Country artist Rayen Belchere reveals that he has unreleased songs that he co-wrote with Jani Lane
Early Ray frontman and country artist Rayen Belchere was recently interviewed by Chuck Shute for the Chuck Shute Podcast. Earlier this month, Early Ray released their country remake of the Warrant classic “Cherry Pie” which was wittingly renamed “Apple Pie” and features two Warrant alumni — guitarist Billy Morris (who played in Warrant from 2000 to 2004) and actress Bobbie Brown (who appeared in the video for “Cherry Pie”). The band’s new album Apple Pie will be released via RLS New Country Records on July 20, 2020.
In terms of how he got to know Lane, Belchere indicated (as transcribed by the Chuck Shute Podcast with slight edits): “Well, it’s a little bit of a long story, but I’ll touch on all the parts. When I was a kid, my first concert I ever saw [was when] my brother took me [to] was Poison and Warrant on, I think, [the] Flesh And Blood Tour. And Joey Allen threw a guitar pick at me. And I was just so… technically they were the first band I saw. And they make such a big impression. I was just such a fan. And then I just started to realize how much of a great songwriter Jani was like. I’d hear other bands in that era, and in the music was, some of it would be disposable. But Jani always had like lyrics that were clever. They were deep, they kind of approach things differently. And so it was on my bucket list as a kid, like, I gotta write a song with that guy.
And I just liked the songwriting, and I was at NAMM in ’96 or ’97. And I saw it in and I was like, freaking out as being a nerd. And I stopped him and said, ‘Hey, can I grab a photo?’ And I could tell he was not really in a good mood. And I said, ‘Hey man, thank you. Just think you’re a great songwriter.’ And he stopped. He turned around, and he goes, ‘What do you say?’ I said, ‘Dude, I’m just a fan. I think you’re a great songwriter. I’m sorry to bother you.’ And he came back, shook my hand and apologized and said, ‘Dude, I needed to hear that today. Thank you.’ You know, and he goes, ‘Fuck that picture, screw that. Screw that picture.’ And he goes ‘Screw that picture.’ And he stopped and somebody walked in and said, ‘Can you take this photo for us?’ And we took the photo which you [are] seeing the [Metal] Sludge article.
And then so then years later, I was working years later. I had a band and we were working with Mike Rafeal from Jailhouse, working with John Kalodner Portrait Records trying to get you know, work out a deal with him and John Weakland. We had it all set up. And when I was out there, we had to find an attorney, because we were on our way to signing a record deal. This was a band called Ultracide that nobody’s ever heard of, but it was a band that was in and we did some demos…. And so we did . A list of attorneys came at me. And one of them was Owen Sloane. And I was like, ‘That’s who repped Warrant‘ because I saw his name in the record. I want that guy. I trust him. I was 21. And at 22, I trust[ed] that guy. So he repped Warrant. So we did the showcase at the Viper Room for management.
So afterwards, all the managers who want to come once you have a deal, they all want to manage you, right? So we went up to the Rainbow, and to kind of interviews with the managers to see who’s a good fit. And I didn’t know who was who. I didn’t know who rep who. I didn’t know anything. And I walked up to a guy and he goes, ‘Hey, man. You’re [a] good songwriter. I don’t have all night. What do I got to do to get you? Who do you want to work with? Who do you want to produce your record? Who do you want to write with?’ I said, ‘Man, this is gonna sound crazy’ because back then, you know, late ’90s, “glam rock” on the strip was like a dirty word. I looked at him. I looked at the guy and ‘I don’t know if you’ve heard of this guy, but I’d love to write with a guy named Jani Lane.’ Well, the guy [that] said that ended up being Obi Steinman, who was Jani Lane‘s manager.
So Obi being such a gangster and I love Obi, looked right over my shoulder to all the other managers waiting to talk to us on the patio. He goes, ‘Go home guys. He belongs to us.’ And I looked at him, ‘Like what do you mean?’ He goes, ‘Hold on’ and he picked up the phone and the next day, I’m in Van Nuys writing songs with Jani and we kind of struck up a friendship mostly over our mutual love of College football. He’s a Ohio State Buckeyes fan. I’m a South Carolina fan. And we had just played each other in like the Outback Bowl. So we’re just bonding over that. And, you know, we became buddies. You know, we would run into each other. We chat[ted] and text[ed] occasionally during football season. You know, we weren’t best friends or anything, but we certainly were friendly and we wrote songs together. You know, we run into each other, have a drink at the Rainbow kind of thing. And wow.”
In regard to whether the songs that he wrote with Lane ever saw the light of day, Belchere revealed: “No. They’re in my bedroom.” Belchere added: “There’s three songs and I never put them out because after me it was just about the learning experience. And you know, getting to study with one of my who’s somebody I considered a songwriting master right? I get to study with them. And I didn’t really take it like the songs were meant to released, but they’re great song. And it’s, you know, this “Apple Pie ” thing generates enough interest. Maybe, you know, maybe I’ll, I’ll let a couple out. You know, but you have to re-record them that. Yeah, 20 something years old.”
With respect to whether Lane would be given a songwriting credit if the songs came out, Belchere indicated: “That’s the thing. I don’t know. If I dusted those things off, I would probably have to call you know, somebody and arrange a co-writing [for] all that credit, but I don’t, you know?”
Early Ray‘s “Apple Pie” video: