Jani Lane "I have gone to rehabilitation, absolutely."
Jani Lane: "I’ve had a ton of negative interference in my life from …“haters.”
Jani Lane has recently spoken out in a recent interview. He talks about his new wife (3rd marriage), a possible Warrant reunion recording and his approach to writing songs. He also acknowledges that touring is not a safe environment for him.
Let’s have a look see as to what’s up with Jani Lane.
What have you been up to lately?
Workwise, all kinds of stuff. I’m actually trying to gear up to do some shows at the end of the summer which, of course with me, it’s always a matter of who’s going to play in the band. Unfortunately, a lot of my friends who play in the band are touring this summer, so I’ve spent my summer pretty much writing. I’ve pretty much finished all the material for my next record, which I want to do this fall.
Also, I’m working on songs for Alice Cooper‘s next record, “Welcome To My Nightmare 2.” I have a song that I’m working on with his (and former Warrant) guitarist, Keri Kelli. We had a couple of tracks on his last record, and this is a very big deal for Alice, as he’s got Bob Ezrin producing.
I’m also working on a couple of songs for Rhino Bucket, working on songs for a young couple of guys – when I say guys, I mean they’re kids, to me – out of Missouri, very talented Ryan Tyler Band. I’ve written a couple of songs for those guys, they’re on the verge of a record deal.
Mostly writing stuff. That’s what I’m concentrating on is the writing right now. Just working in various studios around town. I’ve done some work with Fred Coury from Cinderella.
Unfortunately, he’s out on tour right now, so I can’t continue with that until he gets back. Just put a call into him yesterday. Just got married. My wife’s name is Kimberly.
You said you’re writing songs for “Welcome To My Nightmare 2″ …
Well, I have a song in particular that I’m waiting for … Keri Kelli just texted me from Russia. They’re in Russia right now and they get back in a few days and hopefully, we will get to knock this song out quickly.
You were an Alice Cooper fan growing up. What’s it like to write songs for the man?
Huge Alice fan. I actually … Alice came from Detroit and I grew up in Cleveland. I was a drummer for 20-some years before I had to sell my drums to move to Los Angeles. Once I got here, people said, “Oh, you can sing and you have blonde hair. You’re going to be a lead singer.” So, I never bought a kit of drums, although I play on all the demos, and I played on some Warrant stuff. I play drums every chance I get. That’s the love of my life. I call myself “player of some, master of none.”
So, you prefer playing drums to singing?
I like it all. It’s all part of the songwriting process, and that’s what my real love is, writing. Writing music is therapy for me, especially lyrically. I can sit down and if it’s musical stuff, I can write 10 songs in a day. When it comes to lyrics, that’s where I probably thrown away twice as many songs as I finish. If it doesn’t mean something to me … that’s where I got caught up in a very frustrating cycle with the Warrant stuff because a certain type of music was expected from the band, and it sort of went a little against what I like to write. It was always tough, it was always, “I’ve got write a few songs that sound like this and then I can write a few songs that I really like.”
You’ve always seemed to be more comfortable in an acoustic environment …
You know what? I don’t even own an electric guitar. It’s so funny you say that. I have acoustics all over the house. Anybody who asks me about songwriting, I tell them, “If it works on an acoustic guitar and you singing it, it will work with all the other shit thrown in.” Literally, there’s not a song that I’ve done, and I’ve written a lot of songs … there’s not a song that I’ve done that I can’t sit down and do acoustically for you. Including “Cherry Pie.”
I wasn’t going to bring up that song …
You know what? It’s so misinterpreted on the point (on VH1′s “Heavy: The Story Of Metal”) that I make about that song which was: any time you write a song that stands any test of time, whether it’s a year, a decade, whatever … I’m incredibly grateful that I wrote that song. The fact was that song was completely unplanned. The second record was finished, it was called “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” I was very proud of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” “I Saw Red” and a few other songs on that record.
