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|Birth name||John Kennedy Oswald|
February 1, 1964|
Akron, Ohio, United States
|Died||August 11, 2011
Woodland Hills, California, United States
|Instruments||Vocals, piano, guitar, drums|
|Associated acts||Warrant, Plain Jane, Sean E. River Project, Saints of the Underground, Great White|
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
Lane was born John Kennedy Oswald (later changed to John Patrick Oswald), on February 1, 1964 in Akron, Ohio. The youngest of Eileen and Robert Oswald's five children, John grew up just east of Akron in Brimfield, 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 and piano by ear at age 6 with his brother, Eric and sister, Vicky, guiding, teaching, and participating with him. Lane grew up listening to Cleveland rock station WMMS (100.7 FM, "The Buzzard"), and was introduced to all types of bands and music by his brother, Eric. With his sister Vicky's connections in the music scene with many bands and with his parents Bob and Eileen's aid, he quickly made a name for himself at a very young age. 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 sessions" at home and in public with his brother and sister as back-ups.This was an often occurrence during hometown visits "gigs" and with other various fellow professional musicians. He played all instruments, self-taught, and provided the harmonies on most of his own songs.
By the time Lane was 11, his siblings had left for college or marriage. He still gained many contacts through his Sister, Vicky, who worked in the entertainment industry since Jani was 11. He graduated from Field High School in 1982 with many options available to him in the immediate future, including football scholarships at Kent State and Ohio State, drama scholarships, etc. He was an Honor Roll and above-average, intelligent student from kindergarten through high school. He chose his passion much to the chagrin of his parents, who wanted him to continue his education. He idolized his father, and both parents were torn with Jani's decision. Although the rift remained for many years, his father was his biggest supporter and fan, often being the sounding board for his original music written before recorded.
Shortly 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. Many of Cyren's shows were opening for a popular local band called Risque'. When their bassist, Al Collins noticed the talented drummer/vocalist, he convinced Lane to form a new band that they would eventually call Dorian Gray. The new band also included Steven Chamberlin on drums and Dave Chamberlin on lead guitar. Dorian Gray was designed to bring Jani out from behind the drums to the frontman position and perform original material. Not long after putting the band together, Lane decided he wasn't ready to be the lead singer and moved to drums. They then hired Billy Denmead to sing lead vocals and play rhythm guitar. After only a few shows, Al Collins left the band. He wanted Jani to be the lead singer and when this didn't happen, they parted as friends but vowed to put a band together when Jani was ready to come out front. It would take a few years before he had the confidence to be the frontman we would eventually know as "The Song and Dance Man" of the mainstream generation.
After making a name for himself in Ohio, Jani relocated to Florida in 1983 with Dorian Gray. He eventually formed Plain Jane in FL with future Warrant bandmate Steven (Chamberlin) Sweet and longtime friend/bassist Al Collins. It was at this time Lane adopted the stage name "Jani Lane." Lane got the name from his German grandparents' pronunciation and spelling of Johnny as "Jani, although they said it as Yay-nee and that stuck. While living in FL, Lane began vocal training with 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.
Jani, Al and Steven recorded the first Plain Jane 4-track demos at their rented house in Winter Park, FL before relocating to CA in the spring of '84. Jani loved FL and was not interested in moving to Los Angeles at first but the music scene on the Hollywood Sunset Strip seemed like the place to be if a band wanted to get a record deal so they rented a trailer and headed west. They broke down in almost every state on the way to CA, leaving the boys broke by the time they landed at the Hollywood Bowl Motel. They put the last of their change together, bought a quart of milk and a loaf of bread and made sandwiches with mustard packets while taking turns calling their parents for cash. Jani was flown to New york to possibly sign with Sony records and was harassed and propositioned by an executive. His parents flew him back to Ohio to relax. At this time Prince was very much interested in Jani's talent for writing, performing and playing all of the instruments. Jani spent many times with Prince, in his studio, collaborating on quite a few songs, for both. Mutual respect for creativity lasted for both of their lifetimes. Prince guided Jani into signing with Columbia, on his own terms. They were both fighting for control for their own music, but not without being labeled "difficult.
Now living in Los Angeles, the boys took various odd jobs to survive. Struggling to make ends meet as a musician, Lane resorted to working in a pornographic video warehouse. It was harder to pay the bills in CA so the band and new road crew plus a few girlfriends pooled their wages and lived in a 2 bedroom condo rented by new Plain Jane guitarist Paul Noble. At one time there were 13 people living in the crowded space. Everyone pitched in to have a stage show built that included a spinning drum riser. The band rehearsed for months until Plain Jane was ready to take on Hollywood.
