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VIXEN Bassist Says ‘It Was Really Awkward’ To Reform Without Founding Guitarist JAN KUEHNEMUND

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Saturday, 13 May 2017
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Emily Strigl of the “Talking Metal” podcast conducted an interview with VIXEN guitarist Britt Lightning and bassist Share Ross prior to the band’s April 29 performance at the M3 Rock Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. You can watch the full chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On how Lightning (a.k.a. Brittany Denaro) joined VIXEN:

Britt: “I think it was a combination of some friends recommending me and I think [VIXEN manager] Larry [Morand] saw me play at one of the Monsters Of Rock Cruise pre-parties. We got together and jammed a few songs and it worked out! I’m super-happy to be here; it’s an honor to be playing with these ladies. They’re legends and they’re amazing.”

On how VIXEN reformed in 2012, then handled the news that founding guitarist Jan Kuehnemund was diagnosed with cancer:

Share: “It started with us just getting on the phone with each other saying, ‘Hey, let’s get back together and let’s do this again.’ And it felt really good. Then, we were starting to get a few gigs coming and then we were writing the press release [about the reunion]. Then she [Jan] called up, ‘I have to tell you something,’ then she said, ‘I’ve got cancer.’ We said, ‘Okay, what do you want to do?’ How bad is it?’ It was a lot of conversations from that point, then it became about she was an extremely private person. She did not want it to be public. We totally had to respect that. It was weird. [The press] is like, ‘Where’s Jan?’ We went out without her. We didn’t want to call ourselves VIXEN because we thought she would come back and there would be no entrance. We thought we would go out as JSRG until she was well and when she was well, then we would become VIXEN, and then she came back, it was like the air let out of the balloon. It made no sense to go out as VIXEN at that time, so that’s why we went out as JSRG. Then people were going ‘Where’s Jan? That’s horrible that she’s not with you.’ We were like, ‘No, it’s not horrible…’ It was really awkward. We couldn’t say anything. She just wanted to have that space.”

On Kuehnemund‘s passing at the age of 51 in 2013:

Share: “It happened suddenly. She was getting better and better. Then all of a sudden, it was months of her getting better and there was just a three-week decline and she died. It was literally ‘Oh-uh. She’s not doing well. Oh, she’s doing worse. She’s doing worse.’ Then she was gone. Then we just didn’t know what to do. We carried on as VIXEN. We just said ‘Okay, let’s be VIXEN again.’ Thankfully, Gina [Stile] was our guitar player then and she stayed with us throughout all of that. She was awesome.”

On whether VIXEN is writing new material:

Share: “Now that Britt is here, the riff ideas are flying around. We’re probably going to start working on stuff, cyberspace-wise, everybody doing it in our setting. We are all spread out. California, Florida, Connecticut and Michigan. But a lot of e-mails. We’re going to be flying all the demo ideas around and stuff. We’ve already started working on some really cool stuff, but everybody has solo stuff. Roxy‘s [Petrucci, drums] in MADAM X, she’s also got another thing with her sister called V.I.P. AFTERSHOW that Mark Slaughter [SLAUGHTER] sang on the first two singles. Janet‘s [Gardner, vocals] just putting out her first solo stuff called Janet Gardner. I’ve had BUBBLE for about 20 years — BUBBLE is with my husband as well — the other thing is called TWIN FLAMES. That’s just out there. [Laughs] That’s just the stuff we do for kicks.”

Lightning and new keyboardist Tyson Leslie made their live debut with VIXEN on March 25 at the Rock The Arena II festival at Savage Arena in Toledo, Ohio.

Stile originally played with VIXEN in 1997-1998 and returned to the band in 2013 as the replacement for Kuehnemund.

Lightning previously played guitar for LA BANDA DE ALEJANDRO SANZ, CHIX 6 – THE MUSICAL and Rachel Platten.

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