Warrant was founded in 1984 by vocalist Adam Shore and drummer Max Asher. The pair was soon joined by guitarist Josh Lewis and would play their early shows as a three piece with Shore also supplying bass. The bands first gig was a party opening up for Slash's and Steven Adler's pre-Guns & Roses band Road Crew, also on the bill was future L.A. Guns guitarist Traci Guns' and his early band Pyrus.
Guitarist Erik Turner would join Warrant shortly after being introduced to the band by Asher and Turner's girlfriends in the summer of 1984. Not long after bassist Jerry Dixon joined the act and this formation of Warrant would endlessly gig around the Los Angeles area, opening for bands like Hurricane, Ted Nugent, Stryper, Black 'N' Blue, Odin and Poison.
A couple of years went by and Shore and Asher decide to leave Warrant. They would form a new group called Hot Wheelz with a couple of players who had been in the band Mickey Knight. Within a week of Shore and Asher's departure a friend of the group, Lani Hui Hui, got the band together with drummer Steven Sweet and vocalist Jani Lane who were in the local act Plain Jane. The new arrivals immediately synched with the rest of the group and became permanent members. In a months time the band was back on the club circuit.
Lane (born John Kennedy Oswald) had started his rock 'n' roll career as a drummer in Akron, Ohio. He played in several bands, one of which was fronted by Gigi Hangach who would later show up in Phantom Blue. Another was called Cryren, with vocalist Scott Hammonds, guitarist John Weakland, bassist Dan Hoove with Lane completing the lineup on drums. In 1983, he decided a change of scenery was in order and he relocated to the Sunshine State. In Florida, he first joined Dorian Gray as their drummer before starting his own band, Plain Jane and moving to the frontman position. Joining him in Plain Jane was drummer Steven Sweet. The two would prove to be a successful partnership and would move to California together with the ideas of becoming rock stars.
Lewis would leave Warrant in early 1987. He played in a few bands around Los Angeles, eventually hooking up with high school classmate Kelly Haggerman in Grace Period. The band was vocalist Rail, bassist Mookie, guitarist Tim Perpercy, drummer Haggerman and Lewis on guitar. Grace Period got close to getting a recording deal but at the end of the day the rock and roll lifestyle would cause more problems than the band could overcome and they went their separate ways. Josh is now married, has a daughter and makes his living as a photographer. The love of music has never left him as he is still writing, playing and recording his own material.
Warrant would bring in guitarist Joey Allen to fill Lewis's spot, Turner and Allen had previously been bandmates in a band called Knightmare II. Shortly after Allen's arrival Warrant would play Gazarri's on the Sunset Strip and break the attendance record previously held by Van Halen. Their live show was explosive complete with their signature stage antics of band members carrying each other on their shoulders during songs.
In the fall, they would get an unlikely fan in Prince as he wanted Warrant to record a demo for his record label, Paisley Park Records. Shortly after, they would sign with the management company of Tom Hulet and Associates.
At the beginning of the next year, still as an independent band, they were approached to record a song for the soundtrack to the movie 'Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure'. They recorded the song "Game of War" for the soundtrack, but the song never became part of the official release and the band bought back the rights to the song for $1.
They were building a loyal fan base and a reputation for a fun live show showcased by outrageously sexual flyers promoting their gigs. The word of mouth was fantastic on the band and it would not be long before those factors brought around the record industry.
The labels began to scramble for a piece of the action and in the end, Warrant would ink a deal with Columbia Records and they would snag Beau Hill to produce their debut. Before their album was in stores, they would tour with D'Molls and later Britny Fox.
In February of 1989, 'Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich' would hit shelves. After only a few months, the album would go gold and by years end platinum. It was propelled forward by Warrant jumping on the bill with big names like Paul Stanley, Queensryche, Cinderella, Poison, Kingdom Come, among others. “Down Boys” was released as the first single from the album and made it to a very respectful number 27 on the Billboard Charts. But neither the record label nor the band themselves expected the power ballad "Heaven", to do so well when it was released. It rocketed to number 2 and melted the hearts of many a young girl. Late in the year, they would join the Dr. Feelgood tour with Motley Crue. Warrant stayed on the road for about 18 months, continuously promoting their debut.
