“MY SALUTE TO JANI LANE”
8/13/11 for Rock ‘N Roll Industries Magazine
This article was written by me for Rock ‘N Roll Industries Magazine the night Warrant lead singer, Jani Lane was found dead. He was one the most special friends that I ever had and an even more special friendship through the decades. I felt it was worthy to be one of my very first “Listen” blogs for just that reason. No matter what comes of my blogs, I can always reflect back to this article, and the man who meant not only so much to me, but to so much of the world…
“As I write this, it is only a couple of hours after I was notified of Jani’s passing, one of my best friends who I loved like a brother. Although I was told the circumstances, I’m sure the official reasons will all be out shortly. I’m also sure that there will be an endless amount of people who will say it was no surprise to them, say some negative things about him and so on. It’s no secret he had always fought demons and life was sometimes a constant battle for him, and I knew that more than most.
I wanted to say I was honored to not only know Jani for over 20 years and for us to be so close, but more importantly knowing Jani had very few real friends he trusted, cared about and loved for the way they loved him back and I was one of them.
One of my favorite moments was this past April, 2011, when at my Wedding Reception, in walks Jani, taking a break from being in the studio, just to drop by to give my wife and I his love and best wishes, let alone drop off a very meaningful present. That was the kind of warm soul he was.
My wish is that we all remember Jani for what he left to us through the world of music, and through his music his memory will always live on like so many other great artists. He was not only a gifted songwriter, but an amazing singer & front man and a brilliant musician. Sure many will only remember him as that “Cherry Pie” guy or that “Down Boy”, but it’s his brilliance with such deep songs like “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, and songs filled with such emotion like “I Saw Red”, “Heaven”, “Sometimes She Cries” and “Blind Faith” that we will never forget. Jani was a key part to the music of the 80’s, the great MTV days and more. Already in the hours after his untimely death, musicians from all over the world are pouring in with the sadness of his passing and praise to what a great impact he had on music.
I will be forever grateful we have such incredible music that Jani made, that we all can listen to and enjoy for years to come, as the world of music was a better place with him as a part of it. But I will be more grateful of the man I met so many years ago that became such a deep and caring friend. We thank you Jani for your time here with all of us, and to you my friend, I hope you truly will finally find that peace you always searched for and deserve. To quote you best, “Heaven isn’t too far away, closer to it everyday…”. I know you found your way Jani.”
Now that some time has passed since I wrote this article, there are a few things I would like to add. For one, being friends with all the original members of Warrant, as well for so many years… Jerry Dixon, Erik Turner, Steven Sweet & Joey Allen, AND current lead singer, Terry Ilous (of XYZ fame), I can not commend them more than any one can, for their dedication to the continuation of Warrant, and the job they have done. Every show they perform, keeps the music alive, keeps Warrant relevant, and keeps Jani relevant too. I’m proud To call these musicians friends, but as a fan of their music, it runs even deeper. In a couple weeks is NAMM, the world music convention and I am so proud to be a part of The House Of Blues – Anaheim’s big Friday night show with Warrant.
Another note, since writing that night of Jani’s passing, so much came out, private and public, the cause of his death, rumors, facts, etc. I knew about most all of it. Was interviewed even by law enforcement due to my closeness to the situation. No matter what, none of it will ever bring Jani back. It’s why I always have and will continue to just miss and appreciate my friend, that musician, that genius.
Oh, and lastly, I had so many people ask me what gift did Jani give my wife Nicole and I at our wedding reception. That’s now a two part answer. The owner of The BriXton at that time gave us a customized Dean guitar. Jani offered to sign it to commemorate the occasion. A few other friends that were guests followed suit, including Fred Coury of Cinderella, Dizzy Reed of Guns ’N Roses and Bobby Blotzer of Ratt. Turns out, that happened to be one of Jani’s last things he ever autographed. And that brings us to his personal gift, which I will finally divulge now… it was a Roman Candle, a hand held, long exploding firework that shoots out big balls of fire. Not legal here in So Cal of course, lol. But when he gave it to us, he simply said, it was for us to one night, light, maybe here by the sea, some exotic location, where ever. But more importantly, light it off to watch the sparks fly, to appreciate our love for one another, and even think of him. It touched us, had such meaning as only Jani could have to what others might think was nothing. It never mattered what anyone thought, because we treasured his words and thoughts. To this day in fact, we still have not lit it. I know one day we will. I know we want to. But we’re just not ready, I’m just not ready. It after all was the last physical thing Jani gave to me. So for now it waits to be lit, and when we finally do, maybe I will write about that night too.
The world continues to miss you Jani. We miss you. I miss you.