Why did Vixen decide to call it a day back in 1991?
Actually people were going in different musical directions like a lot of bands do. A couple of people wanted to do one thing and they were writing some songs in a certain style.
So what made you reform the band?
Because I missed Vixen - Vixen is what I've been doing my whole life and I wanted to bring it back.
So what have you been doing between '91 and now?
Working on different projects with different players and singers. I wrote some songs for movie soundtracks, including one called "Monkey Bone". I was involved as a creative person on some soundtracks, but I worked anonymously.
What side projects have you been involved with?
I worked with a group of guys for a while. I worked with a different female singer. Actually I've worked with three different bands off and on. We recorded many songs, but they were not actually released, not yet anyway.
The original reformation included Roxy Petrucci and Janet Gardner. Two weeks ago, three members of the reformed band, including them, were replaced. What happened?
Well, we started about a year ago, working on a Vixen reunion with the original members. Janet and Roxy came along and Share was doing her own thing in Bubble so she didn't participate. Everyone hoped it would work out and it didn't. We did part of the Voices of Metal tour this summer and we had the highest hopes for a tour with those members, but it just didn't work out. I wanted to keep going and I did.
How did you get these new girls so quickly?
That is a deep dark secret. I don't know if I can tell you that! Actually, it's like a miracle. Two of the members were recommended by friends - the lead singer and the bass player. So we found Jemma (sic) and Lynn. I'm still thinking, shaking my head, saying "Where did these people come from?" Now everyone's attitude is fantastic. It feels like a team.
Are these new members permanent?
What were you looking for when choosing them?
Talent and great attitude, girls who wanted to be team players, people who wanted the same thing and who were willing to go out on tour and rock and do whatever it takes. All these girls are ready and willing to do whatever it takes.
Any new songs in the pipeline?
Absolutely. Actually, we have started working on some during the travels in the last week. We've come up with some lyric ideas. Song titles are top secret at this point, but I do plan to record with this band. As soon as we get off the road, we will start working on these song ideas and thrash away as many songs as we can and pick the best.
What direction is the new material taking?
It will still be Vixen but some years have passed and we want to have a more modern edge to the music. I have been listening to a lot of different things myself recently, compared to ten years ago. Some of the stuff is maybe a little heavier, some of it is maybe a little more aggressive, but Vixen have always been a band of melodies and harmonies, so we'll incorporate them with an edgy undercurrent.
What bands have you been listening to?
Fuel and Linkin Park are my favourites. I play them all the time.
On the debut, you used a lot of external writers. Why was that?
It was particularly due to pressure from the management and the record company. We wanted to make sure we had some songs that were singles, and when our manager hooked us up with Richard Marx it was like, we're not going to turn that down! He's an amazing songwriter and he wrote "Edge of a Broken Heart" for us, and it was "Yes, we want to do that song on our record, absolutely!" "Cryin" was written by friends of ours, specifically for Vixen. We just wanted the best songs. The first record is tough; you have to get your first record out there and get heard, and if we didn't have any singles on there, it might not have happened. We loved the songs. We wouldn't have done any songs we didn't like. A lot of people submitted songs that weren't right.
You didn't get criticism for it?
Oh yeah. Some people said "Well, why didn't you write your own songs?" We wrote a lot of other songs on the record, and on our second record, we wrote a lot more of the songs. We co-wrote with some outside writers, but we were just wanting to make the best records and if that means bringing in Richard Marx, then hey...
What was it like working with Richard Marx?
Great. He was a real nice guy, very talented. It was a great experience. Some of his songwriting techniques we used when we made the second record.
Who was "Bad Reputation" written about?
I don't know if we've revealed that before. Maybe I'll give you hints. It's written about a lead singer that was popular around the same time in the '80s. Huge band. Someone that was known for having a bad reputation. Got any idea? I'll tell you later. This person was in the news and he was notorious for having a bad reputation. Janet and I were sitting around, working on a song, and I had this guitar riff and the title. It just so happened that this person was in the news and rumoured, in rock circles, as having a bad reputation. The lyrics just came and the whole song just flowed out. It was actually during the San Francisco earthquake. I remember that. We were working on the song then.
Where and when do you do your songwriting?
Any place. Sometimes on an aeroplane, you'll get an idea for a lyric or something and jot it down and wait until you have a guitar or something so you can put music to it. Sometimes in my bedroom; I think that's where I came up with the riff to "Bad Reputation", just sitting there with headphones and my guitar cranked up. "Cruisin", I remember coming up with that in Sioux City, Iowa.
What do you think of "Tangerine"?
I have a few favourite songs on there that I like a lot. I like "Never Say Never" and the song "Tangerine". I like some of the guitar playing on there a lot.
What do you think of the direction they took on "Tangerine"?
I thought it wasn't really the Vixen sound, especially Janet's vocals. I didn't think it did her vocals justice. She's got a beautiful voice and the vocals weren't loud enough. Maybe they were kind of low in the mix. But like I said, there were parts of it that I liked a lot.
What do you think of Bubble's music?
Actually, I saw them live and they're great. I give Share all the credit in the world. She's out there, working her ass off, and she deserves every bit of success that she's having. And I congratulate her on winning the John Lennon songwriting contest. Their song "Sparkle Star" was best pop or pop rock song in the John Lennon songwriting contest and they did a thing at the Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland. They were awarded 20,000 dollars or something. This happened in the last few months.
Have you got a website?
We are working on that and hopefully very soon. A lot of people have presented us with their work and said that they will do websites for us. We just need to choose what we're going to use and get it up and running. And with the new line-up and everything, we didn't want to have a website that was promoting this, that or whatever, when there were going to be changes made. But it's in the works.
How does it feel to be a sex symbol?
Who are you talking to? I don't know anything about that. I've never heard that before. A pin-up? I would like to be!
Do you get groupies?
Oh yes. We have our own unique special set of groupies. Actually, the guy groupies seem to be a lot more shy than the female groupies. So the people that might be called groupies for us are usually very shy, very sweet and they usually just want to meet the band and get a picture with the band or get a guitar pick, drum stick or autograph. From ten years ago, the groupies in Japan are very polite, and in Japan we had more female groupies than male groupies. For some reason, the females in Japan are really into female rock players.
No, not really. We had a guy crash into our limo one time because he wanted to meet us, but that was ten years ago. It was cute.
What do you do when you're not involved with music?
I like to go to the movies. I like to go shopping. I go walking. I don't have a lot of spare time to do that because it seems like any spare time I have, I really like to spend working on new songs and new ideas and working on my guitar playing.
For all the male fans out there are you single?
Three of us are single, yes. You'll have to figure out which three.
How has this tour been going?
This tour has been amazing, really fun. All the guys in the other bands, Vince Neil, Slaughter and Ratt, have all treated us most wonderfully and it's been one of the most fun tours ever. We've been playing some great venues.
Finally, what do you like most about touring?
One of my favourite concerts that always sticks in my mind is we did a show with Bon Jovi, Skid Row and Europe in Milton Keynes, England. That was the biggest crowd we ever played for. It was like over 60,000 and it was amazing. Every week we meet a lot of nice people, a lot of great musicians on the road. I love that.