Death Of A Glam God

Warrant’s lead singer, Jani Lane, died a few weeks back at the age of 47. Of what? Not sure, but I saw a few news briefs on Facebook and across the web and felt a tinge of sorrow. I have no emotional / musical connection to Warrant, or Jani Lane. In fact, when Warrant was at the height of their success in the late eighties / early nineties, if you asked me what I thought of them (the band or the singer), I was likely to sneer or scoff.

Glam metal was by far the uncoolest music on the planet. I was way into the Pixies and Skinny Puppy and a slew of artsy-fartsy noise rockers. Warrant played the kind of music that pissed me off. It was sugary, over-produced, pop-rock trying to affect edge with metal guitar and lots of hairspray. The preening made me nauseous.

 

  
(So you’re fifteen. Who do you listen to?)

Fast forward a good five years. The angry young man that used to raise the bird to glam metal, and pop, and dance, and commercial rap, had officially grown up. Suddenly, music, ALL music (well…most music), had a degree of validity. I wasn’t going to go out and buy the latest C&C Music Factory album, but then, I began to understand that sometimes music is just…fun.

It didn’t have to be socially aware or mean something. It didn’t have to be a part of a particular movement or scene. I learned to appreciate a funky radio single here, or a tight, club hit there. I loosened up. I got dancing. I stopped being a judgemental douche bag.

(A quick note of advice to any of my close-minded students who may be reading this – as the strutting ladies of En Vogue tried to tell me all those years ago – free your mind and the rest will follow). Indeed.

 


(Hey, Stupid! Grow up! Your exclusionary ways are crippling your artistic potential!)

Anyway, nowadays, it doesn’t matter if something is punk, or funk, or pop, or rap, or metal, or be-bop-fusion-swing. Good music is good music. Good songwriting is good songwriting. If you think otherwise (now, I’m talking to you close-minded adults), you’re missing out on one of the great pleasures of life. Man, oh, man, how I love it when my iPod shuffles from 50 Cent, to Fiona Apple, to Lionel Richie, to The Black Dahlia Murder. The more diverse the better!

So it goes with Mr. Jani Lane. Warrant meant nothing to me back in the day, and still doesn’t mean much to me now, but the man wrote, Heaven, a perfect little rock ballad if there ever was one, and his passing deserves to be mourned.

That particular song really is beautiful. The rest of Lane’s output? Meh.

Cherry Pie is kind of fun, but it’s also super stupid. Should it shuffle its way into my 8000 song mega-mix, I may listen to a minute or two, but more than likely it’ll get a skip. Heaven on the other hand? I’ll listen to it, intently, from beginning to end. The verses are hum-a-liciously melodic and that chorus soars. I prefer the stripped down acoustic version – the original studio recording is way over done, the glitzy, glam rock production muddles things a bit. Still, either rendition is a keeper in my book.

A quick aside – ROCK OF AGES, one of the best Broadway shows ever (if you haven’t seen it, get yourself to Times Square and check it out), uses Lane’s Heaven to great effect (mashing it up with Extreme’s gem, More Than Words, and Mr. Big’s equally awesome, To Be With You). The song serves as the play’s coda of sorts, ending and linking certain scenes as our hero, a struggling musician named Drew, tries to work out the arrangement to the perfect, hit song. The play has some fun with the lyrics, but keeps those wonderful melodies intact.

 


(Go see this NOW!)

 

So then, R.I.P Mr. Lane. Thank you for the great song. Sorry, it took me a while to come around.

‘I don’t need to be the king of the world, as long as I’m the hero of this little girl…’

Perfect. Just perfect.

 

Here’s a decent version. I have trouble watching the band and Lane (all of that hairspray and preening), but the song is still damn good…

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7 Responses to “Death Of A Glam God”

  1. Nice entry. I forgot about Heaven; as soon as I read it I heard the chorus in my head, so it made a mark. I agree with what you said about loosening up a little about enjoying music without worrying about its message or always caring if it’s too commercial to be cool. It’s actually enlightening. You like what you like, and a good song is a good song. I had a laugh the other day when a girl at work asked me, “Have you ever heard The Chronic by Dr. Dre?” Yeah, a time or two…

  2. Ah, The Chronic… Now that’s an album. When Dre passes on, I’ll definitely dump out a forty in his honor…

    Anyway, we were way too cool for all those power ballads, but man, looking back and re-evaluating things, those were some sweet songs. The whole glam look was a real turn off though. Had those groups dressed like normal dudes, like men, or had they gone the other way and went freaky like Manson or Zombie, I may have given them a chance. Then again, sweet love songs don’t really mesh with pentagrams and monsters…

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