorian Gray, before forming Plain Jane with future Warrant bandmate Steven (Chamberlin) Sweet. It was at this time that Lane adopted the stage name "Jani Lane." Lane got the name from his German grandparents' pronunciation and spelling of Johnny as "Jani." They said it as Yay-nee and that stuck. While playing drums with Dorian Gray, Lane began vocal training with Central Florida vocal coach/trainer Ron Feldman. Feldman introduced Lane to Creative Engineering, Inc. in Orlando where he worked as a programmer of the animatronic character, Dook LaRue, the drummer for the Rock-afire Explosion. His vocal debut was at Fern Park Station in Fern Park, Florida.

Lane and Sweet later relocated to Los Angeles, where they took various odd jobs to survive. Struggling to make ends meet as a musician, Lane resorted to working in a pornographic video warehouse.[7]

By 1986, Plain Jane had become a regular feature in the L.A. club circuit. Erik Turner, who had founded Warrant in July 1984, was impressed by Plain Jane's songwriting and vocal performance, and invited Lane and Sweet to jam with his band at Hollywood's db Sound in September 1986.


After generating notoriety on the club circuit, Warrant began to attract the attention of record labels. Following an abortive deal with A&M records over a contribution to the soundtrack for the motion picture Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, the band signed with Columbia Records. The Columbia deal came via the partnering of Warrant and manager Tom Hullet (known for working with The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, and others). Tom became Lane's mentor and friend until his death from cancer in 1993.

As lead vocalist with Warrant, Lane wrote all of the band's material including four Top 40 hit singles: "Down Boys", "Sometimes She Cries", "Big Talk" and the number 2 Billboard Hot 100 hit "Heaven" for Warrant's debut double platinum album Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich in 1989, which peaked at number 10 on The Billboard 200.[8] Lane also wrote another four Top 40 hit singles: "Cherry Pie," "I Saw Red," "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "Blind Faith" for the second album, the double platinum Cherry Pie in 1990, which peaked at number 7 on the Billboard 200.[9] Lane also co-wrote and performed with Warrant the song "The Power" in the 1992 movie Gladiator. The band also released their third album in 1992, the critically acclaimed Gold record Dog Eat Dog which peaked at number 25 on the Billboard 200.[9]

Lane left Warrant in March 1993 to pursue a solo career but returned to the band in September 1993, helping the band to secure a new record with Tom Lipsky of CMC International. The band then recorded Ultraphobic in 1995, Belly to Belly in 1996, Greatest & Latest in 1999 and a cover album Under the Influence in 2001.

Due to personal and business disagreements, Lane left Warrant in 2004. 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. It was the first time that all original members had been in the band since 1993. The band's first show with all original members was in May 2008 in Nashville. Warrant then performed a series of shows during the summer of 2008, but by September 2008, Warrant and Lane agreed to move forward separately, due to "too much water under the bridge." Warrant and Lane both continued to perform Lane's compositions live and Lane continued to write for himself and other artists.

Solo career[edit]

Lane became involved in acting in the early 1990s. He made a brief appearance in Caged Fear, and also appeared in High Strung in 1991.

In 1993 Jani Lane started working on his first solo project, titled "Jabberwocky," the album represented a significant musical departure from previous work but continued to be pushed back. Between 1997 and 2000, demos of Lane's solo material began surfacing on the Internet, with some bids on eBay reaching an estimated $US100.00 per copy.[10] In 2002 Lane decided to postpone the "Jabberwocky" project and instead release a brand new project as his debut solo album. The "Jabberwocky" project remained unreleased.

Lane's official debut solo album, Back Down to One, was released on June 17, 2003 through Z Records and (2006) in the US on Immortal/Sidewinder Records. It carried a "power pop" sound which was more closely aligned with the sound of Warrant than the unreleased Jabberwocky project. Shortly after the album's release Lane was admitted to a rehab center for alcohol and drug-related exhaustion.[11]

In August 2004, Lane withdrew from the Bad Boys of Metal tour after only eight shows.

In Fall 2004, Lane contributed the lead vocals for the first ever theme song to a novel, The Devil of Shakespeare, by author, Billy McCarthy, along with JY from Styx, Ron Flynt 20/20, Chip Z'Nuff of Enuff Z'Nuff.

Lane contributed vocals on the track "Bastille Day" and "2112 Overture/Temples of Syrinx" for the Magna Carta 2005 Rush tribute album Subdivisions.

Lane had success with the "VH1 Classic Metal Mania: Stripped" discs where the acoustic version of "I Saw Red" was included on disc 1, a new acoustic swinging version of "Cherry Pie" featured on disc 2 and a new acoustic version of "Heaven" featured on disc 3.

In 2005, Lane became a fan favorite on the popular VH1 series Celebrity Fit Club 2. The rocker's alcohol problems were highlighted during the show, and many viewers were rooting for his recovery.[12]

In 2006 with the reissue and US release of "Back Down to One" Lane attempted to restart his own version of Warrant. Although "Back Down to One" was credited as a solo release the singer assembled a new touring band for the album subsequently titled "JANI LANE'S WARRANT". Unfortunately, his first batch of solo shows, in Michigan, would be stopped by legal action from his former band mates objecting to the use of the Warrant band logo on his posters.[13] Lane continued touring without the Warrant name and logo.