The Jani Lane VH1 interview (Cherry Pie Guy) where he says:"I hate that song" is >HERE<
It was done, and the president of Columbia Records called me up and he said, “Listen …” and he was a big fan of Aerosmith and said, “I just signed Aerosmith out of Geffen (Records), and I need something, give me sex and standing up and singing along, and no more of this heartbreak stuff. Give me a single.” I literally wrote “Cherry Pie” that night, demoed it the next day, sent it out to him in New York that weekend. He drove around in his car with it. On Monday, we were set up back in the studio and we did the song, and all of a sudden, everything was “Cherry Pie.” I go to the grocery store, and people go, “Hey, Cherry Pie Guy.”
Editors Note: Hasn’t Jani told this same story 100 times in the last 10 years?
People heavily associate you with that song. When they think of Warrant think of the song and the girl in the video (Bobbie Brown). But, even on “Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich,” there were the deeper songs that you seemed more comfortable with …
Yeah, absolutely. “Cherry Pie” was a fun song. Like I said, I wrote it in a day, literally. It was meant to be a fun song, it was completely tongue in cheek, and I got blasted … you know, back in the day, you put out a video like that and people were like, “Oh my God, he has no respect for women.” I’m like, “Wait a minute, I’ve got three sisters, two daughters, a mom and a wife.”It was like, “Hold on a second.”
Now, with the lyrical content in songs today, it makes you laugh that it actually offended anybody. It was a very misinterpreted song. It was meant to be tongue in cheek and fun, and now that a little time has gone by, I think it’s looked at properly. It is what it is: it’s a fun song written in a day and it winds up, because of the video, it winds up being related to … I don’t know. I’ve licensed the song a lot, and it winds up girls dancing to it, used in strip clubs, all that stuff. I believe there was a point where Playboy rated it one of the Top 3 all-time strip club songs, with “Girls Girls Girls,” “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and “Cherry Pie.” I was like, “Thank you.”
You said the record was titled “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” but weren’t there other titles, like “Quality You Can Taste” and “Vertical Smile”?
That’s what I intended to call it. I really like that song. That intro played by my brother … so far, I know an awful lot of good guitarists, and nobody has been able to copy that. And that was him warming up. He was warming up and I told the producer, Beau Hill, to hit record and he hit record, and my brother goes, “Hey, I’m ready.” I go, “We’re done.” He was mad at me for about a year until the record came out, and then he was OK with it.
Playing that song (“Uncle Tom’s Cabin”) live, do you still get the same feeling you did when you recorded it?
I have a funner time playing that song live now than I had back in the day. Back in the day, I always felt like it was an unplanned song that I was forced to write (Note: I think Jani misheard the question and thought I was asking about “Cherry Pie.” Eh, whatever) … I really thought at the time, with the first record, people didn’t get how I wanted the band to be perceived, which was a real rock band. That’s why I wanted to release “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” first. And just to kind of to reestablish this while we still had time before people misinterpreted the band as total fluff.
Unfortunately, “Cherry Pie” got released first, and it sort of continued that attitude toward the band. Then I really rebelled against it on the third record, “Dog Eat Dog.” I said, “I’m just going to write the record I want to write.” And I did. Unfortunately, the timing didn’t work great because grunge came in and it didn’t matter. I could have written “Stairway To Heaven” and no one would have wanted to hear it. Grunge was it.
And a lot of other bad things happened during that time. Our manager died, grunge came in and the label didn’t what to hear what the band had to do. I was frustrated. I was going through a divorce. I decided I was going to leave the band for a while, and the band went through hell with the label, which was really unfortunate. After all of that, after we separated from Columbia, I got back with the band. We did two more records that I really liked, “Ultraphobic” and “Belly To Belly,” but they were darker, going through that grunge time, I was like, “All right, I’m just going to use this as therapy. Get some of my angst out.”