By 1985, Plain Jane had become a regular feature in the L.A. club circuit and opened many shows for a band called Warrant. Coincidentally, Plain Jane's bassist and guitarist left the band on the same day Warrant's singer and drummer quit. It seemed as though the stars were lining up to for the camps to merge into one monster of a rock band. 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 Hulet (known for working with The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, Prince 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. 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. 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.
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.
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. 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.
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 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. 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) . The band was originally called "Angel City Outlaws" when they posted their first two promo singles: "Bruised" and "Exit".
In summer 2010, Lane toured with Great White, filling in for singer Jack Russell, who was recuperating from surgery after suffering internal complications.
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. 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. 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. The cause of death at autopsy was recorded as undetermined; he was 47 years old.
A movie is in the works about the life of Jani Lane.
- 1989 Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich
- 1990 Cherry Pie
- 1992 Dog Eat Dog
- 1995 Ultraphobic
- 1996 Belly to Belly
- 1997 Warrant Live 86-97
- 1999 Greatest & Latest (New versions)
- 2001 Under the Influence
- 2002 Back Down to One
- 2007 Photograph (cover album)
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
- 1989 Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure OST : "Game of War"
- 1998 Forever Mod: Portrait of a Storyteller – Tribute to Rod Stewart: "I Was Only Joking"
- 1999 Not The Same Old Song And Dance – A Tribute to Aerosmith: "No Surprise"
- 2000 Tribute to Van Halen 2000: "Panama"
- 2000 Cheap Dream: Cheap Trick Tribute: "I Want You to Want Me" (The Mission UK Remix)
- 2000 Leppardmania- A tribute to Def Leppard: "Photograph"
- 2000 Queen 4 A Day Shameless 2000: "Backing Vocals on Far Away, Lonely Night in Paradise"
- 2004 VH1 Classic Metal Mania: Stripped: "I Saw Red (Acoustic)"
- 2005 VH1 Classic Metal Mania Stripped 2: Anthems – "Cherry Pie (Acoustic)"
- 2005 Hell Bent Forever – A tribute to Judas Priest: "Electric Eye"
- 2005 Subdivisions: A Tribute to Rush: "2112 Overture/Temples of Syrinx", "Bastille Day"
- 2006 A Tribute to Bon Jovi: "Lay Your Hands on Me"
- 2007 VH1 Classic Metal Mania Stripped 3: "Heaven (Acoustic)"
- 2007 Monster Ballads Xmas : "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
- 2007 Famous 4 Madness Shameless 2007: "Backing Vocals on Better Off Without you, Magical Misery, Dirty Shirt, She's Watching You"
- 2008 Led Box – The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Tribute: "The Ocean"
- 2010 Siam Shade Tribute: "1/3 no Junjou na Kanjou"
- 2011 Sin-Atra: A Metal Tribute To Frank Sinatra: "That's Life"
- 2012 Dial S for Sex Shameless 2012: "Backing Vocals on Far Away"
As Jani Lane
- 1991 Voices That Care (Various) U.S. #11, U.S. AC #6 CAN #61 non-album song
|1991||Voices That Care (As Jani Lane) (Various)||David S. Jackson|
- Hughes, Mark (August 12, 2011). "Jani Lane, Former Frontman for Glam Band 'Warrant', Found Dead". Forbes.com. Forbes.com LLC. Retrieved August 24, 2011.
- "Warrant frontman Jani Lane died of alcohol poisoning". Reuters. October 5, 2011.
- Slotnik, Daniel E. (August 12, 2011). "Jani Lane, Heavy-Metal Lead Singer, Dies at 47". The New York Times.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- WARRANT | MusicMight
- "Allmusic (Warrant awards & charts)Billboard albums". Allmusic.
- "Allmusic (Warrant charts & awards) Billboard albums". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012.
- "Former WARRANT Frontman To Embark on Solo Tour in May". Retrieved 2014.
- "Jani Lane: Bio". Retrieved 2011.
- "A Look Back at the Life of Jani Lane". Retrieved 2014.
- "Jani Lane's Warrant". Retrieved 2011.
- "Saints of the Underground debut album". 2008. Retrieved 2011.
- "Angel City Outlaw tracks". Retrieved 2014.
- "Cherry Pie vixen".
- "Jani Lane and Rowanne Brewer".
- "Former WARRANT Singer JANI LANE Dead at 47". BlabberMouth.
- "Jani Lane, lead singer of Warrant, dead at 47". cbs8. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
- "Jani Lane memorial concert". BlabberMouth.
- "Jani Lane Movie on the Way". Artist Direct.