Last updated: 05/03/2012 12:00:00 PM
ERIK TURNER—Rhythm Guitar
BILLY MORRIS—Lead Guitar
It's been more than a decade since Warrant erupted onto the national scene in 1989, and a lot has happened since. Grunge came and went. Rap-rock came and went. And now a new breed of punk-laced, radio-friendly rock has flooded the market faster than the dirty rotten filthy stinking rich powers that be can even count their cash. Yes, the music business has been through a lot in the past 13 years, but at least we have something to show for it—The true spirit of rock 'n' roll, as championed by the band's that have bucked trends and defied the odds by remaining true to their course. If Warrant aren't at the top of that list, it's only because they got tired of waiting around for recognition and headed back out on the road. True rock 'n' roll isn't dead, it's just a lot harder to find… But not if Warrant can help it.
With worldwide album sales approaching the ten million mark, and a laundry list of Top 40 radio singles that includes "Cherry Pie," "Heaven," "Down Boys," "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "Sometimes She Cries," Warrant may be out of mind to radio programmers flocking to cash in on their modern rock flavors of the month, but they aren't out of sight of their fans. Hot of the heels of last summer's blockbuster tour with Poison, Warrant are following up with like-minded package run this summer, sharing co-headlining status with Ratt, Dokken, Firehouse and L.A. Guns on the Metal Edge Rock Fest. "It was great being in arenas again on last year's tour, but I think this year's tour is going to be even more of an event," says bassist Jerry Dixon. "People are going to be coming earlier, staying later, and drinking more—There's no real headliner, per say, so they're not going to be pulling in to hear the last band. They'll make a day of it, and they'll be hearing hits all day long."
If Warrant and their like-minded, hard-rockin' peers have learned anything over the past few years, it's that there's power in numbers—Whether you call it nostalgia, hair rock, a flashback, or just plain rock 'n' roll, it's striving, and Warrant are proud to be at the head of the pack. "I think this music has finally gotten old enough to be cool again… Just like bellbottoms," continues Dixon with a laugh. "Everyone finally stopped laughing and said, 'Actually, that's kind of cool.' We took a lot of punches over the years, but I'm glad we stuck it out and lasted—Our approach to music is to just have a good time, and especially with everything that's going on in the world, people don't want to be bummed out anymore. We know the problems are there just like everyone else does, but when we're onstage, Warrant's about having a good time."
While the noticeable lack of rock stars and rock songs may be a big factor in the resurgence of bands that where around long before Linkin Park even picked up a guitar, Warrant frontman Jani Lane has another theory… "All those kids whose parents were into grunge when they were growing up? Well, they're just now getting old enough to want to listen to the music their parents hate!"
Whatever the reason, the crowds are coming out in full force, and Warrant's demand as a live act has continued to grow over the past few years, culminating in their slot as a co-headliner on this year's summer tour. "I think people's musical tastes are a lot more varied than people think," says guitarist Erik Turner of the band's blossoming fan base. "I'm really surprised by how many younger fans are out there at our shows—Some of them could be our kids… Maybe they are! We see and meet a lot of high school kids who are coming to our shows and checking us out for the first time."
And why not? Especially when the very stations that turn Alien Ant Farm and Crazy Town into Top 40 pop superstars continue to play "Heaven" and "Cherry Pie" in frequent rotation. And while radio programmers are apprehensive to show their support to new songs from established acts—Jani Lane will be releasing his first solo album this summer, and Warrant will follow with their sixth studio album early next year—the bands are feeling the love from the up-and-coming bands. "When grunge hit, there was a definite backlash, but now we're seeing bands who like Warrant, and aren't afraid to mention Warrant in interviews," continues Turner, citing OZZfest kingpins and Warrant fans Drowning Pool, as well as pop-rockers New Found Glory.
But even if radio were to swing full-circle, offering the same support they did more than a decade ago, the band still wouldn't turn their backs on their past. "There's a lot to be said about being nostalgic, but I think it's great, and the best thing that can happen to a band," offers Dixon. "Let's be honest—If you were to start in this business, and someone would promise that your band would survive for as long as we have, then be considered nostalgic and be able to tour amphitheaters 17 years later, would you take it? Of course you would! Nobody wants to be a one hit wonder… Playing for as long as we have, we could write the next white album, and people would still be screaming, "'Cherry Pie!'"—We left a mark, and fucked up enough people to make a difference, and that's good enough for me."