Warrant Lead Singer Jani Lane Didn't Have to Die at 47

jani laneAnother one?! Former lead singer of Warrant Jani Lane joins the ranks of rock stars dying too soon: Lane was found dead Thursday evening at a Comfort Inn hotel in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles. Cause of death has yet to be determined, but Lane's struggles with alcoholism were no secret. He was just 47 years old.

Except in my mind, he'll always be the young rocker in leather pants from the poster that hung on my bedroom wall when I was 14 ... long blond hair, big blue eyes, attitude to spare.

Probably it was the attitude that got him into trouble ...

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Where other musicians who died sudden, substance abuse-related deaths have fallen into the stereotypical (but accurate) tortured soul category, if I had to hazard a guess, I'd say it was a case of too much, too soon that was Lane's undoing. Warrant was part of the pre-grunge, super-slick glam rock era defined by Poison and Motley Crue: Pretty boys singing racy songs with catchy hooks and not a heck of a lot of substance. Take, for example, Warrant's biggest hit, "Cherry Pie":

She's my cherry pie/Put a smile on your face 10 miles wide/Looks so good bring a tear to your eye/Sweet cherry pie

It ain't "Smells Like Teen Spirit," but it was fun and we were really, really young, and damn, he looked good in those leather pants.

Looking back, it's clear that the wave Warrant was riding would have to crash at some point, but I don't think Jani Lane knew that. So when he found himself washed up, with nothing solid beneath him -- two marriages, one to "Cherry Pie" video star Bobbi Brown ended in divorce -- he couldn't cope.

It's sad, because I don't think he even knew what hit him: He went from being the Golden Boy of Hair Metal to yesterday's news so fast that it destroyed him. And his later attempts to bounce back, like his stint on Celebrity Fit Club, were just too painful to watch.

The saddest part, perhaps, is that we can tell from his contemporaries' reactions to his death (via Twitter, etc.) that he was still appreciated and respected as a musician. If he'd managed to hold on to any of that respect for himself, he might still be alive.

What do you think killed Jani Lane?


Image via YouTube

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