Jani Lane

Jani Lane (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Jani Lane (February 1, 1964 " August 11, 2011) was an American recording artist and the lead vocalist, frontman, lyricist and main songwriter for the hard rock band Warrant. From Hollywood, California, the band experienced success from 1989-1996 with five albums reaching international sales of over 10 million. Lane left Warrant in 2004 and again in 2008 after a brief reunion. Lane also released a solo album Back Down to One in 2003 and the album Love the Sin, Hate the Sinner with a new group Saints of the Underground in 2008. Lane contributed his lead vocals and song writing to many various projects throughout his career.

Childhood and youth

Jani Lane was born John Kennedy Oswald (later changed to John Patrick Oswald), on February 1, 1964 in Akron, Ohio. The youngest of Eileen and Robert Oswald's five children, John grew up just east of Akron in Brimfield Township along with his older brother (Eric) and 3 older sisters (Marcy, Michelle, and Victoria). Eric was an accomplished guitarist; Lane himself learned to play drums at age 6 with his brother guiding and teaching him. Lane grew up listening to Cleveland rock station WMMS (100.7 FM, "The Buzzard"), and was introduced to various bands by his family, and parents Bob and Eileen. Lane played drums under the name "Mitch Dynamite" in clubs by age 11 ("Mitch Dynamite" is listed as the drummer in the credits for Warrant's Latest and Greatest CD). Throughout the years, Lane would sometimes jump behind the kit to play with his band, and he had played the drums in various formats and gigs.

By the time Lane was 11, his siblings had left for college or marriage except Vicky. He graduated from Field High School in 1982.


Early years

After graduating from high school, Lane joined the band Cyren, featuring vocalist Skip Hammonds, guitarist John Weakland, bassist Don Hoover (and later, Rusty Fohner), with Lane on drums. After making a name for himself and his band in Ohio, he relocated to Florida in 1983, Lane played drums for Dorian Gray, before forming Plain Jane with future Warrant bandmate Steven (Chamberlin) Sweet. It was at this time that Lane adopted the stage name "Jani Lane." Lane got the name from his German grandparents' pronunciation and spelling of Johnny as "Jani." They said it as Yay-nee and that stuck. While playing drums with Dorian Gray, Lane began vocal training with Central Florida vocal coach/trainer Ron Feldman. Feldman introduced Lane to Creative Engineering, Inc. in Orlando where he worked as a programmer of the animatronic character, Dook LaRue, the drummer for the Rock-afire Explosion. His vocal debut was at Fern Park Station in Fern Park, Florida.

Lane and Sweet later relocated to Los Angeles, California, where they took various odd jobs to survive. Struggling to make ends meet as a musician, Lane resorted to working in a pornographic video warehouse.

By 1986, Plain Jane had become a regular feature in the L.A. club circuit. Erik Turner, who had founded Warrant in July 1984, was impressed by Plain Jane's songwriting and vocal performance, and invited Lane and Sweet to jam with his band at Hollywood's db Sound in September 1986.


After generating notoriety on the club circuit, Warrant began to attract the attention of record labels. Following an abortive deal with A&M records over a contribution to the soundtrack for the motion picture Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, the band signed with Columbia Records. The Columbia deal came via the partnering of Warrant and manager Tom Hullet (known for working with The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, and others). Tom became Lane's mentor and friend until his death from cancer in 1993.

As lead vocalist with Warrant, Lane wrote all of the bands material including four Top 40 hit singles: "Down Boys", "Sometimes She Cries", "Big Talk" and the #2 Billboard Hot 100 hit "Heaven" for Warrant's debut double platinum album Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich in 1989, which peaked at number 10 on The Billboard 200. Lane also wrote another four Top 40 hit singles: "Cherry Pie," "I Saw Red," "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "Blind Faith" for the second album, the double platinum Cherry Pie in 1990, which peaked at number 7 on the Billboard 200. Lane also co-wrote and performed with Warrant the song "The Power" in the 1992 movie Gladiator. The band also released their third album in 1992, the critically acclaimed Gold record Dog Eat Dog which peaked at number 25 on the Billboard 200.

Lane left Warrant in March 1993 to pursue a solo career but returned to the band in September 1994, helping the band to secure a new record with Tom Lipsky of CMC International. The band then recorded Ultraphobic in 1995, Belly to Belly in 1996, Greatest & Latest in 1999 and a cover album Under the Influence in 2001.

Due to personal and business disagreements, Lane left Warrant in 2004. In January 2008, the band's agent, The William Morris Agency issued a new photograph of the band with Lane prominently featured, confirming his return to the band. It was the first time that all original members had been in the band since 1993. The band's first show with all original members was in May 2008 in Nashville. Warrant then performed a series of shows during the summer of 2008, but by September 2008, Warrant and Lane agreed to move forward separately, due to "too much water under the bridge." Warrant and Lane both continued to perform Lane's compositions live and Lane continued to write for himself and other artists.

Solo career

Lane became involved in acting in the early 1990s. He made a brief appearance in Caged Fear, and also appeared in High Strung in 1991.

