Jani Lane, lead singer of the bestselling ’90s L.A. hair-metal band Warrant, was found dead of unknown causes in a Woodland Hills, Ca., hotel on Aug. 11. He was 47.
Born John Kennedy Oswald in Akron, Lane was a veteran of Ohio and Florida metal bands when he formed Plain Jane with drummer Steven Sweet. The musicians relocated to L.A. in the late ’80s, and they attracted the attention of guitarist Erik Turner, the founder of Warrant, who drafted them to join his band.
With Lane fronting the act, Warrant became a popular Sunset Strip act, and was signed to Columbia. The band’s debut ”Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich” (1989) and sophomore release ”Cherry Pie” (1990) both went double-platinum; the former spawned the No. 2 single ”Heaven,” while the latter contained the top 10 entries ”Cherry Pie” and ”I Saw Red.”
Warrant’s popularity did not outlast the vogue for glammed-up metal, and the group’s third album ”Dog Eat Dog” (1992) peaked at No. 25. Lane exited the group in 1993, but returned for two more tours of duty and cut four indie-label albums with the band, none of which made the charts. In 2008, he split for good, and was replaced by Robert Mason.
Lane released a solo project, ”Back Down to One,” in 2003. He later fronted Saints of the Underground, a unit featuring veterans of Ratt and Alice Cooper’s band, and stood in for vocalist Jack Russell on Great White’s 2010 tour.
Lane was arrested for drunk driving in 2009 and 2010, and was sentenced to four months in jail for the latter offense.
He’s survived by his wife, Kimberly, and two daughters.