Warrant was started by Joey Allen (guitar), Erik Turner (guitar), Jerry Dixon (bass), Steven Sweet (drums), and heartthrob singer John 'Jani' Lane. After several years of pounding the pavement on the Sunset Strip, they got the attention of the major label 'Columbia'. Warrant were well placed in their day with the pretty boy Glam looks and cheeky sex innuendo laden lyrics. With this going for them it was no surprise when their debut single, Down Boys, made U.S. top 30. With the support of MTV friendly ballads Heaven and Sometimes She Cries, their debut album, Dirty Rotten Fithy Stinking Rich (1989), made it to top 10, with the Sometimes She Cries track narrowly missing the number 1 chart position. Cheery Pie (1990), the follow-up, fared just as well with Warrant soaking up the teen attention span before the advent of 'Grunge'; the title track being written by Lane in 45 minutes to round off the album. A U.K. tour was called off, however, when Lane fell and cracked a rib on the first night.
Dog Eat Dog (1992) was their attempt to expand beyond the childishness of their audience age group with a more serious approach; it didn't work, and ended off earning them little praise in either camp. Lane departed for a short-lived solo career, he would later return, but Allen and Sweet decided to leave, with the latter leaving the music business altogether. Former Kingdom Come/Wild Horses (USA) duo Rick Steier and James Kottak, both of whom had worked on Lane's solo project, replaced them. The resulting follow-up albums, Ultraphobic (1995) and Belly To Belly Vol.1 (1997) were released to little interest. As an attempted to urge their old fans to try the new, the partial compilation/part new studio disc Greatest And Latest was released in 2000 to little applause.
Guitarist Steier and keyboardist Danny Wagner (the latter of whom also performed drums) left the band in January 2000. Keri Kelli stepped in on guitars as a touring member, while Mike Fasano became the newest drummer; Kelli would leave in August to tour with Slash's Snakepit, however, and was replaced by Billy Morris.
Warrant's next record was full of cover versions except for the tracks Subhuman and Face. Under the Influence was released in May 2001. The band then toured with Poison again in the summer of 2001, but the tour was cut short due to back injuries sustained by Poison bassist Bobby Dall.
Lane released his own debut solo album, Back Down to One, in 2002. His album's sound was a "power pop" sound, more closely aligned with the sound of Warrant than his previous unreleased Jabberwocky project. Shortly after the album's release, Lane was admitted to a rehab center for alcohol and drug-related exhaustion. Following his rehab session, Lane officially quit Warrant two years later due to various disagreements between himself and the other members. The January 2004 day also saw Morris and Phares (who had joined to replace Fasano in 2003) leave with him. After a few acting roles and appearances on tribute compilations, Lane attempted to launch his own version of Warrant which would be stopped by legal action.
Mike Fasano was briefly rehired in early 2004, before Steven Sweet rejoined the band. Joey Allen also rejoined in February 2004, but Lane was not invited and was replaced with former Black N' Blue vocalist Jaime St. James.
Born Again, their 7th studio album, arrived on February 4, 2006.
Lane was now busy singing with a new group Saints of the Underground, a hard rock supergroup composed of Keri Kelli (Alice Cooper, ex-Warrant, ex-Ratt), Robbie Crane (Ratt), Bobby Blotzer (Ratt). Their debut album Love the Sin, Hate the Sinner was released in 2008.
In January 2008, a new photograph of the band emerged with Lane prominently featured, confirming his return to the band for the 20 year anniversary. This version of the band was scheduled to play at Rocklahoma 2008 and co-headline with Cinderella on a follow-up summer tour. That tour was canceled after Cinderella singer Tom Keifer's left vocal cord hemorrhaged, making it impossible for him to sing in the immediate future.
On September 10, Jani Lane was out of Warrant once again due to song writing disagreements. Robert Mason (ex-Lynch Mob) took over vocals and eventually agreed not only to finish the tour but also to become a permanent member of the band.
The release of the new album, Rockaholic, arrived on May 13, 2011.
On Thursday evening, August 11, 2011, it was announced by the Los Angeles Police Department, that Jani Lane was dead at age 47 of acute alcohol poisoning at a Comfort Inn hotel on the 20100 block of Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills, California.
Warrant went on tour in 2012 with Firehouse and Trixter for the twenty-first anniversary of the Cherry Pie album.
Footnote: No relationship to the German act of the same name.