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Jani Lane dead at 47: Warrant singer's death under investigation

August 12, 2011 |  4:55 pm

Jani Lane in 2005, left and with Warrant in 1998

Police are investigating the circumstances around the death of Jani Lane, the former Warrant singer who was found dead in a Woodland Hills motel room Thursday night.

Law enforcement was investigating why the 47-year-old Lane, who has a home in Redondo Beach, was at the Comfort Inn on Ventura Boulevard, police sources told L.A. Now on Friday. Alcohol and prescription drugs were found in the room; Lane had struggled with substance issues, with a pair of DUI arrests in recent years.

Photos: Notable music deaths of 2011

The L.A. County coroner's office plans to do an autopsy to determine the hair-metal rocker's cause of death. Sources said there was no indication it was a suicide by the "Cherry Pie" singer, who was pronounced dead on the scene around 5:30 p.m. by Fire Department paramedics.

Warrant's current members will pay tribute to Lane at a concert tonight in North Dakota. "We never thought that when the song 'Heaven' was written we would be playing it someday in the memory of Jani's untimely death," guitarist Erik Turner told TMZ. "This is a very sad day for rock and roll."

Lane wrote "Heaven" as well as "Cherry Pie," which together "displayed the yin and yang of teenage desire," Times pop music critic Randall Roberts noted on Pop & Hiss:

In "Cherry Pie," the group celebrated (objectified?) the female form by comparing it with a scrumptious dessert, and the result was a scream-along anthem tailor-made for testosterone-fueled pop metal heads and the women who loved them.

Like any self-respecting metal band, though, Warrant and the bleached-blond Lane had a softer side, one that you can see on full display in the video for "Heaven," in which the viewer is treated to a love ballad and slow-motion images of Lane and the band enjoying their rock-star lives.

In 1999, Lane discussed Warrant's raunchy, then-envelope-pushing "Cherry Pie" video -- watch it below -- with MTV. "I don't think all music has to have any political significance or a deep religious meaning," he said.

"You can have fun rock and roll. ... Chuck Berry wrote about cruising around in the car, in the back seat with a girl, so that's what 'Cherry Pie' was," Lane said, "and you can take it for what it's worth."

His family will convene Sunday for a private memorial service, manager and friend Obi Steinman said, adding that a public memorial in Hollywood, featuring performances by other metal bands, would be held Aug. 24.

Lane, who was twice divorced and the father of two girls, appeared on VH1's "Celebrity Fit Club" in 2005. According to IMDb, he was not really a fan of the tune "Cherry Pie."



Hair-metal generation recalls an icon, Jani Lane

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— Christie D'Zurilla

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photos: Jani Lane performing in 2005, left, and in a Warrant promo picture in 1988. Credits:  Ethan Miller / Getty Images, left; John Scarpati, right.