When the tour was over, they re-entered the studio and started work on their follow-up album. Again they would enlist Beau Hill as producer for the new recording. 'Cherry Pie' was released early in 1990 and ships gold. The title track was released as the first single, and the video starred actress/model Bobby Brown, who Lane would later marry. The band begins to tour with Poison, but the two groups butt heads and Warrant leaves part way through. In support of 'Cherry Pie', the band would do over 200 shows including a trip to Europe with David Lee Roth early in 1991. This tour was cut short however, as Lane fell through the stage and broke several ribs and so the band returned home. They would also headline a tour of their own; "Blood, Sweat and Beers" would see Trixter and Firehouse opening for Warrant as they criss-crossed the U.S. With the release of the ballad, "I Saw Red", the album was catapulted into the top 10, selling approximately 2.7 million albums.
After their extensive touring, they returned to the studio in 1992 to begin work on their next release. 'Dog Eat Dog', produced by Michael Wagener, once again ships gold, but shows a grittier side to the band and does not reach the same multi-platinum success of their first two recordings. However, the band's harder edge does land them a spot on the Iron Maiden tour of Europe with other support act Lynch Mob, with Warrant also taking part in the Monsters of Rock tour. During this time, Lane finds time to produce Slammin' Gladys self titled debut album. As well Warrant contributes two songs to the movie Gladiator, the very catchy and rockin' "The Power" and a cover of Queen’s "We Will Rock You".
1993 doesn't start too well for the band. Early in the year, Lane decides to leave the group to pursue a solo career planning on going in a more acoustical direction. He started writing with Julian Lennon, Todd Meagher and Paul Taylor (ex-Winger). He recorded a 3 song demo in the summer of that year with Dave White, the keyboardist from the 'Dog Eat Dog' tour, ex-Kingdom Come and Wild Horses guitarist Rick Skier and his bandmate drummer James Kottack. The demo was produced by Shay Baby. Columbia Records and Warrant would part ways during this time, which was no surprise giving the changing musical climate; grunge was all the rage. Also that summer, the band would experience a big loss when longtime manager Tom Hulet dies.
Lane's departure would be short lived and he would return to the group later in the year and they would begin talk of a new album. But the changes for Warrant were just beginning as early the next year Allen would leave, followed a short time later by Sweet. Allen would start the Joey Allen Project which composed Allen on guitar, ex-Jonas Hansson Band vocalist, Stanley Rose, bassist Thumper and drummer Chopper. The band would undergo a lineup change and while they recorded, nothing was ever released to the public.
Warrant would ink a deal with CMC Records in the U.S. and Pony Canyon Records in Japan and start work on their next album. Beau Hill would return to take on producing duties. Rick Steier and James Kottack would join the band to fill the empty spots, both having worked with Lane on his brief solo adventure the year before and rounding out the new lineup was Dave White back again on keyboards.
"Ultraphobic" was released in the spring of 1995, and definitely showed a more mature Warrant, seeing them trying to shake their pretty boy party band status. Critics called it a natural progression for the band from the harder 'Dog Eat Dog'. The band would begin touring to support the new album, ending up going to Japan and Europe as well.
The following year, Kottack leaves the band and is replaced by ex-Beggars & Thieves, Left for Dead drummer, Bobby Borg. The band starts recording a new album early in the year and by summer 'Belly to Belly' is released, this time with the band taking on the production duties. Many fans say this was Warrant's finest work lyrically speaking, showcasing the fine songwriting abilities of Lane, who had proved he could write a memorable ballad, but on their album showed off his ability to write an intense rocker as well.
1997 would see 'Warrant Live 1986-1997' released on CMC International Records. It was recorded at a show in Detroit that year, and showcases all the greatest hits of the band from the beginning. The band would jump on a tour supporting Alice Cooper, along with Dokken and Slaughter. In the fall, the drummer slot would once again be left open as Borg leaves. He was replaced by ex-Enuff Z' Nuff drummer Vikki Foxx as the band tours the Midwest of the U.S.
Rumors start to fly the next year about the original lineup of Warrant coming back together, but that's all it would be was a rumor. Warrant ends their association with CMC International and is without a label, but this doesn't stop them. They jumped on the "Rock Never Stops" tour with Slaughter, Firehouse, Quiet Riot and L.A. Guns. In September, Foxx leaves the band and Danny Wagner takes over on drums. A month later, Turner who had not been touring with the band but still an active member, rejoins the rest of the boys on the road. Lane takes time to release his solo album 'Jabberwocky' with Steier, Wagner, Bruce Robinson and Jeff Klaven (ex-Krokus) helping out. Turner also releases 'Demos for Diehards', a collection of songs from Warrant demo recordings.
