20 QUESTIONS WITH…
Ex-Warrant Guitarist Josh Lewis
This week’s 20 Questions are with Warrant’s 1st guitarist, Josh Lewis. Josh was replaced by Joey Allen, and the rest is history.
Josh is now known by his real name Josh Cohen. He emailed us a while ago and said,
I don’t know who you guys are, but I love what you’re doing.
This is Josh Cohen /aka Josh Lewis the original guitarist of Warrant. It was brought to my attention that I was mentioned in a question directed to Jerry Dixon, and I wanted to thank you for still remembering me. It’s been about 15 years since I’ve been in Warrant and it’s nice to be remembered (hopefully with positive feelings). I alsochecked out the Joey Allen interview from 1999 (I’m a slow reader) and noticed his response when my name came up. Too funny!!!! For your information Joey, You have to be 4′ 5" or smaller to be a midget, and I’m 4′ 6". So there!!!!
Anyway, I think Metal Sludge is a shit load of fun!!!!!! I’ll be checking it out regularly.
So we thought it would be interesting to do 20 Questions with Josh to see how it was to be in Warrant before they got signed. We figured he had to have some good stories and he did! He also sent us a bunch of old ass photos that haven’t really been seen before. Enjoy!
Josh singing to his bride at his wedding
1. What are you doing now? Are you married, have kids, what do you do for work, etc.
Yeah I’m happily married and we will be celebrating our 2nd year anniversary on October 10th. We have been together for 10 years now and she’s my best friend. No kids yet, but I’m looking forward to it. As for work I’m a photographer now, you can check out my web site at www.joshcohenphoto.com, I shoot a lot of fashion and music.
2. How old were you when you joined Warrant and how did you end up in the band?
3. What is your current relationship with the members of Warrant?
Jerry & Josh at The Troubadour
4. Are you bitter at all that after you got fired that Warrant got signed and had great success?
I would be a huge liar if I said it didn’t hurt me in the beginning. They were like my brothers; I felt a kinship with them that I have never felt with any other group of musicians. I felt betrayed. But now when I listen back to some of those tapes I really can’t blame them. I "was" a terrible guitar player back then!! The funny thing is, they gave me a warning about a month prior to giving me the boot. They said (in so many words) "You’re not pulling your weight." I decided right then to start taking guitar lessons. It took me about a year to get to a decent level, and it took them 1 year to get signed. If they would have waited for me I could have been terrorized by Metal Sludge for all these years too. Isn’t it funny how things always work out?
The Santa Ana Bowl opening for Poison.
Just before the riot broke out.
|5. Which do you prefer and why:
Gazzarris or The Whiskey = The Whiskey- It was home to all the early punk bands.
The Roxy or The Country Club = That’s a hard one but I have to say playing in front of a packed house at the Country Club was a great time.
Poison or Guns N Roses = On a musical level GnR for sure. But Poison was there for us in the beginning and really helped us out. They’re great guys. I went to school with Slash, and I used to roadie for him when he was in Hollywood Rose. Slash is still one of my favorite guitar players.
Jani Lane or Steven Sweet = Steven has a giant heart.
Cherry Pie or D.R.F.S.R. = I recently listened to D.R.F.S.R. and I liked it. I never heard Cherry Pie all the way through, although I liked the "Cherry Pie" video when I first saw it.
Motley Crue or Metallica = I gotta go with the Crue!!! "Too fast for love" Isn’t that a great title for an album? Don’t get me wrong, I love Metallica too!! But I’ve never been a total metalhead.
Neil Zlozower or William Hames = I’ve become friends with Neil Zlozower and I think he’s one of the coolest guys. He talks just like David Lee Roth. I also know some of William Hames crew, they’re very cool.
Rock City News or Bam = I gotta go with Bam (or the memories), Rock City News never covered any of my later bands.
6. What were your initial impressions of Jani when he joined the band?
He impressed me. He’s a very talented songwriter, and he can sing like a motherfucker. We were excited to have him join, and we were refreshed because it only took us 1 month to find him after Adam quit.
7. After you got the boot from Warrant, what did you do after that?
I took some time off to learn my instrument, and then I floundered around in some pretty lame bands. I almost got a deal with a great band called "Grace Period." After we broke up, I decided to start singing and writing myself. I’ve actually become a pretty good songwriter. I have more songs than I can count now, and they’re still coming. I would love to find a singer who can make these songs his or her own, and also collaborate on others. I also got really into photography, which has been a very creative avenue for me, and also fairly profitable. I really love it. Did I mention my web site www.joshcohenphoto.com. (Hey Metal Sludge, you didn’t say I only have one chance for a plug, like you normally do. That’ll learn ya). You can e-mail me from my web site.
|8. You were a roadie for Slash back when he played in Hollywood Rose. Do you have any good Slash stories and did you ever encounter Axl somewhere on the strip?
The very first gig Warrant ever did (me, Adam, and Max only) was a new years eve party, 1984. Slash put it together with Road Crew, (his old band) and Pyrrus (Traci Gunns old band). When Slash put Hollywood Rose together I would roadie for him once in a while. I remember driving with Slash and Axl to Madame Wongs in Westwood, (it was just the 3 of us) they were playing one of their first gigs together, Steven Adler was playing drums, and they had some freaky guy on bass. There was a lot of traffic on Wilshire Blvd. and Axl was kind of pissed off. But he wasn’t pissed because of the traffic, he was pissed because none of the people on the road knew that they were playing that night. He went on and on about how these people should know who they are. He really believed that everyone was supposed to know they were playing. Slash and I just looked at each other and kind of rolled our eyes, but years later when they played with the Stones at the Coliseum, everyone in L.A. knew they were playing…I mean everyone. I guess Axl always knew his destiny. I’ve never met anyone else I could say that about.