Lane lent his vocals to numerous tribute CDs during the 2000s and in 2007 Lane released a solo cover album titled "Photograph", featuring a collection of his tribute contributions.

Keri Kelli and Lane wrote a song for Alice Cooper, titled, "The One That Got Away." It was recorded by Cooper on his 2008 record, Along Came a Spider. Lane also finished work on his side project, Saints of the Underground. This project also consists of Bobby Blotzer and Robbie Crane (both from Ratt), and Keri Kelli (from Alice Cooper). Their album, Love the Sin, Hate the Sinner was released on April 22, 2008 by Warrior Records and was mixed by legendary producer/engineer Andy Johns, who worked with such bands as The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, and also featuring additional bass work by Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot, House of Lords) .[14] The band was originally called "Angel City Outlaws" when they posted their first two promo singles: "Bruised" and "Exit".[15]

In summer 2010, Lane toured with Great White, filling in for singer Jack Russell, who was recuperating from surgery after suffering internal complications.

Personal life[edit]

During the shooting of Warrant's "Cherry Pie" video, Lane met model Bobbie Brown, who starred in the video, and they wed a couple of months later in July 1991. They were married for three years and had a daughter, Taylar, in 1992 before divorcing in 1993.[16] Lane got married again in 1996 to actress Rowanne Brewer, a former Miss Maryland USA, and the two welcomed a daughter, Madison, the following year. They ended their marriage in 2005.[17] Lane was married a third time in 2010 to Kimberly Nash, to whom he remained married at the time of his death in 2011 despite no marriage license ever being produced and claims they were separated for almost 10 months.


On August 11, 2011, Lane was found dead of acute alcohol poisoning at a Comfort Inn hotel in Woodland Hills, California.[2] The cause of death at autopsy was recorded as undetermined; he was 47 years old.[18][19]

A public memorial concert for Lane – with performances by fellow rockers Great White, Quiet Riot and L.A. Guns – was held on Monday, August 29, 2011 at the Key Club in Hollywood.[20]


With Warrant


With Saints of the Underground

With Liberty N Justice

  • 2007 Addiction
  • 2011 Sin (Single)


  • 1992 Gladiator OST: "We Will Rock You" (Queen cover)
  • 1992 Gladiator OST: The Power
  • 2001 Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure OST : "Game of War"


Other Work


As Jani Lane

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
1991 Voices That Care (As Jani Lane) (Various) David S. Jackson


  1. ^ a b c Hughes, Mark (August 12, 2011). "Jani Lane, Former Frontman for Glam Band 'Warant', Found Dead". Forbes.com. Forbes.com LLC. Retrieved August 24, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Warrant frontman Jani Lane died of alcohol poisoning". Reuters. October 5, 2011. 
  3. ^ Slotnik, Daniel E. (August 12, 2011). "Jani Lane, Heavy-Metal Lead Singer, Dies at 47". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ a b Klosterman, Chuck (July 19, 2001). "Glam Slam Metal Jam – Bands from 1980s at Blossom Tonight". Akron Beacon Journal (Beacon Journal Publishing Co.). p. E12 – Entertainment. 
  5. ^ a b Abram, Malcolm X (August 13, 2011). "Former Warrant Singer Jani Lane, 47, Akron/Cleveland/Kent Native – Hits Include 'Cherry Pie', 'Heavan' ". Akron Beacon Journal (Beacon Journal Publishing Co.). p. B1. 
  6. ^ Johnson, Kevin C. (June 22, 1995). "B.I.G. Big on Pop Charts: Rapper a.k.a. Biggie Smalls to Be at Gund with Ice Cube, Others". Akron Beacon Journal (Beacon Journal Publishing Co.). p. E2 – Entertainment. 
  7. ^ WARRANT | MusicMight
  8. ^ "Allmusic (Warrant awards & charts)Billboard albums". Allmusic. 
  9. ^ a b "Allmusic (Warrant charts & awards) Billboard albums". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012. 
  10. ^ "Former WARRANT Frontman To Embark on Solo Tour in May". Retrieved 2014. 
  11. ^ "Jani Lane: Bio". Retrieved 2011. 
  12. ^ "A Look Back at the Life of Jani Lane". Retrieved 2014. 
  13. ^ "Jani Lane's Warrant". Retrieved 2011. 
  14. ^ "Saints of the Underground debut album". 2008. Retrieved 2011. 
  15. ^ "Angel City Outlaw tracks". Retrieved 2014. 
  16. ^ "Cherry Pie vixen". 
  17. ^ "Jani Lane and Rowanne Brewer". 
  18. ^ "Former WARRANT Singer JANI LANE Dead at 47". BlabberMouth. 
  19. ^ "Jani Lane, lead singer of Warrant, dead at 47". cbs8. Retrieved August 12, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Jani Lane memorial concert". BlabberMouth. 

External links[edit]