In 1999, 'Latest and Greatest' is released. The album is a combination of new songs as well as the band's more popular songs re-recorded. Members of Warrant also take part in an all star album project called Hollywood Underground. Other big names in the industry to lend their talents to the project are Jeff Scott Soto, Butch Walker and Jesse Hart, both formerly of Southgang, Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger), Todd Poole (Roxy Blue), Tommy Thayer (Black n Blue), David Brooks (Slammin Gladys), Bruce Naumann (Hericane Alice), Michael Mulholland (Medicine Wheel) and ex-Keel, Cold Sweat guitarist Marc Ferrari.
Yet another change of lineup would strike Warrant as the new millennium started, as Steier and Wagner would both leave. Steier would join up with former bandmate Kottack in his band Krunk with his wife and Tommy Lee's sister, Athena. Former Guns n Roses drum tech, and ex-Dad's Porno Mag drummer Mike Fasano would be brought in, along with guitarist Keri Kelli (Big Bang Babies/Pretty Boy Floyd/Ratt). Together, this lineup would start touring, joining the summer tour with Ratt and L.A. Guns. Not long into the tour, Kelli would leave and is replaced by Billy Morris (ex-Kidd Wicked, Jeannine St. Clair, The Glorious Things). Lane would find time away from Warrant to front a club jam band called Phucket with Ratt mates guitarist Kelli, bassist Robbie Crane and drummer Bobby Blotzer.
Members of Warrant would lend their talent to several tribute albums including a Judas Priest and Bon Jovi tribute. 2001 would see the band getting on a summer tour with Poison, and once again the partnership was cut short, but this time it was because Poison bassist, Bobby Dall injured his back. Warrant would finish the summer touring with Ratt in support of their new release, 'Under the Influence' which was a collection of cover versions of some classic rock songs. The following summer Warrant is part of the "Metal Edge Rockfest" tour. There are 2 months of dates set with Warrant, L.A. Guns, Ratt, and Firehouse opening for headliners Dokken. It would be so well received by fans that the tour was extended to include a second leg that would have the bands on the road into September.
Lane, working with guitarist Matt Cleary, bassist Mark Matthews, and drummer Adam Mercer would release another solo album, 'Back Down To One'. Fasano added his sticks to 'Splashed' the new release by German band Shameless. Morris takes time to go into the studio to work with Black n Blue vocalist Jamie St. James, in hopes of starting a new project. And it wasn't long before he too would leave Warrant, leaving the guitarist position open once again. This doesn't stop the band from taking part in the 2003 U.S. tour called "Rock Never Stops". Warrant, along with Slaughter and Kip Winger set out on the road to support headlines and rock giants Whitesnake.
Early 2004, Lane announces that he has ended his association with Warrant and intends to pursue his solo career in a more active way. About a month later Allen is back in the band to fill the empty guitar spot. The band went looking for a new frontman and decided on ex-Black 'N' Blue vocalist Jamie St. James to fill the vacancy. About a month later, another original member is back as Sweet returns. The new Warrant lineup is set; the original members are back together with fresh blood on vocals.
They released 'Then And Now,' a collection of their top 40 hits live and some recent singles in 2004. In April, re-mastered versions of 'Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich' and 'Cherry Pie' hit the shelves. The albums are released with 2 bonus tracks on each, with demo versions "Only Man" and "All Night Long" on 'DRFSR' and from the Gladiator soundtrack "The Power" and demo version "Game Of War" on 'Cherry Pie'.
Warrant released "Born Again" in 2006 and hit the road once more. After touring for the release St. James would leave the band to finish the long anticipated and delayed Black N' Blue release "Hell Yeah!".
Warrant recruited ex-Lynch Mob vocalist Robert Mason in 2008. With Mason on board the band released the 2011 Frontiers Records CD "Rockaholic".
On August 11, 2011 Jani Lane was found dead in his room at a Comfort Inn in Woodland Hills, California. Alcohol and prescription medications were found in the hotel room. L.A. County coroner's office stated the cause of death to be from acute ethanol intoxication. (R.I.P.)
Josh "Lewis" Cohen