You wrote “Stronger Now” during that time …
That was just me sitting at home, alone, being extremely depressed and going, “You know what? I cannot continue thinking like this.” I read this Nietzsche quote, which was, “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I was like, “You know what? I’m a Beatles fan, I’m sure I can apply this.”
That was a song that happened very quickly too. I’m very proud of that song. I wish that song would have seen the light of day … I wanted that song on “Dog Eat Dog.” Unfortunately, I got voted out on that. It didn’t show up until “Ultraphobic,” but it should have been on “Dog Eat Dog.”
You’ve been quoted as saying as that’s the song you’re the most proud of and called it the best song you’ve ever written.
At that point. I have a lot of new stuff that I really like a lot. I have a new song with Fred Coury called “Changes” that I’m really excited about right now. I just finished up a song called “Soul Connected,” that I think I’m going to title the next record after. Everybody I’ve played it for is flipping, “You’ve got to get in and do this.” Several others I’m really happy about. But, I’m going in such a different direction. I don’t know … if anybody has really followed what I write, it probably won’t be that surprising to them. But, if they pick up my record and all they’ve listened to is “Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich” and “Cherry Pie,” they’re going to be like, “What is this?”
Does the next album continue from where “Back Down To One” left off?
No. It’s miles away from that. “Back Down To One” was a fun project that I did with Keri Kelli. Extremely talented guitarist and a good friend. We just had fun. When I moved to L.A., I was Orange County, I was pop punk, I was playing with all those bands, Lit was called Razzle. There were so many bands down there, and it was a very different vibe than the Warrant vibe. When I joined Warrant, they wanted a particular sound. If you heard the original demos for “Heaven” and “Down Boys” and those kind of songs, they were completely Orange County pop punk. They got 100 percent turned into ’80s rock. Or “monster ballad,” whatever you want to call it.
Editors Note: This sounds familiar too. Jani talking about his Punk past. Lol.
What’s the sound for the next record?
It’s really hard to describe. There’s a lot of singer/songwriter stuff that I like a lot. It probably goes everywhere from my really early, strong influences – Beatles, Bowie, a lot of British Invasion stuff – to some very modern sounding stuff that I like. I like experimental bands, I like bands that have their own sounds, their own style. I’m a big fan of the experimental-ness, I don’t know if that’s a word, of bands like Radiohead. I have a song called “The Thing” that I want to take in that direction. It is a really good song. The old influences are there too. It’s all over the place as far as tempo and feel.
Lyrically, I’m really proud of this stuff. If I get through a verse and a chorus and the lyrics don’t … it’s not a point of them meaning something to me, if I don’t feel something when I’m singing them, I just throw them away. I’ve thrown away so many potential songs in the last year.
How many song do you have laying around at any given time?
At least six or seven. I’m working on a song called “Nothing Left To Be Said” right now … a song called “That’s How We Roll With These Kids” … “Changes,” “Soul Connected,” “Seatbelt,” “Saltwater.” God, I could just whip out a whole list of songs I’m working on right now. And the song for Alice, which I’ve titled “I’d Kill For You,” but who knows? If he gets involved in the lyrics, I don’t know. And first of all, he’s got to like it before we move on. But, I’m excited about it.
Has the new marriage started to seep into the songwriting process at all?
Everybody asks me that. When I write a song, people will go, “Who did you write that about?” You know, there’s just a lot of me and a lot of everybody I’ve met in my entire life … I will say “Soul Connected” and “The Thing” that are very personal to this relationship. Aside from that, it’s just bits and pieces from all through my life, different people I’ve run into. A lot of stuff, like “I Saw Red,” people will go, “Oh my God, you went through that?” I’m like, “No, but I know several people who did. And I have long enough conversations with them to get the gist of how they felt.” I’m certainly not the stud who’s never been walked out on, so I know how that feeling is. A lot of it is story telling.
Does any of the new stuff talk about Warrant at all?
