One of the downsides to my birthday is that it is also the date that Jani Lane passed away in 2011.
Every year since his passing I post this same video as it has a particularly special meaning for me.
It was with this band that I first saw Jani (then known as Jonathan aka "Mitch Dynamite") perform at an all-ages festival, when I was still in high school.
My next encounter with him some six years later was at the Rock-It Club in Tampa ( with Lillian Axe headling no less) He was there as a guest merely hanging out with Bobbie, when he and I had the opportunity to meet by chance and immediately engaged in a spotnaneous conversation while waiting at the bar. Unexpectedly, Jani invited me and my friends to sit with them for the rest of the evening... TOTAL CLASS ACT.
I went on to meet with him on a number of occasions thereafter until about 2009 or so. I never thought that would be the last time I'd see him play and I regret taking that for granted.
In my opinion, Jani was criminally underrated and at the same time unfairly pigenholed because of one single song. To say he was an influence on me as musician and as a songwriter is an understatement. But more so, he was an even better person and someone whose aquaintance I am truly honored to have made.
RIP Jani - Gone but not forgotten.