Charlie Griffiths enters a Dog Eat Dog world and gets a slice of Cherry Pie as he takes a look at Erik Turner and Joey Allen of Warrant.
Erik Turner and Joey Allen of Warrant get the Charlie Griffiths treatment this time around.
Guitarist Erik Turner formed Warrant in 1984 and worked the LA club scene for years. Joey Allen completed a guitar partnership that would take the scene by storm. Their first demo was recorded in 1987 at Prince’s Paisley Park, and one of the tracks, Game Of War, was used in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. In 1988 Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich became an instant hit on the metal scene and contained some excellent guitar playing. 1990’s Cherry Pie and its title track became a bona fide rock anthem with its singalong chorus, driving riff and slinky solo (actually played by Poison’s CC DeVille). In this period the band enjoyed world tours with Poison, Mötley Crüe and David Lee Roth. 1992’s Dog Eat Dog was heavier and darker and a big critical hit, although commercial success was waning due to the rise of grunge and a loss of interest in hair metal. This would also be the final album to feature the original line-up. In 1994 Joey Allen quit to work as a software engineer, and Rick Steier appeared on the 1995 release Ultraphobic. The album reflected the times with a grungier sound, drop D riffs and grittier tones. Steer appeared on three more releases, but was replaced by Quiet Riot’s Billy Morris for 2006’s Born Again, only for Allen to return for Rockaholic in 2011. Warrant continues to this day despite the death of lead singer Jani Lane in 2011.
We have five examples, the first typical of the playing on Cherry Pie, which starts with some AC/DC-style open chords and a descending lick on the lowest two strings. Joey Allen and Erik Turner play with attitude and energy; the notes are picked confidently and vibrato is expressive.
The next two riffs are inspired by tracks from Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich. First
(1-2-3-4-5-6-b7) is a Mixolydian riff but with added it has a lot of forward momentum due to the constant 16th-note phrasing. The next riff incorporates natural harmonics, produced by lightly touching the string over the fretwire and lifting off as you pick. Riff 4 takes on the band’s more progressive influence; in two parts it uses the same harmony and chords but played in two different styles; first as ballad-esque clean chords, then as a heavy metal style riff. Our final example harks back to Ultrasonic’s grungier sound and is in drop D tuning.
The solo is a collection of techniques used by Joey Allen, with blues licks, wide stretch Pentatonics, scale sequences and tapping. Practice each lick slowly and carefully before joining them all together for the full solo.
THEY RECORDED THEIR FIRST DEMO AT PRINCE’S PAISLEY PARK: THE TRACK, GAME OF WAR, APPEARED IN BILL AND TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE
NEXT MONTH Charlie looks at the devastating hard rock style of Yngwie Malmsteen
Joey Allen of Warrant: pre-grunge hair metal kings!