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Style Hard Rock

Country USA
PhotobucketVixen is an all-female American hard rock band. Hailed as “the female Bon Jovi”, the band achieved commercial success during the late 1980s and early 1990s as part of the Los Angeles, California glam metal scene. Vixen was formed in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1980 by guitarist Jan Kuehnemund while still at high school. They were the first all female rock band from the Twin Cities (Têtes Noires was the first all female rock band from Minneapolis a year or two later).

Alex Henderson, writing for Allmusic, says they started in 1981 in Los Angeles. In 1984, an early version of the band with Kuehnemund, singer Janet Gardner and bassist Pia Maiocco (who later married guitarist Steve Vai) appeared in the movie Hardbodies, as the on-screen band Diaper Rash. In 1985, the band moved to Los Angeles, California to be part of the L.A. rock scene.

It was 1984, the year when this early Vixen version, completed with Tamara Ivanov (rhythm guitar), Pia Miacco (bass, later Steve Vai’s wife) and Laurie Hedlund on drums, played live in a movie called “Hardbodies”. Originally made for Playboy TV, but released as a feature film instead, this R-rated movie was about beach & parties. Vixen appeared playing six songs as the on-screen band Diaper Rash.

The “classic” Vixen lineup was two members away, being the drummer Roxy Petrucci the first of them joining the formation. She was playing with her sister Maxine in Madam X, but after they splitted up Vixen sent her a demo, and after some jams together Roxy became the new band drummer.

As a four piece act they made a three track demo, fetaturing “Leave Me Alone”, “Waiting For You” and “You Oughta Know By Now”, which was sent to EMI. The company invited the four girls to a showcase, enough to seal their relation with a contract in 1988. This was the year when the classic lineup was completed, after Sharon “Share” Pedersen (discovered by Janet playing in Hollywood) replaced Pia on the bass, and the year they were interviewed by Penelope Spheeris for her film The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years. This documentary follows the heavy metal scene in Los Angeles, with particular emphasis on the glam metal sub-genre, and although Vixen were interviewed they didn’t play live neither collaborated in the movie soundtrack.

Soon after signing the record deal with EMI, Vixen began to work in their debut self-titled album, to release it the fall of 1988. It was produced by David Cole, Spencer Proffer, Rick Neigher and Richard Marx, who was the composer and keyboardist of the first hit extracted from the album, “Edge Of A Broken Heart”, which reached the 26th position in the US charts. It had a great MTV coverage, and was only overcome by the follow up single “Cryin’”, which went to the #22. “Love Made Me” was the last single coming out from this great debut album that sold more than a million of copies.

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. In 1989 they played at the Milton Keynes festival, headlined by Bon Jovi and with Skid Row and Europe in the folder.

A live gig in Düsseldorf (Germany) was broadcasted live on television on 1989 January the 5th, before they returned to the studio later this year to record “Rev It Up”. It was released in July 1990 and entered the UK Chart at No 20. Highest position on US Chart was #52, surely not the one EMI was expecting. While in “Vixen” the band members (mostly Kuehnemund and Gardner) participated in the composition process of 5 out of 11 songs, in its sophomore the number grew up to 10.

The singles “How Much Love”, “Love Is A Killer” and “Not A Minute Too Soon” were in the set lists of the tours following the album release and in the video “Revved Up”, a six clip compilation.

The tours included headlining shows, an unplugged concert for the MTV, and opening gigs for bands such as Kiss and Deep Purple. It was after their European tour with Deep Purple in April 1991 when the band called it a day due to musical differences and management issues.

In 1997, drummer Roxy Petrucci reformed Vixen, with Janet Gardner (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Gina Stile (lead guitar), and Rana Ross (bass). This line up toured the United States in 1997, and in 1998 Gardner, Stile, and Petrucci recorded the album Tangerine. After the release of the new album, Roxy’s sister Maxine Petrucci was brought in to play bass on a U.S. tour of 1998, but they were sued for copyright infringement by Kuehnemund.

In 1999, Share Pedersen joined her husband’s band, the Dogs D’Amour, who were reforming after a long hiatus. She appeared on their 2000 album, Happy Ever After, playing bass, keyboards, and, backing vocals. Share and her husband, Bam, also have their own band, Bubble, which is very popular in L.A..
PhotobucketIn 2001, Vixen was reformed by Kuehnemund with a lineup consisting of herself, Janet Gardner, Roxy Petrucci, and new bassist Pat Holloway. This line up toured the U.S. as part of the Voices of Metal tour. Unfortunately, half-way through the tour, disagreements caused the band to split-up, with only Kuehnemund remaining. Kuehnemund quickly recruited Jenna Sanz-Agero (Jenna Piccolo) (lead vocals), Lynn Louise Lowrey (bass), and Kathrin “Kat” Kraft (drums) to complete the tour. This line up is still together, and 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 U.S. in November 2004. Following the broadcast of the VH1 show, EMI re-released the first two Vixen albums, Vixen and Rev It Up.

Winner of the 6th annual Independent Music Awards Vox Pop vote for best Hard Rock/Metal song “I Try”. The current Vixen plans include recording a new studio CD and major tour promotion in 2009. A special remix with bonus tracks and a DVD of the Sweden Rock’ 05 concert, entitled “Live In Sweden” will be released in Europe.

At the end of 2012, Jan Kuehnemund was planning to reunite the classic Vixen line-up with Janet Gardner, Share Pedersen, 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 because on October 10, 2013, after nine months battling cancer, Jan Kuehnemund passed away at the age of 51.

In December 2013 the 3 surviving original members of the band decided to carry on under the Vixen name in honor of late guitarist Jan Kuehnemund. They did some gigs in 2014 in USA, 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. 

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Vixen – Vixen [1988]
Vixen – Rev it Up [1990]
Vixen – Tangerine [1998]
Vixen – Live and Learn [2006]

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