THE BLOG
08/12/2011 03:39 pm ET Updated Oct 12, 2011

Sweet Cherry Pie

Jani Lane, frontman of the eighties glam rock band Warrant with his palomino locks and bulging eyes, was found dead yesterday at the age of 47. And I'm a bit saddened because I've got an indelible nostalgic spot for hair metal. While most kids can cite the Beatles or Nirvana as the soundtrack to their youth, I had older siblings blasting glam rock from their rooms while piercing the ozone layer with hair spray. And those upbeat tunes were awesome.

The Billboard article on his death labels their biggest single, "Cherry Pie," as "brazenly sexist." Billboard, you bunch of prudes -- you are so wrong.

For starters, there's one girl in the video -- ONE -- not bunch of nondescript women and their interchangeable, disembodied close-ups. And Jani Lane ended up marrying the model (for a few years anyway). This is the case with most hair metal videos (Whitesnake), yet they received a lot of flack for being sexist and touting the "male gaze." What a crock! It's sexual politics -- the material of most pop songs, literature and art. Unrequited desire brings unrelenting anxiety and tormented ballads. Tapping that ass begets the celebratory "Cherry Pie."

Watching "Cherry Pie," all I see is Jani Lane saluting the callipygian Bobbi Brown. She's hot. So hot he has to "think about baseball" so he can swing all night with her. She's his pagan goddess, toting a body that's bewitched him. We're treated to many close-up shots of her endowments.

The video is delightfully over-the-top and silly, not so much sexist but more hypersexual. Though the symbolism is obvious, the scene where those androgynous rockers stand behind each other and spray her with a firehose stikes me more as homoerotic. Not to mention that the band and Bobbi Brown are never in the shot together, the scene is spliced from two shots -- one of the hose-holding band in a virtual conga line, the other of Bobbie Brown getting splashed. Warrant practically puts the "mate" in "bandmate".

It's true that she doesn't do anything in the video but look hot, but why is that an issue? The song isn't about her mental prowess -- it's about how much he wants to sleep with her. And that's the sexual power she has over him. She's in control -- teasing and pleasuring at her whim, making him shout her nickname from the rock's equivalent of the rooftop.

Eighties glam rock has roots in seventies punk, back when it was based in neurotic New York City and prim n' proper London. When the superficial and overtly sexual Los Angeles absorbed punk's simple song structure and decadent rebellion, it spat out those ridiculous and wonderful hair rockers. And the world ate it UP.

"Cherry Pie" came at the end of this aerosol era. What started as L.A.'s unique interpretation of raunchy punk rock (I've listened to Motley Crue's Shout at the Devil more than I should admit) concluded as Velveeta. Yes, "Cherry Pie" lacks any depth, but that's what's great about it -- it's a party! But every fete has a sobering aftermath and just a year after Warrant released the tune, Nirvana and the rest of the grunge boys brought their songs of rage and depression. Culturally, we were ready for it. Those bacchanal years, that decade of decadence, yielded consequences of drug dependency and disease.

To Jani Lane, who penned one of the most notorious eighties L.A. glam rock tunes. May there be a slice of cherry pie for you in the netherworld.