Jani Lane (born John Kennedy Oswald), the flaxen-tressed former lead singer of 1980's hair-metal band Warrant, was found dead on Thursday in a hotel room in Woodland Hills, California.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, police found the body of Lane, 47, at a Comfort Inn, with no cause of death available at press time. Lane was best known for the Warrant hit "Cherry Pie," which he wrote and features a guitar solo by Poison's C.C. DeVille. The double entendre-filled video for the song — featuring a barrage of footage flaunting the accolades of Lane's future wife, celebrated Star Search spokesmodel champion turned video vixen, Bobbie Brown — quickly became a programming staple on MTV's Headbanger's Ball when it was released in 1990.
The singer was born in Akron, Ohio, on February 1, 1964. He began his career as a teenage drummer before moving to Florida and playing in a series of metal bands. Eventually he made it to Los Angeles with future Warrant drummer Steven "Sweet" Chamberlin in search of fame and a steady gig.
He was recruited to join Warrant in 1986 and the band released their major-label debut, Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich, in 1989, spawning the hits "Heaven" and "Down Boys" -- a vastly underrated song that, as far as I can tell, is about a wild child, looking cool on the cheap and ogling, i.e. "the way the street lights silhouette your thighs through your dress." But it was 1990's Cherry Pie that really put them on the map, selling three million copies and realizing their dreams of "making it" as hair-metal superstars. Supposedly, the title tune was written on the back of a pizza box, which can be seen on display at the Hard Rock Café in Destin, Florida.
The following years, though, proved tumultuous for Lane, who left the band several times as their fortunes faded and album sales dried up in the wake of the rise of the darker, more aggressive grunge rock sound. He rejoined the band in 2008, only to leave again that same year.
Lane released a solo album, Back Down to One, in 2003. Lane dabbled in acting, appeared on VH1's Celebrity Fit Club in 2005, and toured with Great White in 2010 as a fill-in lead vocalist.
Though a cause of death was not known at press time, Lane struggled with alcohol over the years, pleading no contest to misdemeanor DUI in 2009 after an arrest for reportedly crashing into a parked car. A similar incident sent him to jail for 120 days in 2010.
A number of Lane's musical cohorts tweeted their condolences overnight, including Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sixx, who wrote, "I just heard the sad news about Janie Lane. So hard to swallow when people have kids. RIP."
Another friend, Poison singer Bret Michaels, pictured right on stage with Lane during better days, said, "We'd like to offer our deepest condolences to the family of Jani Lane regarding their loss. Respectfully, Bret and all at MEGI."
Former MTV VJ Martha Quinn also expressed her feelings on Lane, writing, "Super sad news. Janie Lane, dead at 47 ... #RIP Jani Lane."
A number of other cohorts also posted about Lane's death, including Slash, Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, former Guns N' Roses member Steven Adler, Ratt singer Stephen Pearcy, and wrestler/rocker Chris Jericho.
Rest in Peace Jani Lane. Those who knew you and loved you well believe that heaven isn't too far away.