There’s no Warrant reference in it. I’m on pretty good terms with the guys, I’d like to keep it that way. I wish them the best. The guy who have they have singing, Robert Mason, is a friend of mine, he’s an excellent singer. There may come a point down the road where we may want to do some sort of reunion record. So, I always keep a few songs on the burner for that. Basically, they’re doing their thing and I’m doing my thing, and as long as there’s no conflict between us, I think things are much smoother. I wish them the best, I hope they’re doing great.
Has it been nice to have that breathing room (from Warrant)?
It can be nice at times, and then there are times where I miss it. I’ll be completely honest, there are times where I like to perform, I have to make sure … I’ve taken some time. I did a really good show at House Of Blues in L.A., and then I got caught up in a really bad frame of my mind, and did a really horrendous, ridiculous show in Vegas. After that show, I said, “You know what? I’m not going to do this anymore until I figure out how exactly I want to go out on stage.” If I don’t go on stage to enjoy it, then the fans aren’t going to enjoy it, they’re not going to get a good show, they’re not going to come back, and I’m not going to want to come back and do it. So, that’s been, if anything, for my soul searching for me. Also, I’ve had a ton of negative interference in my life from, I’d like to think of a more cerebral term, but just “haters.”
You’ve always seemed to be the type of guy who takes musical criticism very hard. Do you still take criticism hard?
When I was younger, I was like, “Oh my God, what are they saying? They don’t get me, what do I do?” No, I really don’t … especially with the Internet, for God’s sake, everybody who has a laptop or computer in their house has a voice now and voices their opinion very openly and spreads it like the Gospel. You’re never going to please everybody, and now with everybody having access to be able to comment … a lot of people comment without really … I don’t know. It’s a very strange world we live in. It was very different back in the day, when Joe Schmore in Peoria couldn’t open his own website and critique everything and get it heard by people all over the world. It was a very … it’s a double edged sword. I think it’s great that the world is so connected now, but you get a lot of strange stuff is all I can say.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen about yourself on the Internet?
Just all kinds of stuff. A lot of it dealing with personal stuff. For the last two years, there was a woman I was involved with for a brief time by the name of Sheila, who has literally gone on the Internet and through my personal life and … I can’t tell you the stuff she has … she has dragged my wife through the mud. We’ve had property damage, I had to buy security cameras, I just recently had to call the police because she was on my property, looking in my bedroom window. Just crazy, crazy stuff. She influences people with … I can’t even tell you the stories.
What Kimberly makes different from your past love interests (Bobbie Brown, Bekka Bramlett, Rowanne Brewer)?
I dated Bekka for a while, we’re still very good friends. Bobbie and I — her, Kim and I — we met up at my daughter’s high school graduation in New Orleans last month. We had a big shindig. My daughter is going off to college, majoring in journalism. She got two scholarships and I’m very proud. Kimberly gets along fine with Bobbie. My other ex-wife, Rowanne, she lives in North Carolina and we share custody of our daughter. Our daughter is doing wonderfully. This person in particular, this Sheila girl, for two solid years, has talked absolute shit about my family, my wife, my kids. She’s done some really, really mean things. I don’t know where it comes from.
What makes Kimberly different is everything. She is … I say no matter what I have, no matter how many houses, cars, what was in the bank account, what was going on with the band and songwriting, something was always missing. I truly believe it was that, I hate to use a corny term like “soul mate,” but it really is. When you have a connection with somebody and you can come to them and they have a good idea of the difference between tough love and being mean, it’s very good for me. This is a person who is very in control of her life, is her own person and, fortunately for me, is not into the party scene. It’s hard enough to get her to take a Tylenol when she has a fever. That’s an absolutely great person for me to be around at this point in my life. The last year, I’ve suffered some consequences from drinking that I’ve never suffered in my entire life. It’s really made me take a step back and go, “Is this how you want to continue? Is this how you want to finish up?” The answer is no. That’s where the song “Changes” came from.
