This week, rock fans learned of the untimely death of Jani Lane, former lead singer for Warrant, a band whose hits epitomized the pop metal sound that dominated MTV at that point in time. Warrant climbed the charts on the strength of out-and-out rockers (“Down Boys”) and ballads (“Heaven,” “Sometimes She Cries”), but their crowning achievement was the immensely popular yet widely derided “Cherry Pie”. The song and accompanying video swam in the shallow end, with innuendo laden images ranging from baked goods to baseball to fire hoses, and a music-video career-making appearance by actress and temporary Lane bride Bobbi Brown. In tribute to Jani Lane, we present an excerpt from an interview with heralded director Jeff Stein, who shared some thoughts with the Golden Age of Music Video on the “Cherry Pie” video he directed back in 1990, a video that currently holds a special place on YouTube with over 10 million hits.

“To me, the perfect music video was Warrant’s ‘Cherry Pie’,” he said, whole-heartedly declaring the clips’ unabashed tribute to sexual shenanigans as a sendup of anything and everything in music video. “The best thing was, everyone thought we were serious. The great part was that not very many people knew that the thing was a complete spoof, and of course we were blasted for doing this sexist video which to me was ludicrous. I mean, it was so obvious that we were lampooning everything.”

“But still, it was the perfect kind of tongue-in-cheek rock and roll song, you know, with the perfect music video babe at that time,” Stein recalled. “The band had all that hair-band shtick down. The kind-of pop art, you know, look of it — even including the painting American Gothic which we actually had to get the licensing to use. To me, it was the perfect blend. The back of a rock and roll car bouncing up and down, the pies as you see, the fire hoses…I mean it couldn’t have been you know, more ridiculous, and again, a career highlight for me was that it was Rolling Stone critics’ worst video of the year. So I figured I’ve done my job (laugh). Johnny Carson showed on ‘The Tonight Show’ as like, you know, the epitome of what was happening in video at that time.”

Stein said it was Warrant’s moment in the sun. Everything just worked.

“Yeah, it was fun. They were perfect. Perfect song, perfect band for it, the girl was great, it all worked, and the best thing was, everyone thought we were serious. Can’t beat it. And it’s a personal favorite because of just what it is. I mean, my personal favorite that I’ve done is “Don’t Come Around Here No More”, in terms of its everlasting effect I guess and how it still resonates. But “Cherry Pie” to me is the ultimate music video experience of that particular genre, and it was fun. Just fun. It was good, mindless entertainment, you know?”

(Jani Lane and Warrant parted ways a while ago. The band continues to tour.)


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