In late 1990, December to be exact, I was running all over Hell’s Half Acre with my mother (may she rest in peace) on a Wednesday night. We were getting ready for one of our Christmas trips to Ireland, and had some things to buy at Sunrise Mall (including my kickass Durango cowboy boots!) among other places. By this time Mom knew the deal: you want me to go shopping, then I control the tape deck. And on this particular night I happened to have the new WARRANT album Cherry Pie in the pocket of my denim jacket. So I slapped that fucker into the maw of the ‘87 LeBaron’s deck and off we went.
Now let’s face it, opener and title track “Cherry Pie” ain’t winning any awards for Cerebral Song of the Year or anything, but goddamn it’s a fun rockin’ tune, amirite?? And 17-year old me ate it up like candy, as I’m sure many of you did, and still do today. But make no mistake, this was not indicative of the rest of the album. From this point on, vocalist Jani Lane and the band were on a mission to show they could write with real depth, real heart, and real soul. Guess what? They did it in spades on this one.
All it takes is one listen to “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, a song about a boy and his uncle witnessing a murder by the local sheriff to see that these guys weren’t just some pretty boys (although they WERE all pretty!). A song like this only proves that WARRANT has always been severely underrated in the overall hard rock/metal landscape from back in the day. This one still hits me even now in 2018. “I Saw Red”..wow, what do I say about this one? It’s about singer Jani Lane walking in on his girlfriend fucking his best friend. I won’t say that we all can relate to the actual situation, but we’ve all been cheated on by a dirty ex, so this one immediately hit home for me.
One of the songs that always resonated with me was and is “Bed of Roses”, a track talking about Desiree who lives two doors down, and the nice guy who lives down the hall. Man, that was me so many times in my life. I loved the trainwreck next door and it ended badly. But still, 17-year old Damian had a girlfriend and just loved this one. Hell, I still do. It really is a beautiful tune, and it’s one that pops into my head often at random times. I have to confess, I drove Rita crazy rewinding this one over and over. I’m pretty sure she would have thrown me from the car if she could have gotten away with it.
“Sure Feels Good to Me” and “Love In Stereo” filled the part of the dirty sexy songs before ballad “Blind Faith” came out and wowed us once again, showing that WARRANT was much more than your typical hair metal band. “Song and Dance Man” and “Mr. Rainmaker” are those tunes that showcase a band’s growth from debut to sophomore effort, while at the same time “Ode to Tipper Gore” reminds us all that this life is just one big funhouse and rollercoaster, and that we shouldn’t take said life too seriously.
Look, when it’s all said and done, Cherry Pie might not seem like that big a deal to most people. I mean let’s face it, WARRANT wasn’t exactly writing RUSH-like lyrics and melodies. But for me, it has a ton of memories. And the best one is riding around with Mom in search of cowboy boots while she hated my music in the tape deck. And of course there were some adolescent sticky fumblings to this record. Those are just a couple of reasons why this will always and forever be in my Classic Albums. I hope it’s in yours too. ~dc