Vixen is an American rock band formed in Minnesota in 1980. They achieved commercial success during the late 1980s and early 1990s as part of the Los Angeles, California glam metal scene. They were sometimes described as "the female Bon Jovi."
Vixen in 2018
|Also known as||Diaper Rash (1984)|
|Origin||St. Paul, Minnesota, United States|
|Genres||Glam metal, hard rock, pop rock|
|Years active||1980–1992, 1997–1998, 2001–present|
|Labels||EMI, Manhattan, CMC International, Eagle, Demolition|
|Associated acts||Lemon Pepper, Genesis, Madam X, Poison Dollys, Phantom Blue, Contraband, Bubble, Rocktopuss, Envy, L.A. Nookie, Femme Fatale, Richard Marx|
|Past members||Jan Kuehnemund|
Vixen was formed in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1980 by guitarist Jan Kuehnemund after playing in the band Lemon Pepper in high school later changing the name to Genesis, which broke up in 1974. Nancy Shanks was her bandmate during that time. Six years later she formed a new all-female rock band named Vixen with a new lineup.
Alex Henderson, writing for AllMusic, said they started in 1981 in Los Angeles, California. In 1984, an early version of the band with Kuehnemund, singer Janet Gardner, bassist Pia Maiocco, and rhythm guitarist/singer-songwriter Tammy Ivanov appeared in the movie Hardbodies, as the on-screen band Diaper Rash. They were a quintet at that time, playing in a pop rock style. In 1985, the band moved to the inner areas of Los Angeles to join the city's rock scene.
Lineup changes happened during the following years until the "classic lineup" of Kuehnemund, Gardner, Roxy Petrucci, and Share Pedersen was formed. This lineup of Vixen was interviewed in 1987 along with many other rock artists of the day by Penelope Spheeris for her film The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years. All members except Kuehnemund appeared in the film.
In 1988 the band was signed to EMI Manhattan, and they began recording their self-titled debut album Vixen, which was released in September 1988. Singer-songwriter Richard Marx co-wrote with Fee Waybill and arranged their signature hit, "Edge of a Broken Heart" and produced the song. Rumor was he was asked to assist the all-female band by EMI to produce their first major hit. Marx had nothing to do with their follow-up CD, since he was becoming more of a mainline singer than songwriter. Vixen spent the next year touring the world, supporting acts such as Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, and Bon Jovi, as well as headlining their own shows. The band returned to the studio in late 1989/early 1990 to record their follow-up album, Rev It Up, which was released in July 1990. A year of touring followed, including headlining their own shows and supporting acts such as KISS and Deep Purple. After the tour concluded in mid-1991, the group disbanded in 1992 due to musical differences.
In 1997, drummer Roxy Petrucci reformed Vixen, with Janet Gardner and recruited Gina Stile on lead guitar and Rana Ross on bass guitar. This lineup toured the United States in 1997, and in 1998 Gardner, Stile, and Petrucci recorded the album Tangerine, which eventually became Stile's only album and Gardner's last during their respective tenures in the band. After the release of the new album, Roxy's sister Maxine Petrucci was brought in to play bass on a US tour during 1998, but they were sued successfully for trademark infringement by Kuehnemund.
In 1999, Share Ross joined her husband's band, the Dogs D'Amour, who reformed after a long hiatus. She appeared on their 2000 albums Happy Ever After and Seconds, playing bass, keyboards, and backing vocals, later leaving that band. Share and her husband, Bam, also had their own band, Bubble, which was very popular in L.A.
In 2001, Vixen was reformed by Kuehnemund with a lineup consisting of herself, Janet Gardner, Roxy Petrucci, and new bassist Pat Holloway. This lineup toured the US as part of the Voices of Metal tour. Unfortunately, halfway through the tour, disagreements with management caused the band to split-up, with only Kuehnemund remaining. Kuehnemund quickly recruited Jenna Sanz-Agero (Jenna Piccolo), Lynn Louise Lowrey, and Kathrin "Kat" Kraft to complete the tour. They released two new albums in 2006, a live album, recorded at a live show in Sweden, called Extended Versions, and a studio album, Live & Learn.
In 2004, VH1 approached the four members of the "classic lineup" to appear on their show, Bands Reunited. The show was recorded in August 2004, and broadcast in the US in November 2004. Following the broadcast of the VH1 show, EMI re-released the first two Vixen albums, Vixen and Rev It Up.
Vixen also won the sixth annual Independent Music Awards Vox Pop vote for Best Hard Rock/Metal Song for "I Try".
Sanz-Agero confirmed in a 2011 interview that a second album featuring the 2001 lineup was in the works and that a track called "I Understand" existed along with other new recordings and outtakes from the Live & Learn sessions. There has yet to be a proper release for these recordings due to every member from that lineup either retiring from music or pursuing non-musical careers.
At the end of 2012, Jan Kuehnemund was planning to reunite the classic Vixen lineup with Janet Gardner, Share Ross, and Roxy Petrucci, who had since reunited in JSRG with guitarist Gina Stile. However, in January 2013, just days before they were about to make the official announcement of their reunion, Kuehnemund was diagnosed with cancer. The cancer diagnosis forced them to delay the announcement indefinitely, until possibly when Kuehnemund was fully recovered and cancer-free. Unfortunately, the plans of a full-fledged reunion became impossible as on October 10, 2013, after nine months battling cancer, Jan Kuehnemund died at the age of 59.
