Thomas Stanley Orwat, Jr. of RockMusicStar.com recently conducted an interview with WARRANT guitarist Erik Turner. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
RockMusicStar.com: I would like to take a few minutes and discuss the recent passing of your former lead singer, Jani Lane. I know about all the issues that the band had when he returned in 2008, for a short period of time. But were you shocked when you heard the news or did you kind of expect that it was just a matter of time?
Erik Turner: For those of us that had known Jani… I’ve known since 1986, when he joined the band. We had a lot of good times and a lot of bad times. In 2004, he was no longer in the band; we had to make a change. And then we tried it again with Jani in 2008, but his old demons popped up again, and it made it impossible for us to function as a band. It was a huge disappointment because we were all very excited about the reunion.
RockMusicStar.com: Everyone was very excited about that.
Erik Turner: Yeah, I know. But we had no choice and we had to get a new lead singer, which we got Robert Mason, who was in LYNCH MOB. He’s done a beautiful job filling in for Jani. But it was frustrating during that reunion time with Jani. We tried to be supportive; we would visit him in rehab as much as possible. The band paid for a sober coach to come on the road and try to keep Jani sober. We took all of the alcohol off of the tour rider. None of us were drinking. But he would just sneak off and disappear, and show up intoxicated later, or sometimes, he wouldn’t even show up. And he would have a hard time performing in his state. It was very stressful and disappointing for the band. But that’s all I can really say about his passing. It’s very sad and disappointing. Anytime that someone has all of that talent, and everything to live for, and for whatever reason, I just don’t know, he just couldn’t stop. It’s awful. It’s horrible for his kids and his family. I hadn’t spoken with him since 2008; we weren’t close anymore. But it was still very hurtful to hear.
RockMusicStar.com: When he returned in 2008, was there ever a time when the band gave him an ultimatum to get sober or get out?
Erik Turner: Yes, but it was hard to talk to someone who didn’t know what planet they were on, or someone who wouldn’t return your calls. We did talk to him; we told him we were going to get a sober coach to help him. We visited him in rehab. Our professional sober coach, who works with musicians, athletes and movie stars — he does this for a living. He couldn’t even keep Jani sober on the road. It was so bad that the sober coach quit. He said there was nothing that he could do, and there is nothing anyone can do. He said that Jani was just completely out of control. We were like, “What the fuck are we paying you for?” It’s frustrating when you are in a situation like that because you are helpless. He didn’t care about WARRANT or me; all he cared about was partying.
RockMusicStar.com: I remember watching his performances during 2008, it seemed like he would have a really bad gig and then return with a good one. He did well at the Rocklahoma gig.
Erik Turner: He had been in rehab for seven days before Rocklahoma. It would have been nice if he told us, because we had no idea where he was for seven days before. It wasn’t until 8 p.m. that day of that show that he finally showed up. It really stressed out the band and the promoters. We had no idea if we were going to be able to play. It was just extremely stressful and very uncool. Out of the nine shows that we did, he was only sober for one, or maybe two of them. And an FYI, when you get out of rehab, you’re really not sober, they just put you on meds to prevent you from getting sick and relapsing.
RockMusicStar.com: I didn’t realize that.
Erik Turner: Yeah, it’s not like you just go in and quit cold turkey; it’s a whole big process.
Read the entire interview from RockMusicStar.com.