When Warrant, the Hollywood glam metal band came crashing on the scene in 1989 with their debut album Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinkin’ Rich, I was immediately hooked. The red hot guitars of Erik Turner and Joey Allen were complemented nicely in the backend by bassist Jerry Dixon and drummer Steven Sweet.
But the key for me was vocalist Jani Lane. He hit soaring, anthemic highs that could make you swoon but also had a low-end grumble that rivaled an old 50s muscle car.
Aside from this, what made them so great was just how spectacular they were live. I got to see them open for Motley Crue in 1989 in support of DRFSR and again for Poison in 1990 for Cherry Pie. Unlike what happens in most concerts where the stadium is barely occupied during the opening act, people were there to see Warrant just as much as they were for Crue or Poison. And the boys thanked the crowd by getting them beyond fired up.
My dad, who had to drive me to the 1990 show because I still wasn’t of legal driving age, remembers the concert to this day. It wasn’t his cuppa in terms of musical style, but he said it was a lot of fun.
And isn’t that all that really matters?
When Jani died a handful of years ago, I was gutted. Since the late 90s, he had been on and off with the rest of the band and had battled weight issues and whatnot, but I still loved him and his voice. Warrant isn’t the same without him no matter how hard Robert Mason tries. Yes, the band is still together and even released a new album this year.
Warrant remains a go-to band for me on Spotify. They might actually be one of my most listened to bands.
But my go-to song when I listen to them? “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” detailing a fictional fishing trip with a literal Uncle Tom in the woods gone horribly awry when they secretly witness the town sheriff and deputy dump a dead body in a nearby well. The song employs a then-unique musical approach for the genre including a very prominent banjo.
I can listen to this song over and over.
I can go years without hearing it and come back like no time has passed at all.
It feels new and yet like an old warm blanket every time wrapped around you making you snicker a little each time you hear the name Sheriff Tom Brady as the killer.
My Favorite Song, indeed.