On August 11, 2011, we lost one of rock n roll’s great singer/songwriters, Jani Lane.
While on Facebook the days following Jani’s death, on one of the tribute pages, a fan said the white leather jacket Jani wore in the “Heaven” video had been up for sale on eBay a few years prior. Someone else replied that it was in a Hard Rock Cafe, but didn’t know which one. My husband Aaron located it at the new HRC in West Hollywood, California on Highland Blvd.
When Jani’s family announced a memorial concert was to be held August 29 at the Key Club in Hollywood, CA (read Aaron’s review of the show HERE), Aaron and I decided we had to be there. I also made sure we had time to stop by the Cafe to pay our respects. The morning after the show, we walked to the HRC to locate the jacket. All the way in the back of the restaurant, past the kitchen, next to the restrooms by the mall entrance door, we found the jacket….and I couldn’t believe what I was reading. The plaque under the jacket read as follows:
LOOKS SO GOOD MAKES A GROWN MAN CRY
A JACKET LIKE THIS COULD ONLY EXIST IN THE LATE 80’S. THIS FRINGED, BEDAZZLED, AND AIRBRUSHED WHITE LEATHER JACKET SIMPLY SCREAMS, “HAIR METAL POWER BALLAD!” AND THER’S GOOD REASON FOR THAT- THIS EYESORE WAS WORN BY WARRANT VOCALIST JANI LANE IN THE VIDEO FOR THEIR 1989 BALLAD “HEAVEN”. THIS JACKET IS LIKE A TIME CAPSULE OF BAD TASTE – TO US, THAT MAKES IT AWESOME. DEPENDING ON WHO YOU ASK, WARRANT WAS THE PINNACLE OR THE NADIR OF LOS ANGELES’ OFT-MALIGNED “HAIR-METAL” SCENE IN THE 80’S. THIS OH-SO-EIGHTIES HOT PINK IBANEZ WAS SIGNED BY THE BAND’S GUITARIST JOEY ALLEN AND BASSIST JERRY DIXON.
I was appalled. I couldn’t believe how disrespectful and rude the plaque was. There was other 80’s memorabilia in the same area from Guns’N Roses, White Lion and Ratt, none of which had any disparaging comments on their plaques. With the pain of Jani’s death still fresh in my heart I decided to fight to get this abomination changed.
What follows is the text of my email to Hard Rock Café International, dated September 3, 2011:
“I am very disappointed in the Hard Rock Hollywood for the disparaging write up you have on the white leather jacket worn by Jani Lane of Warrant in the Heaven video. “This eyesore” and “time capsule of bad taste” REALLY?? Hollywood and the Sunset Strip go hand in hand with Glam Metal. Where would YOU (HRC) be without the Hair Metal of the 80’s? These comments are unnecessary and rude. You are insulting a whole generation of music lovers and a LARGE portion of YOUR clientele. I personally have visited over 32 HRC around the world and make purchases at each. I am so appalled at your lack of professionalism knocking the music that makes the Hard Rock Cafe what it is, I am starting a campaign to request you change the plaque and will boycott your establishment until it is changed. I implore you to give Jani Lane the respect he deserves in death that you couldn’t give him in life.”
I was surprised two weeks later to receive this response from the Hard Rock Café:
“Thank you for contacting Hard Rock International and for your email. We want to genuinely thank you for bringing this to our attention. We are having this plaque removed today and ordering one with more appropriate verbiage. We would certainly never mean to disparage the image of a truly great rock star and this plaque was not reflective of Hard Rock’s beliefs.
“We thank you again for notifying us of this.”
I must admit I didn’t have much hope that it would be changed within the next year. HRC being a large corporation I’m sure it had to go through all the red tape and channels and would take forever. When we returned to LA a couple months later I was thrilled to see that they had already changed the plaque! It now reads as follows:
LOOKS SO GOOD MAKES A GROWN MAN CRY
A JACKET LIKE THIS COULD ONLY EXIST IN THE LATE 80’S. THIS FRINGED, BEDAZZLED, AND AIRBRUSHED WHITE LEATHER JACKET SIMPLY SCREAMS, “HAIR METAL POWER BALLAD!” AND THERE’S GOOD REASON FOR THAT- THIS JACKET WAS WORN BY WARRANT VOCALIST JANI LANE IN THE VIDEO FOR THEIR 1989 SMASH HIT “HEAVEN”. WARRANT WAS THE PINNACLE OF LOS ANGELES’ “HAIR-METAL” SCENE IN THE 80’S. THIS OH-SO-EIGHTIES HOT PINK IBANEZ WAS SIGNED BY THE BAND’S GUITARIST JOEY ALLEN AND BASSIST JERRY DIXON.
I must say I am impressed with the HRC and how quickly & professionally they handled this. I have always been a fan of the Hard Rock Cafe and its mission statement to the preservation of music and memorabilia, and this has restored my respect in them.
Don’t ever think that one email by an average Joe can’t make a difference.
My gift to you Jani – R.I.P.
Editor’s note – everyone here at The Rockpit congratulates and thanks Evil DelBono for her efforts in having the Hard Rock Cafe change this plaque, and bravo to the Cafe themselves for doing so so quickly.