by Deb Rao
- Senior Photojournalist –
July 21, 2012 at Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas, NV
Just when the Las Vegas desert launched into triple digits, the Las Vegas concert scene spiraled out of control. As the only double header metal concert at Fremont Street Experience featuring Skid Row and Warrant kicked the heat up a notch into a higher gear on July 21st. Warrant who are currently on tour in support of their latest release Rockaholic, led off the nights festivities.
Opening with “The Downboys,” Warrant took full command of 15,000 fans that turned out for this free concert. Breaking all attendance records at Fremont Street Experience this summer the double metal bill was simply blistering.
Guitarist Erik Turner sizzled with his bright red electric guitar and vocalist Robert Mason took full command of the audience. This was the third time I have seen Robert Mason with the band and he is definitely doing a great job. Warrant performed two new songs of Rockaholic including their new single “Home,” this song fits so well into the Warrant live format.
Highlight’s of the set was the sing along to “Heaven” and “I Saw Red.” You had to be there to feel the magic of the audience singing along to this song. Warrant’s rocked hard on “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and the encore “Cherry Pie.”
The Last Straw
Sometimes She Cries
Sex Ain’t Love
I Saw Red
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Skid Row hit the stage at 10:15 P.M. like a lightning bolt with opening song “Big Guns.” The Jersey band showed Vegas how to rock! Slamming out hit after hit including “Piece Of Me,” “Riot Act” and “Get The * Out.” It has been many years since I have seen Johnny Solinger fronting the band and they sounded great. Highlight’s of the set were also the ballads including,” I Remember You” and “In A Darkened Room.”
Bassist Rachel Bolan stole the set with the remake of The Ramones hit “Psycho Therapy.” The closing song was “Youth Gone Wild” ended when singer Johnny Solinger screamed, “We will always be the youth gone wild.”
It was a night of nostalgia. As fans took a walk down memory lane and had the opportunity to hear the hits of their youth. It was family night, as families brought their kids to listen to these great bands whose once ruled The Charts and still making great music today..
Piece Of Me
Thick Is The Skin
Get The * Out
In A Darkened Room
I Remember You
Slave To The Grind
18 And Life
Youth Gone Wild
Special Thanks to Erik Turner of Warrant and Darren Banks of The D for making this review possible.
by Deb Rao
- Senior Columnist –
Warrant guitarist Erik Turner has checked in with Hardrock Haven for an exclusive interview preview of their upcoming Las Vegas concert appearance at the free Rock Of Vegas Concert Series at Fremont Street Experience on July 21st at 8 P.M. also appearing Skid Row.
HRH: Erik, Are you looking forward to performing at the Rock Of Vegas Concert series on July 21st in Vegas?
ERIK: Of course we love playing Vegas, always have! Lots of friends, family and fans. We are having a very busy summer playing shows all over the country, spreading the good word about our latest CD: Rockaholic, and the two singles and videos… “Life’s A Song” and “Home” on youtube. Please check Rockaholic out on iTunes or get a hard copy with all the artwork on Amazon.com, Thanks!
HRH: Now the movie Rock of Ages recently made its debut. WARRANT had their hit song “Heaven” performed in the movie. It must have been a great honor for the band to have their song in this movie. Over the years the legacy of Warrant is still going strong. There is a new generation of Warrant fans today listening to your music. What are your thoughts on the movie and all of the timeless hits from the ’80s still being played on radio today?
ERIK: Hearing and seeing the song performed in the Play and the Movie was amazing… that little love song from the Sunset Strip night clubs has had a great run and touched many lives, including ours ha! It’s great to still be able to go out and perform “Heaven” and all our other hits live all these years later. I really loved the movie, the music is great and the movie was very funny and fun to see! I thought everybody that worked on the film did a fantastic job.
* Check out our new wine too! (WARRANT – I Saw Red) when your in So Cal. SouthCoastWinery.com
by Deb Rao
During the MTV heyday 80′s genre WARRANT ruled the video era with hits including “Cherry Pie”, “Heaven”, and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Over the years, Warrant has consistently released quality music. Comprised of top notch musicians guitarist Erik Turner, bassist Jerry Dixon, drummer Steve Sweet, guitarist Joey Allen and singer Robert Mason formerly of the Lynch Mob, Warrant is getting ready to reclaim their crown in rock history. On May 17th via Frontiers Records, Warrant will release their seventh studio album ROCKAHOLIC.