Between 1997 and 2000, demos of Lane's solo material began surfacing on the Internet, with some bids on eBay reaching an estimated $US100.00 per copy. The project, titled Jabberwocky, represented a significant musical departure from Lane's previous work. The CD has never been officially released.

Lane lent his vocals to numerous tribute CDs during the beginning years of 2000. Lane also had success with the VH1 Metal Mania Stripped discs where an acoustic version of "I Saw Red" is on disc 1, and an acoustic swinging version of "Cherry Pie" is on disc 2.

Lane's official debut solo album, Back Down to One, was released on June 17, 2003 through Z Records and (2006) in the US on Immortal/Sidewinder Records. It carried a "power pop" sound which was more closely aligned with the sound of Warrant than the unreleased Jabberwocky project. Shortly after the albums release Lane was admitted to a rehab center for alcohol and drug-related exhaustion.

In August 2004, Lane withdrew from the Bad Boys of Metal tour after only eight shows.

In Fall 2004, Lane contributed the lead vocals for the first ever theme song to a novel, The Devil of Shakespeare, by author, Billy McCarthy, along with JY from Styx, Ron Flynt 20/20, Chip Z'Nuff of Enuff Z'Nuff.

Lane contributed vocals on the track "Bastille Day" and "2112 Overture/Temples Of Syrinx" for the Magna Carta 2005 Rush tribute album Subdivisions.

In 2005, Lane was featured on VH1's Celebrity Fit Club 2. In 2007 Lane released a solo cover album titled Photograph.

Keri Kelli and Lane wrote a song for Alice Cooper, titled, "The One That Got Away." It was recorded by Cooper on his 2008 record, Along Came a Spider. Lane also finished work on his side project, Saints of the Underground. This project also consists of Bobby Blotzer and Robbie Crane (both from Ratt), and Keri Kelli (from Alice Cooper). Their album, Love the Sin, Hate the Sinner was released on April 22, 2008 by, Warrior Records and was mixed by legendary producer/engineer Andy Johns, who worked with such bands as The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, and also featuring additional bass work by Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot, House of Lords) .

In summer 2010, Lane toured with Great White, filling in for singer Jack Russell, who was recuperating from surgery after suffering internal complications.


On August 11, 2011, Lane was found dead of acute alcohol poisoning at a Comfort Inn hotel in Woodland Hills, California. He was 47 years old.

A public memorial concert for Lane "? with performances by fellow metal rock bands, including Great White, Quiet Riot and L.A. Guns "? was held on Monday, August 29, 2011 at the Key Club in Hollywood, California.

Lane will be the subject of a new biopic. Cherry Pie Guy will be directed by Jeff Dandurand and will focus on Lane arriving in Hollywood in 1985.


With Warrant

  • 1989 Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich
  • 1990 Cherry Pie
  • 1992 Dog Eat Dog
  • 1995 Ultraphobic
  • 1996 Belly to Belly
  • 1997 Warrant Live 86-97
  • 1999 Greatest & Latest (New versions)
  • 2001 Under the Influence

  • 2002 Back Down to One
  • 2007 Photograph (cover album)
With Saints of the Underground

  • 2008 Love the Sin, Hate the Sinner
With Liberty N Justice

  • 2007 Addiction
  • 2011 Sin (Single)

  • 1992 Gladiator OST: "We Will Rock You" (Queen cover)
  • 1992 Gladiator OST: The Power
  • 2001 Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure OST : "Game Of War"

Other Work

  • 1998 Forever Mod: Portrait of a Storyteller - Tribute to Rod Stewart: "I Was Only Joking"
  • 1999 Not The Same Old Song And Dance - A Tribute to Aerosmith: "No Surprise"
  • 2000 Tribute to Van Halen 2000: "Panama"
  • 2000 Cheap Dream: Cheap Trick Tribute: "I Want You to Want Me" (The Mission UK Remix)
  • 2000 Leppardmania- A tribute to Def Leppard: "Photograph"
  • 2005 Hell Bent Forever - A tribute to Judas Priest: "Electric Eye"
  • 2005 Metal Mania Stripped VH1: "I Saw Red"
  • 2005 VH1 Classic Metal Mania Stripped 2: Anthems "Cherry Pie"
  • 2005 Subdivisions: A Tribute to Rush: "2112 Overture/Temples of Syrinx", "Bastille Day"
  • 2006 A Tribute to Bon Jovi: "Lay Your Hands on Me"
  • 2007 Monster Ballads Xmas : "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
  • 2008 Led Box - The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Tribute: "The Ocean"
  • 2010 Siam Shade Tribute: "1/3 no Junjou na Kanjou"
  • 2011 Sin-Atra: A Metal Tribute To Frank Sinatra: "That's Life"


As Jani Lane

  • 1991 Voices That Care (Various) U.S. #11, U.S. AC #6 CAN #61 non-album song

Music videos

Year Video Director
1991 Voices That Care (As Jani Lane) (Various) David S. Jackson

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