Warrant Biography

A product of the late 80s Los Angeles, California, USA club scene, hard rock band Warrant was formed in 1984 by guitarist Erik Turner (Eric Benjamin Turner, 31 March 1964, Omaha, Nebraska, USA). The early line-up of the band included Jerry Dixon (b. 15 September 1967, Pasadena, California, USA; bass), Adam Shore (vocals), Josh Lewis (b. Joshua Cohen, 15 October 1967, Chicago, Illinois, USA; guitar) and Max Asher (drums). A number of personnel changes saw John ‘Jani’ Lane (b. John Patrick Oswald, 1 February 1964, Akron, Ohio, USA; vocals), Steven Sweet (b. 29 October 1965, Wadsworth, Ohio, USA; drums) and Joey Allen (b. Joseph Allen Cagle, 23 June 1964, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA; guitar) completing the classic Warrant line-up (Turner, Dixon, Lane, Sweet and Allen). A clever self-promotion campaign and sterling live work turned the band into LA’s hottest unsigned outfit, and Columbia Records were quick to step in. 1989’s Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich was a solid debut, and ‘Down Boys’, coupled with exhaustive touring made it a hit (US number 27 in April 1989). However, sales went through the roof as MTV favourite ‘Heaven’ rose to number 2 in the US charts three months later. This success, along with that of another ballad, ‘Sometimes She Cries’, and the band’s looks, led to image problems, with Warrant unjustly viewed as a manufactured act in some quarters of the press.

The tongue-in-cheek pop metal title track of Cherry Pie, written by Lane in 45 minutes to round off the album, was another enormous US hit (number 10 in September 1990), but did little to redress the band’s credibility problems, although further hits ‘I Saw Red’ (which also reached number 10) and ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ undoubtedly helped. The band’s UK debut supporting David Lee Roth had little chance to impress the British press, as the dates had to be abandoned when Lane fell and cracked a rib on the first night. Dog Eat Dog was a credible attempt at a heavier approach, but during the grunge era it sold dramatically less than either of its multi-million-selling predecessors.

Lane subsequently went solo, with Columbia reducing both parties to demo deals, and although he later rejoined, Allen and Sweet departed, the latter leaving the music business altogether. Former Kingdom Come duo Rick Steier (b. 8 October 1960, Louisville, Kentucky, USA; guitar) and James Kottak (b. Louisville, Kentucky, USA; drums), who had worked on Lane’s solo project, replaced them. Ultraphobic earned Warrant strong reviews at a time when the band’s career was seemingly on the wane, but commercial success was now proving elusive. Kottak was replaced by Bobby Borg (b. Princeton, New Jersey, USA) and new member Danny Wagner (b. 22 February 1966, Pacoima, California, USA; keyboards/vocals) was added to the line-up on 1996’s Belly To Belly. Further line-up changes did not help the band’s cause and though they have continued to operate as a touring and recording concern into the new millennium, Warrant’s glory days appear to be a long way behind them. The ever-reliable Erik Turner and Jerry Dixon have remained at the helm throughout. (NB: not to be confused with the German speed-metal band of the mid-80s).

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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