Those two experiences (INTERVIEWER NOTES: Jani was arrested for DUIs in June 2009 and May 2010. In the latter incident, police alleged he ran his car into a parked vehicle) …
I’ll tell you, one day you think that this is absolutely normal, this is expected, “This has been my lifestyle for 20 years, what’s the problem?” And, all of a sudden, things take a turn, and you go, “I don’t like these consequences. I don’t like how this affects my family, I don’t like how this affects my career, I don’t like how this affects anything.” Then you begin to work.
Was the treatment strictly work or did you go to rehab … ?
I have gone to rehabilitation, absolutely. I know some people who want to be quiet about that kind of stuff, but I am not the kind of person who pride is going to win out over saying, “Hey, I’m honestly getting this in check and fixing this.” It is a very important thing to me. I mean, this just doesn’t affect me like it used to. It affects everything in my life, including the people I love. To be honest, I get tired of giving ammo to the people who don’t wish me well.
How are you doing with managing the drinking?
Absolutely excellent. My wife is incredibly supportive, which helps.
You said your daughter Taylar just graduated high school and is going off to college. What’s that like for you as a dad?
It’s fantastic. We have a great relationship. It’s kind of mind boggling, to be honest. I’m sitting here going, “My God, I remember telling the nurse, ‘No, I’ll carry my baby.’” It’s just very strange to watch them grow up. She is so bright, unbelievable … she’s an incredibly intelligent kid. I can’t even call her a kid. She’s so adult for her age, it’s not even funny. Then my other one, my 12 year old, she’s going to be 13 in November, she is cut from the same cloth. Very imaginative, very bright. I’m just really proud of the fact that my kids are … they amaze me. Neither one of them want anything to do with music at this point, and I don’t push them in that direction.
You were on “Celebrity Fit Club” for a season …
Oh good Lord, you gotta go into that. Yeah, I was.
… do you still continue that type of workout regiment?
No. When I got asked to do the show, I was 6-feet-1-inch and 175 lbs. They said, “Can you blow up for this?” I was like, “My God. I guess so.” I had never done a show like that and didn’t know what to expect, so I blew up to over 190-some lbs. I showed up a total wreck and thinking … being told, being influenced, “This would be great ratings,” that kind of stuff. What it turned into was a matter. The first three episodes, I said, “I’m going somewhere and getting my shit together. I quit.” Of course, I was talked back into coming back, and I said, “I’ll come back, but I’m going to come back completely sober and finish the show the way I want to.” Which I did, the last four episodes. That’s a very difficult position to put yourself in. I don’t know what people think of reality TV, obviously, it’s popular. But, I can tell you having been part of it, you don’t know what to expect, you don’t have a lot of control, a lot of things are taken out of context, you’re not in control of editing or the final cut that’s going to be aired. You get blind-sided. I’m a huge fan of VH1, I love them, but I really wasn’t prepared for what the show was. I kind of blame that on myself, I should have done more research.
Are there any plans to remaster “Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich“?
It was remastered. Whatever Columbia did with it, I have no idea. I think they released it for a day and a half. We got that remastered, and “Cherry Pie” remastered. I’m very upset that … they pretty much decided to pull all of our CDs out of circulation, except for the greatest hits, which was something we were supposed to have some say in and we didn’t. Literally, I was on the bus one night and somebody came up to me with the greatest hits and said, “Did you know you have a greatest hits out?” I said, “No, I did not.”
For the new solo album, have you been getting label interest or will this be something you release by yourself?
I did get label interest with “Back Down To One.” I had that released on Sidewinder Records and they’ve gone out of business. I was on there, Incubus was on there, I think KoRn was on there for a moment, and it just turned out to be run really shoddily. They still owe me money. I think they went bankrupt, I don’t know. That was quite a while ago. The deal didn’t happen the way it was supposed to happen. Unfortunately, it was the latter days of the labels’ existence.
Have you just considered doing the album as online only?
