Being a radical feminist, it's time to shine the spotlight on some girl rockers.
Today...bad girl quartet Vixen.
Vixen was formed in Minnesota in 1980 by guitarist Jan Kuehnemund while still attending high school. She moved to L.A. hiring and firing several musicians along the way. It wasn't until the late 80s that the Vixen line-up was secure, featuring singer Janet Gardner, bassist Share Pedersen and drummer Roxy Petrucci.
In a male-dominated industry, the girls in Vixen had to prove their musical chops time and time again. Gender is constructed, but in the 1980s the lines that divided the sexes were much different than today. While the girls in Vixen look beautiful in their video for "Edge of a Broken Heart," their male counterparts went on the defensive, competing for chart placement, record sales...and bigger hair.
For the ladies, hairspray, pantyhose, high heels and eye liner were acceptable. For men, a form of rebellion. The male rockers played electric guitar with ease, and used their axe skills to impress the ladies. If a woman can outplay (outwit! outlast!) a man on stage...then what was the point?
Ironically enough, Vixen played their biggest shows in support of hugely popular male acts including Bon Jovi. The girls in Vixen and Richard Marx shared a manager, which eventually led to their most popular single, "Edge of a Broken Heart."
After their self-titled debut Vixen the girls hit the recording studio for their 1990 follow-up Rev It Up. Tensions boiled over and the band broke-up. Lawsuits and reunions later, a new Vixen album hit store shelves at the end of January. Live & Learn features a new Vixen line-up, again fronted by guitarist Jan Kuehnemund. Other members of the new Vixen are singer Jenna Sanz-Agero, bassist Lynn Louise Lowrey, and drummer Kat Kraft.
Ironically enough, while I was doing my Vixen research a story crossed the Blabbermouth newswire. During an interview on The Classic Metal Show, Jan Kuehnemund addressed the "real" reason behind the Vixen break-up. Some people say there was a physical dispute which left original singer Janet Gardner knocked on the floor. Of course, Kuehnemund denied the account so we'll probably never know what caused the split of the greatest all-girl metal group.