In December 2013, the three surviving classic lineup members of the band decided to carry on under the Vixen name in honor of late guitarist Jan Kuehnemund.
They played several gigs in 2014 in the US, Spain, and Canada. In October 2014, drummer Roxy Petrucci told in an interview that Vixen was working on a new album, featuring one song dedicated to Jan Kuehnemund.
In March 2017, Vixen parted ways with lead guitarist Gina Stile and chose Britt Lightning (b. Brittany Denaro) to succeed Stile. Lightning previously played in Jaded, another all-female band that is defunct. Initially, in a June 2018 interview, Petrucci said that the band's new album will come out in 2019. During 2018, Gardner's final contribution as lead singer was when Vixen went to a studio for the first time in more than 10 years and recorded two tracks for the Live Fire album, "You Ought to Know by Now" and an acoustic version of "Edge of a Broken Heart". The former is their own cover of Ray Kennedy's "You Oughta Know by Now", originally on his 1980 self-titled album.
On January 16, 2019, Gardner confirmed in a Facebook post that she definitely left Vixen to devote more time to family and prioritize her solo career. The band later released a statement on their official Facebook page stating they plan to continue without Gardner and that a new studio album has been in the works for what would have been a 2019 release. On January 22, they announced that Lorraine Lewis of Femme Fatale, Vixen's contemporaries during the glam metal heydays and also an all-female band from its refoundation in 2013, became their new singer, starting with a performance on February 9 in Clearwater, Florida. Lewis met Petrucci and Ross during her past collaborations with them in Rocktopuss and L.A. Nookie, a local cover band, respectively. She later explained in May that the band's upcoming album will have a tentative 2020 release year. If this album is released, it will become Vixen's first album of new studio material in more than a decade and it will be Lightning's and Lewis's first as the band's guitarist and vocalist respectively.
- Extended Versions (2006)
- Live in Sweden (2013)
- Live Fire (2018)
- The Best of Vixen: Full Throttle (1999)
- Rare Vintage (2018)
|Title||Release||Peak chart positions||Album|
|"Edge of a Broken Heart"||1988||26||24||51||Vixen|
|"Love Made Me"||—||—||36|
|"Edge of a Broken Heart"||—||—||59|
|"How Much Love"||1990||44||11||35||Rev It Up|
|"Love Is a Killer"||71||—||41|
|"Not a Minute Too Soon"||1991||—||—||37|
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart.|
- Hardbodies (1984) with the songs "Runnin'", "Give It a Chance" (written by Tammy Ivanov), "Mr. Cool", "Be with Me", "Maria" (written by Tammy Ivanov), and "Computer Madness"
- Beverly Hills, 90210: "Slumber Party" (1991) with the song "Streets in Paradise"
- Beavis and Butt-Head: "Wall of Youth" (1994) with the song "Edge of a Broken Heart"
- "Jan Kuehnemund, founder of pioneering all-female metal band Vixen, passes away". The Current. Minnesota Public Radio. October 11, 2013.
- Henderson, Alex. "Vixen". Allmusic. Rovi. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
- "VIXEN Guitarist Addresses Rumors Behind Band's Split". Blabbermouth.net. March 4, 2007.
- Kuehnemund, Jan (October 13, 2013). "A CMS Tribute To Jan Kuehnemund (made with Spreaker)". The Classic Metal Show (Podcast). YouTube. The question is asked at 19:52.
- Sanz-Agero, Jenna (July 23, 2011). "Vixen – Exclusive Interview with Jenna Sanz-Agero" (Interview). Interviewed by Rock Express.
- "Vixen members ressurect band". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
- Petrucci, Roxy. "Vixen recording new album" (Interview). Interviewed by Hèctor Prat and Albert Perera. Metaladies.com. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
- "VIXEN Parts Ways With Guitarist GINA STILE, Announces Replacement". Blabbermouth.net. March 26, 2017.
- Petrucci, Roxy (June 9, 2018). "ROXY PETRUCCI Says A 'Classic VIXEN Record' Will Surface In 2019" (Excerpt). Totally Driven Radio (Interview). Interviewed by Bay Ragni. Blabbermouth.net.
- Gardner, Janet (January 16, 2019). "After much soul searching and many sleepless nights, I have decided that it's time for me to step aside and let Roxy and Share pursue their vision for the future of Vixen..." Facebook.
- Vixen (January 18, 2019). "To all our Vixen friends and fans..." Facebook.
- Vixen (January 22, 2019). ""Waiting for the Big One"!?!??! Then wait no more!". Facebook.
- "VIXEN Is Writing Music For 'Badass' New Album". Blabbermouth.net. May 9, 2019. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 389. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Hardbodies (1984) – Soundtracks
- "Beverly Hills, 90210" Slumber Party (TV episode 1991) – IMDb
- Vixen – IMDb
- "Beavis and Butt-Head" Wall of Youth (TV episode 1994) – IMDb