August 12, 2011
Jani Lane and Cherry Pie
The lead singer of 80's hair metal band Warrant, Jani Lane, was found dead in a Comfort Inn room in the Valley yesterday. 47 years old. Cause of death hasn't been determined yet, but he had problems with alcohol and was in jail last year for DUI.
Like a lot of people my age, I watched the video for "Cherry Pie" several thousand times in the early 90's on MTV. Like a lot of songs from the glam metal era, it is not good, but it's indelibly catchy and uncomfortably memorable, the kind of song that will probably seep into your consciousness for no reason on a regular basis for the rest of your life. Band members say it was written in 15 minutes on a pizza box as an afterthought, when the label said they needed a hit for the album.
The level of blatant sexual innuendo in the lyrics is still a tiny bit shocking to me, even now. Maybe because I was an easily embarrassed 15 year-old when it came out? The song is 100% consistent in its themes and structure and is about only one thing: the singer doing it with his hot, probably underage girlfriend.
The album cover is a perfectly literal visual translation of the idiom suggested by the title, and still makes me laugh, gasp, and roll my eyes all at the same time.
My favorite verse:
Most folks don't 'cause they're too busy bitchin'
Swingin' in there 'cause she wanted me to feed her
So I mixed up the batter and she licked the beater
The other notable thing is Jani Lane's remark about "Cherry Pie" on a VH1 show about metal: "I could shoot myself in the fucking head for writing that song."
Jani did get to marry the girl in the video, Bobbie Brown (which might be the name that best captures the feeling of the late 80's/early 90's, along with Tawny Kitaen.) The video, which is both tame and terrible, was banned by Canada's Much Music for being too sexist (cue Nigel: what's wrong with being sexy?)
Pitchfork has more details on Lane's life in and out of the band, his recent appearance on "Celebrity Fit Club", and tour with the beleaguered Great White. But the sad thing is, when everyone hears about his death today, the first thing they'll think about is "Cherry Pie". RIP, Jani.
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