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Revival Acts

Warrant leads the way in the effort to reawaken interest in Reseda club.

January 08, 1998|JAMES E. FOWLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Just about every year, some new promoter comes along with ideas to revive the Reseda Country Club to its former glory. Why should 1998 be any different?

As a kickoff to the latest attempt to breathe life into the venue, 1980s glam-band Warrant will perform Saturday.

Event coordinator Paul Chase says the Warrant show is just the beginning. "We're trying to expand to a wide range of entertainment, including local and national acts," Chase said.

In addition, Chase said the venue will host monthly boxing matches.

According to Chase, after the Warrant show the rest of this month will be taken up with local bands. But starting in February, the club expects to begin adding some national acts from several musical genres into the mix. Names being bandied about include Pat Benatar, Fiona Apple and Alan Jackson.

(So, you wonder, what happened to the Cowboy Attitude, the group that hosted line dancing Friday nights at the Country Club? Group leader Steve Ipsen said they left because those line-dancing fools demand a wooden dance floor. They've moved to Aftershock in Studio City on Wednesdays.)

Warrant's show this weekend at the Country Club will be a homecoming of sorts. The band was signed by Columbia Records at the Country Club in 1988.

After the signing, success came fast and furious for the band. It achieved double-platinum status (sales of more than 2 million copies) with the two first albums, "Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich" in 1989 and "Cherry Pie" in 1990.

"Dog Eat Dog"--the band's last album for Columbia--only went gold, selling more than 500,000 copies.

Lead singer Jani Lane saw the writing on the wall in 1992, when he noticed that the band's portrait no longer hung on the walls at Columbia.

It had been replaced by Alice in Chains.

Lane quit the band but rejoined the group in 1994.

"We've continued to make records and tour, we've kept working," Lane said in a phone interview. "We've always had a base following, that's been our life-support system."

The group signed with CMC/BMG Records, and has made three albums: "Ultraphobic" (1995), "Belly to Belly" (1996) and a "live" package of greatest hits, "Warrant '86-'97," released last year.

"We have toured 10 months each year for the last three years," Lane said. "It's not quite so unfashionable now to book '80s bands as it was a few years back."

Lane is dismayed at attempts to remake the band into something more fashionable in the 1990s.

"The band is all about 'party'; we're a glam band," Lane said. "To turn it into something else . . . it hasn't worked."

Lane, who has a background in musical theater, admits he has other projects pending, but he wouldn't be against recording one more Warrant album if the conditions were right.

"Obviously, if we get all the original members back together, that would be exciting," Lane said.

"Get us into a studio--we'll either make a good record or we'll kill each other."

* Warrant, along with Ghost Dance, CuttThroat, Stanley and others, performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at Reseda Country Club, 18419 Sherman Way, Reseda. $15. (818) 757- 0780.

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