By New Times
By Derek Askey
By Mark Deming
By Serene Dominic
By Jason Keil
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
Here's to the girl with the little red shoes,
She likes to party,
She likes the booze,
She lost her cherry, but that's no sin,
Thank God, she's still got the box the cherry came in.
-- from Warrant's official Web site
With the same courage we'd imagine a fly would use in an attempt to copulate with a rat, Warrant rejects the notion that there isn't a soul on Earth the least bit interested in it. So, in spite of the amount of self-deception we think is at play, Warrant deserves a merit badge for its stubborn persistence in continuing to plod forth. And truly, how well we can fool those above us on the ladder of social hierarchy into thinking that we are both brilliant and dazzling, then selling out to the highest bidder, is how we measure our success and, therefore, self-worth.
It's really fucked up.
Which brings me back to Warrant. We all remember Warrant, right? It was the band whose wardrobe defended the integrity of blond bimbos the nation over. It was also the band whose songs defended the integrity of blond bimbos the nation over.
Well, the other day, Warrant singer Jani Lane called up wanting to talk about Warrant's new record and stuff. Lane is the guy responsible for songs like "Cherry Pie," "Heaven," "I Saw Red" and "Uncle Tom's Cabin." The new record is called Greatest & Latest and has all those aforementioned songs, only rerecorded. There are even some bonus tracks with wacky techno remixes. Right.
Anyway, Lane started getting irate and cut off the interview not long after he called.
Bill Blake: What's up, dude?
Jani Lane: I'm calling you from the back room of a music store because I had to run down here because we ran out of drum heads. Such is my glamorous life.
BB: Yeah, no more drum techs!
JL: (long pause) So what's up, bro?
BB: What is your take on current radio? And why is it that nobody plays Warrant records anymore?
JL: It's a little bit confused. Obviously, they went through the alternative and grunge thing for a while, which gave them something to really sink their teeth into. Then comes the more poppy stuff with Smash Mouth and Sugar Ray. Then there are stations that can't decide whether they want to be pop rock or classic rock. Then you have stations playing straight-up rock 'n' roll like Marvelous 3 or Buckcherry or Lit, but they're still calling it "alternative" so they can play it. And it's tough for a lot of stations to play -- I mean, metal-rap is huge.
BB: So what do you think of Limp Bizkit and Korn?
JL: I dunno. I've only heard two Limp Bizkit songs and one was a cover. They appeal to all the metal heads, which is cool. Those kids gotta have something to rock out to.
BB: C'mon, you must have some take on the horrible rap-metal brigade. I mean, you can't have only heard two Limp Bizkit songs. That's crazy. You can't even go to the supermarket without hearing that shit.
JL: Oh, it's huge right now. It's definitely the flavor of the day.
BB: Why did you go back and rerecord your old hits for Greatest & Latest (Deadline/Cleopatra Records)?
JL: The reason we went back and rerecorded those songs is because we were asked to. We just rerecorded everything from scratch. I played drums, which was fun for me.
BB: What's it like to sell millions of records, then suddenly not?
JL: Just imagine being a CEO at a company, then being demoted down to the mail room. Then you either have to find another job or work your way back up because you still think you should be a CEO.
BB: With true rock 'n' roll stars -- the real ones, guys like Marc Bolan, Keith Richards, Steven Tyler, etc. -- do you think there was a feeling that nothing else in life existed for them? And that what made them great had a lot to do with some inherent attribute?
JL: Well, now they'd be working a job. First of all, there are a gazillion talented guys out there. If you're signed and making money, you are lucky. If you say that you are the greatest cat in the world, that's bullshit because there are guys in the basement that can blow you off the stage.
BB: No, bro, you misunderstood my point. What I was asking was, do you think those guys were great because they weren't faking it? That they had that one thing that couldn't be learned in some music school or willed into the head?
JL: When those guys came out, there was no competition, there was no, "Shit, man, we better come up with a hit record or we better come up with a radio single." It was, "We are the fucking Stones, here's our record, play it." Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way anymore. So because I'm not selling records, am I supposed to stop doing what I have been doing since I was 11 years old?
BB: Well, obviously, there are people that say, "Warrant? Jesus, give it up." What do you say?
JL: Who considers what worthwhile? It's a matter of opinion. You may actually hate Warrant. But there are also people who love Warrant.
BB: Who says I hate Warrant?
JL: But I don't care either way because I am going to continue doing what I do. If somebody doesn't like Warrant, they shouldn't waste their time talking about the band. Be positive. That was the one thing I hated about the '90s' alternative grunge scene, because it wasn't music, it was therapy. You know, "I suck; I'm a creep; life sucks; kill me 'cause I'm a loser." That's not rock 'n' roll to me either.
BB: Well, what do you tell people who say you should just quit?
JL: I don't have to deal with that because I don't talk to those people, and they usually don't want to talk to me.
BB: Nobody brings up that kind of stuff when you're doing press?
JL: What, that I should quit? No. Usually it's all kept pretty positive. Because, first of all, who can predict what will happen in 2000? Being 34, I don't think I'm walking with a walker yet.
BB: In the band's heyday, there were rumors that you guys had pissed through all of your money really quickly. What happened?
JL: What happened with what? (obviously angry) Where do you get these rumors? You sound like a guy who sits on the Internet getting rumors and taking this thing and turning it into a relatively negative interview. (Editor's note: To the best of our knowledge, Bill Blake does not have a computer. We receive his submissions handwritten on brown paper bags, the kind that normally house 40ouncers.)
BB: Nah, bro. I just want you to answer a couple of questions. This is fascinating stuff, really.
JL: Well, you are (being negative) whether you realize it or not. (calming down) What anybody did in Warrant I have no idea because we all had separate accountants. I did go through a divorce and a two-million-dollar lawsuit with our merchandise company and Sony, which, yes, did hurt me. But am I poor? No. So I don't know what you mean by pissing through a lot of money.
BB: Oh, sorry. So I heard you play golf? What do you say to people who say golf is for pussies?
JL: Now who says golf is for pussies (angry again)? I would bet you some of the guys from Limp Bizkit play golf.
BB: I hate Limp Bizkit.
JL: So, anyway, you think you got enough, bro? I gotta go. Bye.
A Love Like Ours
A lot of people have wondered what happened to Barbra Streisand and that dude she married who was the possessed and murderous dad in The Amityville Horror. Some, like me, were probably hoping that maybe the dude had an Amityville flashback and took to Streisand's torso and skull with an ax, hewing her to tiny bits that he later served in the egg rolls at his agent's kid's bar mitzvah.
(Bad Boy Entertainment)
Rap's supposed disdain for white power structure was such a load of balderdash. Current stars like Puff Daddy, Snoop Dogg and LL Cool J resemble nothing more than a bunch of pathetic, rich white dudes who parade trophy booty, puff daddy-size cigars and substantiate feeble manhoods with silly attention-seeking devices like stupid cars, hideous mansions and an improving golf game. (In fact, pop's softest, whitest underbelly, Christopher Cross, even collaborates on "Forever" -- a move that rests this case.)
What's more, Puff and the rest of rap's current Armani-clad chart-toppers have deftly defied their populace by investing in value systems that lie solely in the want of indefatigable bank accounts. It's corporate Robin Hoodism; ripping off the poor and Fed-Exing it to the rich. It's Greed Rap, the biggest and most powerful genre in pop. If Ronald Reagan were still in office, rest assured that Puff and stuff would be frequent White House guests, giving private concerts for the Gipper and his Sinatra-knobbing first lady.
What's worse is Puff and stuff have got a bunch of illiterate and ugly suburban white boys emulating them, hence the bridge of bad metal and greed rap. (But take heart in the fact that Fred Durst's premature jiggles of midlife fat, suspect hairline and bevy of tats will ensure that he resembles a 50-year-old Tennessee trucker before his 30th birthday.) Rap, like rock 'n' roll, was supposed to be an antidote for corporate cock-sucking, not its trouble-shooting handbook. In the end, it all varies little from the Backstreet Boys, just an inconsequential void from which every third-rate cliché is mined beyond reason.
While a gallant effort was made to make something of this turd, it's really just Soundgarden in dress slacks. A lot of vacant Elton John/Fab Four misses weighed down with lines like "I'm drinking dust/With eyes of rust/Tonight my tears might stain your wings/So flutter home." Titles such as "Sweet Euphoria" are tossed about like so many old Uriah Heep records. Big deal, the guy finally listened to the Beatles. Welcome to "Golden Slumbers."
Post Orgasmic Chill
For something as irredeemable as this, at least one moronic A&R dweeb had to have been overheard in some Virgin Records office crowing, "Seriously, this is the new Patti Smith Group, only updated. Dig it, this band's singer is a real poet, and she's bald!"
But the world really has no use for the failed songwriting ambitions of insufferable "rock" bands. But for those who must have their "cutting-edge" rock, look no further. At least the record is deserving of a gold star for title accuracy. (The Portrait of the Artist as a Serious Young Polysexual alert: The singer is some toothy, transgenderish thing that looks like a cross between Grace Jones and the crackhead from Diff'rent Strokes. What's more, she sings in a staccato chirp that makes Lene Lovich sound like Bobby Goldsboro.)
Appetite for Reconstruction:
A Tribute to Guns N' Roses
For once I am going to follow the advice I received in a letter a while back from some dude living in Oklahoma. He wrote, "Shitface -- Why do you say things that are intentionally negative? I suggest if you can't express anything positive then don't write at all."
But I will be kind enough to give you a partial listing of those contributing covers to this fabulous compilation. Quiet Riot's meritorious Kevin Dubrow tackles "Welcome to the Jungle"; über-slim Tamie Downe from Faster Pussycat gifts "It's So Easy"; L.A. Guns' Phil Lewis plunges into "My Michele"; Steve Rochelle, late of the perennially tough Tuff boons "You're Crazy"; and Steve Summers from those fun-loving debauchers Pretty Boy Floyd earmarks "Think About You."
Contact Bill Blake at his online address: firstname.lastname@example.org