A six-and-a-half-minute compilation of professionally filmed highlights from a recent WARRANT performance with new singer Robert Mason (LYNCH MOB, CRY OF LOVE, BIG COCK) can be viewed below.
WARRANT announced two weeks ago that it was splitting with singer Jani Lane six months after it first reunited with the troubled vocalist. "From the beginning of our reunion talks to the last note of our last show together in Houston [on August 31 at the Rock The Bayou festival], we have had nothing but good intentions of bringing a quality original WARRANT show to our fans and friends," the band explained in a statement.
WARRANT guitarist Joey Allen spoke about the band's split with Jani Lane and addition of Robert Mason during a September 5, 2008 appearance on Eddie Trunk's "Friday Night Rocks" radio show on New York's Q104.3 FM. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On the recent split with Jani:
Joey: "Yeah, it's really unfortunate. It's come after… I don't know many shows we've done on this reunion. It's been over one year in the making since last year when we started talking about it and burying the knives, so to speak, and just moving forward as friends again and getting ready to play out live. And we had some good shows and we had some bad shows for whatever reasons; everybody can draw their own conclusions by going online and looking at the carnage [on YouTube]. It's just really unfortunate. We love him to death and we wish him the best, but we just had to move for the band's best interest, and that's where we're at right now."
Q: How many shows did you get through with Jani back in the singer before the cracks started to show?
Q: Were you guys battling or was it just his substance issues that were the problems?
Joey: "I don't wanna get into his personal issues, I really don't, because I care for the guy deeply, and I don't wanna bring that. You've gotta draw your own conclusions with that, but I'll tell you that it doesn't have anything to do with the way the band gets along. We buried the hatchet a long time ago, before we even decided to get back on the stage again, for issues that were 10-15 years old, that happened back in the '90s. I mean, we really did a good job with that. There was no poking at each other during rehearsals or anything like that. It was good; everybody got along. When everybody's good and healthy, everybody gets along great; let's put it that way."
Q: When you guys were playing [the ill-fated July 5, 2008 performance at the Sunset Station Hotel & Casino in Henderson, Nevada that was captured in several fan-filmed YouTube clips; see below], what were you thinking as the guitar player in WARRANT. Did you wanna walk off? What was your mindset as you're going through that ordeal?
Joey: "Well, it's kind of like being a moving dartboard in a sense. Number one, you're up there, you're sober, you're doing your job, you're with three other guys in the band that are doing their job, and you've got one guy, for one reason or another, that's not. And it's very difficult. It pulls at your heartstrings, number one. You wanna immediately have it in. I never wanted to go up in the first place, but after I checked with Jani backstage, he was like, 'I've done this a million times, I can do it.' It wasn't like I drug him onstage and said, 'You've gotta do this, you've gotta do this.'"
Q: When you were backstage before you took the stage to play that show, he was OK or not?
Joey: "He was coherent, absolutely. I can't answer those questions, I really can't. I'm not a doctor. I'd hate to speculate and say something that's just not right."
Q: When was the first sign to you [that something was wrong]?
Joey: "The first line in 'Down Boys' when he was a beat behind everybody else. I mean, it was a beating. It was tough. The bottom line… This decision all came about because you wanna put on a good show — you do. You go out there and you wanna play your best, and you wanna make the song as great live…. For us, it's a little heavier than the record, it's fun, people enjoy the music. But when it doesn't happen, it pulls at your heartstrings and it sucks. There's no other way to explain it."
Q: When did you guys, as a band, meet and make the decision and how did it exactly go down?
Joey: "It went down after [the August 31] show [at the Rock The Bayou festival] in Houston. I mean, look, there's no kidding that the band as an original band holds more… whatever you wanna call it… than four-fifths original band. And to be honest with you, we were all batting for Jani Lane. Like I said, this isn't a breakup where somebody's pissed at the other guy
— it's not. We're doing it because we think it's best for us, and it's best for him."
Q: Were there problems in Houston?
Q: With the performance?
Joey: "Yeah, we had a bad weekend."
Q: A situation similar to Vegas, or worse, or not as bad?
Joey: "Not as bad as Vegas. I mean, we came out firing all right. Once again, the band, the four guys behind Lane, are tight. I mean, we've been playing together for the last four years, and we've got it down, and we're playing fine and the music sounds great. I think, for one reason or another, our frontman that we stand behind 110 percent was unable to fire on all cylinders like we were. It pulls at your heartstrings. At that point, you just get through the show and then you've gotta make decisions after that. And we've stood behind the guy and we wish him the best — we love him to death — but we had to make a decision. We cannot continue to go out there and beat our brand up, beat the name up, WARRANT, by giving bad shows — we just can't do it."
Q: Why not go back to Jaime St. James [BLACK 'N BLUE singer who fronted WARRANT before Jani Lane returned to the band] ?
Joey: "We did the Jaime St. James thing for quite some time, we did a record, he's a dear friend, he's the nicest guy in rock, but we just really, really wanna get away from… What's the best way to put it? We just need a fresh start. Really, what we're trying to pattern ourselves after is to go out there and sound killer every night, have a vocalist that can hit the notes that people wanna hear, and that's Robert Mason. He's a great guy, he's got it together 110 percent, and he's very excited about it. We're just gonna take it one step at a time; we've got three gigs booked that we're gonna play, and we'll let people come out and decide for themselves. But we're very, very excited. And if the rehearsal today was any hint at what's to come, it's just gonna be awesome."
WARRANT performing with Robert Mason - September 2008:
Fan-filmed video footage of WARRANT's final performance with Jani Lane on August 31 at the Rock The Bayou festival in Houston:
Fan-filmed video footage of WARRANT's July 5, 2008 performance at the Sunset Station Hotel & Casino in Henderson, Nevada: