GREAT WHITE Guitarist Remembers JANI LANE

Leslie Michele Derrough of recently conducted an interview with GREAT WHITE guitarist Mark Kendall. An excerpt from the chat follows below. Jani Lane passed away recently. Would you mind saying a few words about him?

Mark: You know, my wife and I were close to his wife and him. We had something in common with alcoholism. I battled alcohol before. I wouldn’t want to call myself his sponsor, but I was more like a sober friend and I tried to encourage him. He was actually out singing with us for a little bit, completely professional, he wasn’t drinking or anything, he looked amazing, he sang wonderful. The fans hadn’t seen him look so good and sing so good in twenty years and he was just so great. I remember sitting in an airport one time and he was sitting with his wife and I go, “Jani, man, you look so amazing right now.” I go, “What’s wrong with this? I mean, you’ve got to feel great. The fans say you haven’t sang this great in so long and you’re just looking so good.” And he goes, “I know it, I love it.” So I really encouraged him and I sent him daily prayers, every single day I sent him a prayer … What people don’t realize is Jani, for one thing, he’s got a lot of talent. I mean, he is the most talented guy. He played drums on his own records, that’s how good he is. People don’t even know that. He wrote every WARRANT song you’ve ever heard. But with his alcoholism, his demons … He wanted to be sober more than anything. He really, really loved his sobriety. It’s just the demons he battled and I know what it’s like. I understand it because I’m an alcoholic myself. I’ve just managed to overcome it a day at a time. I found something that works for me … Jani just kept firing the bullet and it was just the fatal one that finally happened. But he didn’t want it to happen, believe me. So it’s really a horrid tragedy and when something like that happens, it just hurts so many people and it’s unfortunate. But I want everyone to know that he really wanted to be a sober man. I haven’t yet heard what exactly he died of but I guess when you’re young you just don’t realize that you are destroying your body until years down the road when it starts to give out on you.

Mark: Yeah, your body is just hating it. That’s why you at some point have to grow up and you just got to say, “Well, if I have a problem I’ve got to fix it somehow and just figure it out,” because usually you’re injuring a lot of people around you when you’re abusive. It’s best if you find something that can fill that void. Some people get it and some people don’t and it’s unfortunate. Some don’t have a bottom … Everything that surrounds that is just an ugly dark world. Such a horrible place and I think one of the reasons that I’m sober today is because I like the place I’m at now and I don’t want to go back to that ugly place anymore.

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