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Vixen are an all-female American rock band. They 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 1973 by guitarist Jan Kuehnemund while still in 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.
Lineup changes happened during the following years until the "classic lineup" of Janet Gardner (b. Janet Patricia Gardner on March 17, 1962 in Juneau, Alaska, USA) - lead vocals, rhythm guitar, Jan Kuehnemund (b.Janice Lynn "Jan" Kuehnemund (November 18, 1961 – October 10, 2013) - lead guitar, background vocals, Share Pedersen (b. Sharon June Howe on March 21, 1963 in Glencoe, Minnesota) - bass, background vocals, and Roxy Petrucci (b. Roxy Dora Petrucci on March 17, 1960 in Rochester, Michigan) - drums, background vocals, 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.
In 1988 the band was signed to EMI, and they began recording their 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. Richard 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. In mid-1991, the group disbanded due to musical differences.
In 1997, drummer Roxy Petrucci reformed Vixen, with Janet Gardner and recruited Gina Stile (b. 19 January 1965), and Rana Ross (bass). This lineup 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.
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 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. 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 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".
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 died at the age of 51.
In December 2013 the 3 surviving classic line-up 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.
Janet Gardner – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, tambourine (1983–1991, 1997–1998, 2001, 2004, 2012-2013, 2013–present)
Roxy Petrucci – drums, clarinet, backing vocals (1986–1991, 1997–1998, 2001, 2004, 2012–2013, 2013–present)
Share Pedersen – bass, backing vocals (1987–1991, 2004, 2012–2013, 2013-present)
Gina Stile – lead guitar, backing vocals (1997–1998, 2013–present)
Jan Kuehnemund - lead guitar, backing vocals (1974, 1980-1991, 2001-2013; died 2013)
Laurie Hedlund – drums, backing vocals (1974, 1980-1983, 1984-1986)
Gayle Erickson-DeMatoff – bass, backing vocals (1974, 1980-1983)
Cindy Boettcher – keyboards, backing vocals (1974, 1980-1983; died 2014)
Marlene Peterson – drums (1974)
Nancy Shanks – lead vocals (1974)
Noelle Bucci – lead vocals (1983)
Liza Carbe – bass, backing vocals (1983)
Tamara Ivanov – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1984-1986)
Pia Maiocco – bass, backing vocals (1984-1986)
Rana Ross – bass, backing vocals (1997-1998)
Maxine Petrucci – bass, backing vocals (1998)
Pat Holloway – bass, backing vocals (2001)
Jenna Sanz-Agero – lead vocals (2001–2012)
Lynn Louise Lowrey – bass, backing vocals (2001-2012)
Kathrin "Kat" Kraft – drums, backing vocals (2001-2012)
Richard Marx – keyboards on Vixen (1988)
Mike Pisculli – bass, backing vocals on Tangerine (1998 — all tracks)
Chris Fayz – keyboards on Live & Learn (2006 — tracks "Little Voice", "Give Me Away")
Randy Wooten – keyboards on Live & Learn (2006 — track "Suffragette City")
Paulie Cerra – saxophone on Live & Learn (2006 — track "Suffragette City")
Robert Lear – bagpipes on Live & Learn (2006 — track "Give Me Away")