Just before the release of new album Louder Harder Faster I sat down with longtime WARRANT guitarist Erik Turner. Over the course of twenty minutes we had a great conversation and it was very interesting to hear Erik explain what made the new record take shape and tell me how great an addition vocalist Robert Mason has been to the band. So crack open a cold one, take a seat, and have a look:
Amps: I have to tell you, one of my greatest WARRANT memories was seeing you live in December of 1989 at Nassau Coliseum opening for MÖTLEY CRÜE. You pulled out “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” which wasn’t released yet, and right then and there I knew it would be one of my all-time favorites!
Erik: Thank you. That’s interesting that you say that because I was telling somebody earlier how before Cherry Pie came out we were playing that one. It’s funny to hear you mention that. We didn’t have a really long set as openers but we felt so strongly about that song that we wanted to test it out on audiences. And it turned out to be a good one.
Amps: The first time I heard Rockaholic I knew what a great fit Robert Mason was for your band.
Erik: Yeah we got real lucky as the hands of fate would have it. We were looking for a singer, and he was available. We ran into each other in 2008 and at the time the writing was on the wall that things weren’t gonna work out with Jani (Lane, original vocalist, sadly now deceased). We exchanged numbers, he’s an old friend, LYNCH MOB opened on our Dog Eat Dog tour. Lane handpicked them because he and Robert were friends and he’d have another singer buddy to hang out with. Having Robert be the same age as us, grow up on and be influenced by the same things we were, we got lucky, you know? It’s hard to believe it’s been nine years and two records that he’s been in the band.
Amps: The biggest thing with Robert for me is that yeah, he’s got a great voice, but his tone and the emotion in it really drive the songs home. In fact, my favorite track on Rockaholic is “Home.” I feel like he really nails the human experience on that one.
Erik: That’s what all the greats do. No matter what type of voice you have, there has to be an honesty and real believability in the words they’re singing, like they’re feeling it, you know? And Robert definitely knows how to deliver that.
Amps: let’s talk about Louder Harder Faster, shall we?
Erik: For this record we blocked out six weeks in late 2016-early 2017 and Jeff Pilson (DOKKEN) was our producer. We do our best work with someone in the room who is objective. Working with Jeff, he brought in a ton of enthusiasm and he was real excited about the songs, which got us pumped up. You can write music and not know if anyone else is gonna like it, and to get feedback from other musicians, especially producers who can help you fine tune it and arrange it is great.
Working with Jeff from start to finish was great. That was awesome. The songwriting process, the first time I heard “Louder Harder Faster” was when Robert showed me an idea on his cell phone. Then Jerry (Dixon, bass) started writing songs, and I did, too. Robert and Jerry wrote most of the album, and we’re all real excited about it and proud of it. It’s definitely a little more hard rock and blues than albums of the past.
Amps: Oh man, Jeff Pilson has such a great ear, and he’s an amazing producer. I think he totally got the best out of you guys on this one.
Erik: Yeah, it really was a great experience, the actual recording of the record. And the time we spent together in the studio had a really good vibe the whole way through. That’s not always the case when recording (laughs), so it’s nice when it is.
Amps: You did the M3 Rock Festival recently. How was that for you?
Erik: It was our fourth or fifth time and it was a blast. I heard this was one of the highest-attended ones they’ve ever had but what a great venue, great staff, and awesome promoters. You talk about a top-notch staff, to get all those bands playing and have it run smoothly…wow. And it was great. A little hot, a little humid, but that’s okay, you just drink more beer!
Amps: “Only Broken Heart” is my favorite track on the record. It’s got a real THIN LIZZY vibe to it. What about you?
Erik: Yeah for me this record you can really here us wearing our influences on our sleeves on a lot of the songs. And you can also hear the influence of some of our older stuff. i think “Big Sandy” could have been on our first record. “Music Man” has a real classic WARRANT arrangement and music vibe in my opinion. Other songs like you mentioned “Only Broken heart” has the THIN LIZZY feel to it.
“Perfect” reminds me of FOREIGNER from the 70’s. Some of these tracks remind of us the bands we fell in love with when we were younger and you can hear those influences more than ever on this record, though it’s still definitely WARRANT.
Amps: When are you doing a full tour?
Erik: We have close to 50 shows booked so far, and we’re adding tour dates all the time. I post tour dates all the time, so check our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all that. We keep it up to date.
Amps: What would you like to say to all the WARRANT fans out there in the world?
Erik: Wow, thank you guys, all you music fans for keeping live music alive. That’s really what’s kept us going all these years. To be able to go out and play with so many great bands in a time when people stopped buying records means a lot. Thank you for your support, and for coming out to the live shows, it makes us feel so blessed to be able to do this all these years later. It feels amazing, thank you.
I really enjoyed chatting with Erik Turner about WARRANT then and now. He’s such a nice guy, which only makes rocking to this new album and cheering hard and loud for them that much easier. Pick up Louder Harder Faster (out now on Frontiers Music) wherever you buy music, and if they’re coming to your town, buy a ticket and get your ass to the show, willya?!?