Over the years, Warrant has gone through major line-up changes with the departure of Jani Lane. In 2004, Jaime St. James joined the band replacing Jani Lane. Well they say third time is the charm and with the 2008 enlistment of singer Robert Mason, Warrant is ready to roar again with their upcoming release. ROCKAHOLIC finds the band returning to their 80′s roots with a modern day twist enthused with catchy guitar riffs, great lyrics, and melodies that represent the signature sound that Warrant are noted for.
Warrant Guitarist Erik Turner Talks ROCKAHOLIC on Hardrock Haven.
HRH: The seventh studio album by Warrant entitled Rockaholic will be released on May 17th via Frontiers. Tell us about the writing process for the album. Over how long a time period did it take for you to write Rockaholic?
Erik: It took a good two years from start to finish. Jerry Dixon was the driving force behind this new CD, he just kept throwing songs at us and pushed for us all to make this record hard. We all wanted to make a new CD. That was something we all agreed on. How we went about it was a bit of a debate, no fights, we all just wanted to make a great Warrant CD and had to find a musical path that worked for all five us, which we eventually did obviously Jerry and Robert did the lion’s share of the writing. I contributed to a few songs. I had many more ideas I through in the hat that didn’t make the CD, but its all good. It’s not about me, myself or I or any one band member, it’s about making the best ‘WARRANT’ CD we possible could at this stage in our careers. Music we believe in and the band can be very proud of and tour behind.
HRH: In retrospect, would you say that Rockaholic captures all of your influences but also reflects a more modern day sound of Warrant?
Erik: ROCKAHOLIC is a sinfully beautiful marriage of WARRANT’S song writing style, trademark sound & the influences our rock hero’s had on us growing up. There had to be at least 20 + songs written for this CD and we all voted on what we thought sounded WARRANT. The plan was, if I remember correctly, to take 15 songs to pre-production rehearsals and from there, after getting Keith Olsen’s input we would narrow it down to 12 songs. We ended up recording 14 for the CD! Keith did a great job on many different levels, but in regards to your question, Keith helped us find that sweet spot where we stayed true to our roots, but added a little modern day sound/flavor as well. I guess I could have just answered YES!
HRH: The signature sound of Warrant is surely captured on “Life’s A Song” with the catchy guitar riffs and lyrics. Would you say that this song kind of reflects the bands attitude and legacy?
Erik: I would say “Life’s A Song” captures that commercial WARRANT Pop Rock sound from the early 80’s and 90’s more than any other on the CD, which is very cool and hard to do. We haven’t put a song and video out like this one since the Cherry Pie CD. The ballad “Home” in my opinion has that same feel as well and turned out really good.
HRH: What was it like working with legendary producer Keith Olsen?
Erik: I answered some of that earlier, oops! Keith created a great atmosphere to work in and got the best out of each of us as musicians and the band as a whole. When you look at the records he has produced and the sales figures and awards that go with them, it will blow your mind if you’re a Muso like me? The band really loved what he did with our songs and I would like to work with him again.
HRH: Who designed the album cover and does the album title Rockaholic have a special meaning to you?
Erik: Robert’s brother Glenn Mason did an amazing job with the CD booklet, the cover is cool, but it all comes together with a great concept when you read the liner notes and see the photos in the booklet. It’s about this ROCKAHOLIC who is seeing a therapist in hopes of finding a cure for his addiction to rock music and a lifestyle of debauchery that is burning his soul and torturing those who love him. We have all the song titles and notes that go with each visit to his therapist in the CD booklet. This therapist is trying to find a cure for the unashamed ROCKAHOLIC and his dangerous lifestyle or something to that effect ha! It really is interesting to read & then listen to each song, for me anyways.
HRH: As a guitarist, what were you striving to accomplish on Rockaholic?
Erik: Play my parts killer and quickly with as much fan fare as possible … Look at me! I Rock … ha!
As a rhythm guitar player, that is what I mostly do. I am always looking for maybe an alternate little guitar part that goes with Joey’s part or a different interesting chord voicing that will compliment the song. I look at Keith; blurry-eyed first in the afternoon with Starbucks in both hands and say, what do you hear for this song? This is what I am thinking and then we press record and I start trying different things, some work, some don’t. It is a little more complicated than that, but that is it in a nutshell. Have fun and at the end of the day walk out a proud Mutha Fugger I guess?
