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Warrant

By: Jerry Anderson III

Date Posted: 1999-07-17

Long before the word “alternative” entered into the rock domain, eighties glam rockers Warrant were already churning out some of the decades biggest hit songs, and helped set fashion trends for a generation of kids, adding instant popularity for the group. The five man group consisting of vocalist and front man John Lane better known as “Jani”, guitarist Erik Turner, bassist Jerry Dixon, the then guitarist Joey Allen and drummer Steven Sweet delivered an uncanny combination of hard rock and sweet radio friendly pop rock. It’s been a little while since we’ve heard an actual CD from this group of talented individuals, who along with 80’s rockers Motley Crue, Poison and Iron Maiden helped propel the hard rock / pop sound into the mainstream, that’s so often imitated today.

After a number of unnoticeable CD’s during much of the 90’s now defunct grunge era and later alternative revolution, Warrant were noted more for their adventurous sound design than memorable tunes. The group was also known to change band members, more often than they probably wished. The current line-up includes newcomer’s guitarist Rick Steier and drummer James Kottak replacing original member’s guitarist Joey Allen and drummer Steven Sweet, adding a nice chemistry to the group. Anyone who’s ever seen Warrant during the early 80’s, their pinnacle years, knows this is one hard rock group that rocks non-stop. Moreover, in that area nothing has changed.

However Warrant’s more commercially successful albums were easily early works like Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich and the hugely successful album Cherry Pie. With hit songs like “I Saw Red,” “Sometimes She Cries,” “Cherry Pie” and the pop-rock ballad “Heaven,” where lead singer John Lane assumed a tender side to convey their music, its without question that success has not been uncharted territory for the multi-platinum selling group. Warrant has combined the pop-rock approach on the group’s most current CD, “Ultraphobic”, which pays homage to their past but exist in the present.

The concept for Ultraphobic takes the group standard formula of music: piercing guitar riffs coupled with sweet lyrics and a rock image to die for to insane extremes. Also the group has finally found the right venue for Erik Turners’ and newcomer guitarist Rick Steier whiplash guitar solos and grinding textures, which are perfectly suited to lead singer John Lane’s fierce vocal demands. Jerry Dixon provides the balance with thump shaking bass, increasing the sense of 80’s rock in the 90’s.

Although the group’s latest work Ultraphobic may not yield Warrant the hits that have eluded them for about a decade, and given the pop success of alternative rock groups like Korn and Limp Bitkiz, their experiments may sound conservative. Yet Ultraphobic is a mature and carefully formed work, calculated to appeal to an audience that has unknowingly been influence by a sound they made over ten years ago. The difference is we may still be listening to Ultraphobic10 years from now.

Fans of rock music’s glory days will not want to miss when rock veterans Warrant bring their original rock style to Kadena’s Banyan Tree Club August 14. Tickets go on sale and are each available from the Banyan Tree. Be sure to get yours before there all gone.

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