Saturday June 15th the Down Boys of rock ‘n roll are taking Pittsburgh Raceway Park by storm.
Warrant and their fellow brothers in rock, Firehouse and Trixter, are performing at the raceway as part of their Cherry Pie Tour.
The history of the Cherry Pie Tour goes back to the early 1990’s when Warrant released their hit album of the same name.
“Well, in 1991 I believe it was, we did a tour with Firehouse and Trixter. Our Cherry Pie CD was out at that time and so it’s fun whenever the three bands can get together and put a show on together,” Erik Turner, co-founder of Warrant, said.
Turner said the three bands have a lot of history together and he enjoys any chance he gets to do a concert with them, which tends to be periodically.
He said out of the fifty shows Warrant performed last year roughly fifteen of them were with the Cherry Pie Tour line up.
“It’s a lot of fun playing with those guys. We’ve known them obviously a long time. Trixter has a platinum record and Firehouse has had platinum records and we sold a boat load of records. So there’s a lot of hit songs between the three bands and it makes for a great evening of 80’s rock ‘n roll,” Turner said.
Though Warrant’s love of music has remained, the way the band gets to the shows has changed quite a bit since their early days.
“Well, the biggest change is we use to go out for you know, sixteen months or twelve months at a time. Go on tour back in the day when you have a hit record, you just go and go and go. Now we just go out and play on weekends. You know during the fall and winter we might play one or two shows a month and then during the summer is when we’re out busy, out playing every weekend.”
As a result, the band flies to each gig as opposed to taking a bus.
“Flying commercial is a bit of a beating but I really do love coming home during the week, that is nice,” Turner said.
When it comes to the concert Turner said the band concentrates on their first two albums Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinkin’ Rich and Cherry Pie.
“Both those records ended up selling over three million copies each worldwide. So we know people want to hear songs that are familiar to them, we still love playing those songs,” Turner said.
One of his favorites to play is, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” from Cherry Pie.
“That song and of course playing a new song off the Rockalcoholic CD is always really cool. There’s a song called ‘Sex Ain’t Love’ that we play live. Those two songs I really enjoy playing,” Turner said.
Warrant does like to work new material from their most recent release, 2011’s Rockalcoholic, into the set list.
“So we’ll play, for example, fourteen songs from the first two CD’s and then we’ll play like three songs maybe from Rockalcoholic and mix them all up,” Turner said.
Turner said it’s enjoyable to see the reactions from the fans when they play classics like “Heaven” or “Down Boys.” He also said that audiences are beginning to learn their new material just as well.
“Even more and more, we’ll be playing some of the new songs and we’ll see some people out there singing the words to the new songs which is always really cool as well. We just love playing music and we’re blessed to be able to keep touring and keep making music all these years later,” Turner said.
For a great concert, Turner said there are many ingredients that have to come together. There’s all the stage work such as the lighting and the sound but there’s also the vibration and energy from the audience that brings the music to life. Turner said it doesn’t matter the size of the audience, could be anywhere from five hundred to five thousand, it’s the vibe they send off that influences the show.
Making up that audience now is no longer the first generation of fans but now a second generation and even a third as the music is handed down through the years.
“My son is in sixth grade and he loves all kinds of music but I notice a lot of his friends love Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Hendrix and A.C.D.C. and I’m like, ‘wow, when I was in high school those were the bands that I liked.’ And these kids are like in junior high and elementary school and their learning how to play all these different type of classic rock songs on guitar,” Turner said.
Turner when on to say that, “you think it’s generational and it’s going to go away but for whatever reason bands like Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith and KISS and all that, the music is just timeless, at least at this point. Forty years later and four generations later it’s still carrying on.”
When he isn’t rocking audience with Warrant’s countless hits, Turner can be found in the vineyards of South Coast Winery. Turner joined forces with the winery to create his own label. He works first hand with the wine makers in the barrel room to craft his own signature, “Erik Turner: Rocker Red” and “Warrant: I Saw Red.”
Turner has a new wine coming out next month called, “Punk Rock Red” which he is very excited about. He also mentioned a new Warrant wine is also in the works.
The wine can be ordered online through South Coast Winery, Warrant’s official site or, if fans happened to be at a local California store, they can purchase a bottle and perhaps meet Turner during a bottle signing.
The meet and greets are special to Turner as he said they allow him to meet new people and hear stories that he otherwise would not have had the opportunity to do.
“I do a lot of tasting events during the week and then go play rock ‘n roll on the weekends. So I get to do my two passions wine and music,” Turner said.
Pittsburgh fans can rest assured that Turner and Warrant will bring their passion to town for what is sure to be one of the best rock ‘n roll weekends of the summer.