HRH: Would you say that the band comes full circle on the upcoming release Rockaholic?
Erik: I would say we have started a new chapter in our musical life or have ‘Found’ a new path on our WARRANT journey, depending on how philosophical you want to get about? I would like to think and hope and plan on this to be just a new beginning, a foundation made from authentic Stonehenge granite for us to build on and do more music in the future. The glass is half full right now. Please feel free to check twitter (WarrantRocks) for updates each day on that glass ha!
HRH: Do you have any favorite songs on Rockaholic that hold a special meaning in your life?
Erik: The entire ROCKAHOLIC CD has special meaning for me. There is no one song at this time. But I reserve the right to change my mind in the future!
HRH: What are the bands future touring plans this summer? Will you be performing a lot of the new songs live?
Erik: We will definitely be performing new songs in the set, how many depends on, if we are the opener on a show or the headliner. We have been playing “Sex Ain’t Love” already for the last year. Sometimes we will play two new ROCKAHOLIC songs in the set and the CD isn’t even out yet. I love all the hits from the past and the special meaning they have to us and a lot of our fans, but we are also really fired up about the new music and want to share it, pass it around the crowd and let everybody enjoy! We have about 40 shows booked so far this year and I imagine there will be at least another 10 to 20 added. Check our website WarrantRocks.com for tour updates. We have different shows booked with Poison, Whitesnake and Cinderella just to name a few so far this year.
HRH: We wish you the best with your upcoming release Rockaholic. What do you say is the secret to Warrant’s longevity in the music business? Over 20 years of great music and the band is still going strong.
Erik: Thank You! There have a been a few bumps in the road, but we wouldn’t be a rock n roll band and we wouldn’t have anything to write about if a little shit didn’t happen once in awhile. Over all, we have had a hell of a lot more good times than bad, thank God! We don’t look backwards when a set back happens, we wipe off our shoes and we find the best solution to the problem we can at the time and move forward, Phuck the past, it’s gone and who cares. Where are we rocking tomorrow? That is all I want to talk about and do! Keep on Keeping on…
Track By Track Rockaholic with Erik Turner on Hardrock Haven:
”Sex Ain’t Love” – “The first song on the CD and the first song we started playing live a year ago or so.
Straight up like a cold shot of Rock n Roll!”
”Innocence Gone” – “Up tempo rock song, sounds to me like it could have come right of DRFSR!
”Snake” – “Love this groove, nobody else would think this but me, reminds me of Lynyrd Skynyrd for some reason. Bad Ass riff comes to mind.”
”Dusty’s Revenge” – “The baby, the first song born, where we all went, hell yes! This is good, we might have something here!”
”Home” – “A damn fine Warrant ballad in the truest of WARRANT traditions, get me a Kleenex.” J
”What Love Can Do” – “Commercial pop hook from hell, then it rocks a bit my friends, LOOK OUT!”
”Life’s A Song” – “Old School WARRANT sounding to my ears, see answer above.” J
”Show Must Go On” – “Hello there, answer your phone Mason! This song started out as a ring tone on RM’s phone. High energy, the beginning stabs remind me of Riot for some reason, you might find that strange… I know I do!”
”Cocaine Freight Train” – “Pedal to the Metal song all the way to the killer breakdown section, old style 70’s rock with harp and everything! Ha!”
”Found Forever” – “Nice modern feel to me, ballad with lots of tender undertones, goes well with WARRANT RED Wine.” J
”Candy Man ”- “Big Rock Riff… that jumps into Zep meets WARRANT meets I don’t know what… Kool!”
”Sunshine” – “Stony Bridge over water, modern drop D tuning that rocks Warrant style. Heavy at times and I like it”!
”Tears In The City ”- “This one is dark and emotional and beautiful all at the same time.”
”The Last Straw” – “This is a great way to finish the CD. I am angry and feeling good about it Biatch!