Early Warrant, 1985, opeing for Odin. Check out my hair!
9. What hard rock/heavy metal band should give it up and call it a day?
If you can still make a buck doing what you love; screw what anyone else says about you.
10. Rate the following Warrant guitarists on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being a waste of space and 10 being a virtuoso Joey Allen = 1
Rick Steier = I never heard him
Keri Kelli = I never heard him
Billy Morris = I never heard him
Erik Turner = 10 (not a virtuoso but still a bud)
11. Do you laugh at the fact that Joey Allen has no hair left on his head?
Yeah, and he’s gained a shit load of weight too!! Actually, I don’t really care about his hair or anything else for that matter. I do think it’s funny that he has made such rude comments about me in the past. Remember that he took my job. I hope someday that he finds happiness without cocaine and double cheeseburgers. Good luck Joey.
Valjean, Bret Michaels, and myself enjoying a little backyard barbecue grub.
|12. You’ve obviously heard the stories that have been going around about Warrant, such as Jani leaving in the middle of tours, members leaving, etc. What are your thoughts on the current status of Warrant?
I don’t really know the details, however I do feel bad for Jani, he will probably never get the respect he once had. I very rarely hear anything nice about him, even from the people closest to him. He should probably stop worrying about growing musically for a while and start focusing on growing as a person. I don’t mean to sound cruel, but Warrant fans will always love the old songs. Just like Kiss, Aerosmith, and Van Halen fans love the old songs. Now matter how hard he tries he can’t change that.
13. What rock star deserves a smack in the mouth and why?
Any of them who don’t appreciate what they are lucky to have.
14. Who banged the most chicks back in the original Warrant and who had the biggest dick?
I’d have to say Erik banged the most chicks, and as far as dick size goes, that would definitely be ME!!!!!! To tell you the truth, I haven’t a clue, we were all teenagers and didn’t make a habit of looking at each other’s franks and beans.
|15. Rate some of the strip bands on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being a lame ass band and 10 being pretty good for the time.
Brunette = 10
LA Guns = 10 Tracy’s an old friend.
Love/Hate = I auditioned for these guys and they had the fattest sound I ever heard. 10
Pretty Boy Floyd = 10
Bullet Boys = 10 I always liked them for some reason. Did you know that Mark Torien was the original guitarist for Ratt? I was lucky enough to see them at the Roxy, with Steeler.
Taz = 10
Tuff = 10
Paradise = Paradise -10 / Pair-a-dice 10
Jailhouse = 10
Faster Pussycat = 10
The Zeros = 10
At the Palomino with the infamous Cody Jarrett
16. When you were in Warrant, what other band was your biggest competition?
We didn’t really compete with the other local bands; we just did our own thing. Poison was the only band really causing anything in the scene, so we used them as a template of what to do. If they were at every concert passing out flyers, we were at every concert passing out flyers. If they were promising girls backstage passes after the show, and so were we. It was a proven formula and it worked for us too.
Josh and his wife Jackie
|17. You mentioned that you auditioned for Love/Hate. When was that and what are your memories of jamming with them?
I auditioned for them when their first guitarist quit. I got in touch with their manager and he set up an audition. I was really excited about it because at the time they were signed and touring. They were just soooooo tight from being on the road. They had a bunch of guitarist auditioning that day so I only played 2 or 3 songs with them. I don’t think we had a chance to really click on a personal level because I was first of about 10 other guitarists they met with. It was kind of a rushed situation.
18. What are your 2 favorite stories from being in Warrant?
The best times I’ve had with those guys were.
1. The first time we headlined anywhere was at the Troubadour. The original drummer and I spent 12-hour days pasting flyers on every pole we could find just to promote the gig. These girls we knew rented a limo to take us to the club. Together we arrived at the club at 10:30pm. We could see a line of people going clear around the block. All we wanted was to sell out that show, and we did. The show was amazing and we finally earned a "Headline" status in the club scene. It was really gratifying to see "our" hard work pay off.
2. I could tell you my second favorite story, but I’d have to kill you. Sorry.
19. Do you think you would have been more successful if you were normal height?
Probably???!!!! But not nes-a-celery????!!!! Look, I may only be 5’4" but back then I was like 6’6" with my hair done.
|20. Time for Metal Sludge’s Word Association. We give you a name and you give us your thoughts.
Jani Lane = Here’s to the girl in the little red boots she likes to party blah blah bah.
Jerry Dixon = Brother
Erik Turner = Brother / Erik "2 at a time" Turner
Joey Allen = ???
Steven Sweet = Nice guy, I wish him luck
Adam Shore = If it wasn’t for him you guys wouldn’t care about me or any of those other clowns.
Max Asher = Still one of my best friends, even after all these years.
Rick Steier = Never met
Bobbie Brown = JANI, YOU FUCKED UP MAN, YOU FUCKED UP!!!!!
Poison = They took us under their wing and gave us a lot of great opportunities. It’s a shame that the Warrant / Poison relationship suffered some scars. Hopefully they will mend.
See, that was cool. Josh had some good shit to say.
To check out Josh’s photo website, go to www.joshcohenphoto.com!