Monday, August 15, 2011
Jani Lane, the former singer of Warrant, died last week somewhere in a Comfort Inn, somewhere in California. I stopped celebrating Jani's music sometime after the 7th grade, so I can't say I was heartbroken but it did remind me of my brief hair metal fandom and how all signs indicated I wasn't long for a world ruled by leather trousers adorned with codpieces, men with pursed lips and Tom Keifer. Tom Keifer is the lead singer of Cinderella. Tom was created in a lab by combining the DNA of an ugly woman and a Steven Tyler scarf for he is both not a looker and dresses like a gypsy.
Hair metal was mostly tuned to the frequencies emitted from eager groins and that was never disputed. Yet all the sexually charged innuendo flew high over my head as my naivete is strong and knows no limits. I watched the video for "Cherry Pie" and thought, "These guys must really love desert, particularly cherry pie." Or my enormous poster of Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue wearing a shirt that said "Suck it". I'd look at the poster of Nikki and think "Yeah Nikki, you tell em' to suck it, whoever they happen to be and regardless of what "it" was."
You got the sense that hair metal bands lacked quality control, or any inkling that their demise was nigh with the release of Nevermind. And why or how could they? They were occupied with more pressing issues like fitting into leather pants, shipments of Aqua Net by the crate full, and stretching the traditional limits of mother and daughter relationships. And yet, for all the glory Warrant and their ilk enjoyed for the lion's share of the 80's and sliver of the nineties, there's was a temporal sound simply because it was all groin based, lacking thought or sincerity. It breaks down like this:
If the Talking Heads, Paul Simon, Radiohead, Tool, etc...are the brains of music; Sam Cooke, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, etc..are the heart of music; The Clash, MC5, Public Enemy, etc..are the hands, namely the middle fingers of music; you could continue working your way down to the rectum and that's where you'd find Warrant, lining the rectum of music.
But I guess I feel sorry for Jani Lane after seeing an interview where he talked about being coerced into writing a song similar in style to "Love In An Elevator" while never anticipating that the song he'd write "Cherry Pie", would come to define him, saying that he could shoot himself in the head for having written that song. I dunno, I think that's harsh. That song about "whip my hair back and forth" is equally terrible. Everything Creed ever laid to wax is horrendous. There's plenty of things to be more ashamed of than writing "Cherry Pie" like: Bad breath, and by that I mean halitosis. A real cringe inducing breath. Or baloney. It deserves disdain. Or guys that wear clown wigs to sporting events.
If Jani Lane had never penned his Cherry flavored opus, then the strippers of the world would still be resorting to the ever weary, old stand by of "Girls, Girls, Girls" to shake down hapless married men to. Let's assume said strippers heart is aglow whilst dancing to Motley Crue's musical ode to those who disrobe publicly in three minute intervals, isn't that what matters most? Making a stripper's heart glow? Well, that and incorporating a third tier desert into a rock song. I realize there's nothing sexually charged about tiramisù or a cannoli but they both have it all over cherry pie. I realize I'm digressing, but still, my brain never got past how gross literal cherry pie is. Maybe that's why I never full embraced "Cherry Pie" in the first place.
So Jani, where ever you may be, I hope your afterlife is a non-stop reiteration of 1990, and you never have to face up to having written a song just slightly worse than "I Touch Myself".
Your former fan, turned sympathizer, LMF