Absolutely. I think that’s what a lot of people are doing. I don’t want to give anything away, but I had a meeting with a fellow the other day who’s produced a lot of big bands going way back in the day. He’s kind of spearheading a new label which is not based on that archaic setup of, “We’re going to loan you a ton of money at an incredibly high interest rate, and then we’ll drop you and keep you in debt for the rest of your life if it doesn’t sell.” It’s more Internet based, it’s more now. That’s what I would like to do with any releases.
As I’ve said earlier, you seem more comfortable with just an acoustic guitar and your voice. Any consideration to doing an acoustic tour?
I just talked to my manager recently and I just talked one of the booking agents I work with recently and I said, “I’d really just like to do acoustic stuff for a little bit. I’ll go out and do the full band thing if it makes sense, but I’d really just like with an acoustic guitar. I’ll bring a couple of people with me and we’ll do some of the Warrant stuff.” If I don’t (play Warrant songs), I’ll … who knows? People will lose their mind at me. I’d also like to be able to play some of the new stuff too and it is a much more comfortable, real setting for me. Having to put on that “Jani Lane” persona that was very capable of doing as a younger guy … now, having to dress up in skintight leather and going out there and grabbing my crotch and flipping the crowd off and that type of stuff, it just doesn’t translate, I don’t think. It works for some guys and that’s fantastic. It doesn’t work for me.
Would it be part of one of the normal package-type tours?
I don’t know about the touring thing. I will do package shows, but touring is … touring is not a healthy environment for me. That’s the best way I can put it. Until it is, I don’t know if I would want to take on a long-term tour. If it worked out that it’s something that I really wanted to do and it was with an artist that I felt good about playing with it, I would consider it. I would have to think that through. As far as going out there and doing a few shows here and there, that’s something I wouldn’t mind doing. I have to focus on making sure that if I say yes to doing a show, that I’m going to show up and do the best show I’m capable of doing and not let any of the other stuff intrude on that and make it a bad experience for me, my family, anyone involved business-wise and especially the fans.
In 2010, how do you see yourself versus a decade or two ago?
Wow. A decade ago I was in a really … sort of not knowing what direction to go in. I knew that the Warrant thing was coming to a close for me at least for the time being and I think that was a mutual thing. It just wasn’t working. I was in a marriage that I felt was doomed, it was a really interesting time. That’s when I moved back to Ohio to be around my mother because I wanted her to be around her granddaughter and I wanted to see her. I didn’t think see would pass away that quick, but I’m really thankful that I moved back there. Now, I’m pretty much focused on the songwriting. I’m really grateful that I’m in a relationship that I can honestly say … I can kind of take a step forward and I’ll go as far as to say, “grow up.” This is it for me. I’m really in love with this person, I want to spend the rest of my life with her. So, I don’t have all that drama going on. I’m thinking completely differently how I want to handle my life, how I want to conduct my life. I’m tired of the consequences, hurting people around me who care about me. I’m tired of not doing what I know I’m capable of doing.
If Jani Lane 2010 could give any advice to Jani Lane 1990, what would that be?
Oh, 1990. Geez, I would give myself so much advice, it’s not even funny. The problem is I don’t know how much of it I would have listened to. I was very much captain of my ship at that time, and didn’t really want a lot of advice from anybody. I don’t know. I would probably tell myself to slow down, and listen to my heart. Go with my gut feeling. My gut feeling since I was 11 years old, has always been right. My first choice has always been right. Then, I think about it, I get inside my head — which is a dangerous neighborhood to into alone — and I rethink and I rethink, and I wind up making a decision which wasn’t my initial first reaction that would have been the right thing to do. Then, I beat the shit out of myself for it. That’s not a good cycle to get into, it’s a very negative cycle. So that’s probably, without trying to get too philosophical, is just, “Do what you know is right. You constitutionally know what is right and wrong for you. Do the right thing, and you won’t wake up with an avalanche of regrets and self-loathing.”
For more on this lengthy interview go check it out >HERE<