Fast hard rock song in a classic early 80’s style… Horns Up!”
by Mark Allen
It’s tough for a band to recoup from the departure of their signature lead vocalist. All too often such a loss results in the group’s career going into crash-and-burn cardiac arrest and leaves it dangling hopelessly on life support, miserably waiting for some kindhearted soul to administer the mercy bullet. After Jani Lane walked away from Warrant, the band attempted a comeback in 2006 with the aptly-titled Born Again which featured Black N Blue singer Jamie St. James serenading the microphone. While a serviceable hard rock project in its own right, it bore little resemblance to the Warrant of old and was poorly embraced by fans who continued to clamor for a Jani Lane reunion.
Flash forward five years to the present day. With Lane still incognito and the band hungry for another comeback shot, they turned to Robert Mason to take over lead vocals. The result, while not exactly classic Warrant, is a high-energy hard rock album that is several notches better than Born Again and actually manages to incorporate some faint traces of the old days. On Born Again, you never once felt like you were listening to a true Warrant release; on Rockaholic, however, if you’re paying attention, you will hear bits and pieces that will remind you of Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich. No, it’s not classic Warrant–it probably never can be without Lane at the helm–but at least this time there are some hints of the sound that put the band on the melodic metal map.
What this sounds like more than anything is a ‘80s hard rock album. There is no modern rock mimicry, no attempt to curry mainstream acceptance by clutching at anything resembling the flavor of the week. Warrant has fallen prey to fad-chasing before (Belly to Belly, anyone?), but not this time. Rockaholic is retro-cool in its stylish swagger, all about loud guitars, big hooks, and fist-pumping choruses.
Mason is a masterful vocalist, proven by his work with Lynch Mob and Big Cock, and he serves up another fine performance here. While normally he sports some sassy grit in his voice, this time he sings more melodically, at times sounding like he’s trying to channel Jon Bon Jovi. Surprisingly, it works, especially on the rock-ballad “Home,” which is precisely the kind of nostalgic, mid-tempo tune that makes up Bon Jovi’s bread and butter these days. It is grossly unfair that the same exact song that would be a smash hit for Bon Jovi will likely be ignored by the modern rock sheep because it came from “an old hair metal band.”
Speaking of songs, they are all fairly straight-forward, crafted with standard ‘80s catchiness intact. The blow-your-skirt-up track is “Dusty’s Revenge,” a moody, atmospheric rocker that starts with a dark, bluesy vibe in the Cinderella vein before exploding into a gripping hard rock tale of retribution reminiscent of “Kiss the Bastards” by Saints & Sinners. The song is, quite simply, absolutely perfect, from its brooding beginning to its badass bridge to his backing vocal-boosted chorus.
Elsewhere, “The Show Must Go On” pins the throttle to the floor with ripping guitar work, but the repetitive chorus relegates it to filler material. Frankly, this happens a few too many times. “Candy Man” cranks like crazy, but stumbles when it hits the chorus. A heavy powerhouse of a groove provides the backbone of “Sunshine,” but what should be a Tyson-size knockout punch of a chorus is more like a tentative jab. Thankfully, there are more diamonds than duds, from the GN’R-inspired “Cocaine Freight Train” to the soaring power ballad “Found Forever” to the rip-snorting “The Last Straw,” which brings the curtains down and demonstrates how a hard rock album should close.
As the final power chord reverberates through your speakers, you will realize that what you just heard may not be a masterpiece, but is still a pretty good comeback from a band that has been forced to find a way to forge ahead without its signature component. Rockaholic isn’t quite good enough to make anyone forget the Jani Lane glory days, but it is good enough to make you realize that the new incarnation of Warrant has plenty to offer hard rock fans as well. Just because you dine on filet mignon one day doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a sirloin steak the next, and just because you crank up Cherry Pie today doesn’t mean you can’t rock out to Rockaholic tomorrow.
Genre: Hard rock
Robert Mason (vocals)
Joey Allen (lead & rhythm guitars)
Erik Turner (rhythm & lead guitars)
Jerry Dixon (bass)
Steven Sweet (drums)
1. Sex Ain’t Love
2. Innocence Gone
4. Dusty’s Revenge
6. What Love Can Do
7. Life’s a Song
8. Show Must Go On
9. Cocaine Freight Train
10. Found Forever
11. Candy Man
13. Tears in the City
14. The Last Straw
Label: Frontiers Records
Hardrock Haven rating: 8.3/10