Warrant enjoying the spoils of hard work and a classic song catalog

Published on March 25th, 2021

By Jim Dail

The Hollywood rock and roll scene of the ‘80s was a time that saw a sex, drugs and rock and roll culture that is the stuff of legends. And numerous bands hoped their dedication to their craft would land them a record deal that would lead to stardom.

Of course, the emergence of numerous bands that did hit the big time is another trademark of the time, one of which, Warrant, will be heading to the Pechanga Showroom in Temecula with fellow rocker Lita Ford on July 3.

“We are in a good place right now, doing at least fifty shows a year,” said guitarist and founding member Erik Turner. “There’s no pressure so we are just going out there having fun and playing our music and having a good time because there are still four of the original five members of the group.”

Joining Turner are Joey Allen, Jerry Dixon and Steven Sweet, and Robert Mason, who took over lead singer duties in 2008.

The band was formed in Los Angeles in 1984 where they were part of the Sunset Strip scene, signing with Columbia Records. Their debut effort,  hitting the charts with their debut album “Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich,” and hits “Down Boys,” “Sometimes She Cries” and “Heaven,” which went to Number Two on the Billboard Pop charts.

“Growing up, I liked bands and the guitar players,” he said. “I loved Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Queen, and all those bands from the early ‘80s British invasion.”

Realizing that he didn’t have the voice to be a singer, he went with the guitar.

“I love music, and I started to play the guitar and that was it,” he said. “But the great thing is unlike singers I don’t have to worry about my voice disappearing. I can just replace a string if it breaks!”

The band was helped immensely by touring, something Turner still loves to do.

“It really helps the first record because by the time you get back to do a second one, you are completely different musicians because it does something for your confidence and your brain,” he said. “And we were sharing our influences. The bands we grew up with did ballads, fast songs, pop songs, ones that had keyboards. Some liked Sabbath and some liked The Beatles. It all came together.”

And it was singer Jani Lane who was the songwriter.

“We would work the songs together, but we had a great songwriter and singer and he’d come into the room and we’d just start jamming and turn them into Warrant songs,” he said. “It wasn’t until our fourth record when Gary started writing more and I started more.”

The second album, “Cherry Pie,” featured the hit title track and the well-known video that MTV played rather constantly.

“That video was like an all-time anthem,” said Turner. “I was there for one day and that was it, and Jani got a wife out of it. I have always liked it.”

It is clear that Turner has many memories of Lane.

“If the singer doesn’t have some of ‘lead singer disease’ then he’s probably not very good because all the great ones have it,” he said. “In our band, it was a little bit out of whack because the balance of power had us equal on paper and our partnership, but he controlled it.  He wrote the songs, and he was the lead singer. And it caused a lot of problems in the band over the years. And he quit here and there and he’d go home from tours.”

Eventually he was no longer a part of the band and tragically passed away in 2011.

“He needed to just get away from it all and get clean, but it happens in life to thousands maybe millions of people where they just can’t stop,” he said. “It happens in all walks of life, whether you are a singer in a band, a doctor, a janitor. It’s sad. ”

But the band continues and the show still is exciting fans.

“We play music strictly from the ‘Dirty Rotten,’ ‘Cherry Pie’ and ‘Rockaholic’ albums, which are most of the songs that everyone remembers,” he said.

And it still amazes Turner that so many people of all ages enjoy his music.

“There are so many young people who are tuned into our genre as well as ‘70s and’ 60s rock,” he said. “I have a friend with kids in junior high and high school kids and they know all these same songs.”


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