|We wanted to contact the powerful drummer ROXY PETRUCCI and we arranged an exclusive. The reason was the news about a VIXEN reunion some weeks ago. We'll talk of every detail throughout the interview and remember their best times. Anyway, it seems that the original VIXENS will only reunite for some special live appearances ...|
WE TALK IN AN EXCLUSIVE with ROXY PETRUCCI
- Let's remember your history. In summer 1987, along with bass player Share Pedersen you joined the band with Janet Gardner and Jan Kuehnemund and then after making a record deal with EMI the definitive VIXEN line-up is set. You came from the great band MADAM X … What do you remember from the VIXEN beginnings when you joined?
We focused on rehearsing and finding a manager who could get us a record deal, so we could make our dream come true of touring and playing in stadiums and recording albums ...
- How did you all meet?
Janet saw me playing with MADAM X and contacted me after the band split up. She sent me a demo, I played with them and had lots of fun, though I thought the band could be heavier. I remember I had just come from the MADAM X tour so I needed some time to slow it down and get used to VIXEN's style. In those days I was cocky and I was very sure of myself. Little did I know how much I had to learn. Soon I concentrated and I became a better drummer.
- Now I'd like you to be sincere and don't get mad at me. How much was VIXEN a product of marketing, being sold by the mere fact of being a female band, having an image and doing singles for MTV? I said that because you had the best music composers and arrangers - and that's not usual for a "normal" band unless you pay too much - like Richard Marx, Jeff Paris, or Fee Waybill, and your videos appeared on MTV constantly …
We were women of rock and we liked to dress up, wearing lots of make-up and wild hair and that was part of what we were. The main thing was trying to be the best band possible and playing the best music we could, so if anyone like Richard Marx wanted to write a song for us ... that was good for us! He was so impressed by VIXEN that he was inspired and he wrote "Edge Of A Broken Heart". Marketing is a very important part of the music business, but if you don't have the substance, marketing doesn't work ... and VIXEN had it.
- Anyway, I think you weren't a product from marketing at all, besides I had the luck to see you live twice, with BON JOVI in Milton Keynes, and SCORPIONS in Madrid two nights in a row where you can really see the worth of a band and you all really played hard, especially you at the drums. What do you remember from the VIXEN tours?
Thanks for the compliment. I remember how hard we played and we loved each second of what we did ... the good, the bad and the ugly.
- What was your best experience on the road, where and with whom?
Too many to mention them all but going on tour with Ozzy was a dream come true.
- You did a lot of photo sessions, you had a look which was envied, you clearly influenced the girls from that era (not only from that era says Eva ;-) ) so you created a VIXEN look. That's great! I imagine you'd feel kind of proud of being role models for your fans. Every girl wanted to be a VIXEN girl.
I wish I had hair like Janet's or Jan's ... incredible. Looking at the crowd and seeing people looking like VIXEN was always great. It put a smile on our faces.
- From your hits from the first two albums which one did you like best? and which one didn't you like?
A couple of my favourite songs are "How Much Love" and "Love is a Killer". I didn't like "One Night Alone" and "Charmed Life" much.
- You quickly started to sell lots and lots of albums for your commercial songs. I suppose there will have been a moment in which you were living with your heads in the clouds, why did the band split up until Tangerine? The most usual thing would be to record a 3rd album after the success of Rev It Up.
The sales of "Rev it Up" were not as high as those of the first VIXEN album, but they were respectable. We did a very long tour and we were very tired. What we needed was to have a break from each other but they told us we had to write new songs for the next album. Jan and I wrote together, so did Janet and Share. It was pretty clear that we took different musical directions and Janet and Share suggested bringing in another guitar player. I did not agree and of course Jan didn't either. That was the beginning of the end of VIXEN. The same shit all bands go through.
- You have demonstrated you are the heaviest woman of them all (laughs) so you never stopped rocking, especially with your sister Maxine. After VIXEN you've been part of some projects … HELL´S BELLES, with Lenita Erickson and you also worked with Chrissy Steele, Lorraine Lewis of FEMME FATALE, etc, and now in the present you have a band called TITANIA with your sister. Apart from VIXEN, which was your best experience?
Over the years I've met and played with some of the best musicians and singers. Everyone was different and great for different things. TITANIA appeared after Maxine played with us on the Tangerine tour. She had a lot of ideas for songs with her guitar so we decided to record them. She also has a great voice and can play bass so we basically recorded the album ourselves with Billy Sheehan as special guest ... it was great that he played with us.
- What can you tell us about TITANIA, an unknown band in Spain?
TITANIA's cd will be ready for 2005, take a look at my site for more information. www.roxypetrucci.com
- Going back to VIXEN, "Tangerine", your album from 1998, without Jan and Share, was very different from the other two. I'm sorry but I think it's not a good album and I say so because we the old fans expected a return more like what you were before, more commercial and melodic and not an album so strange. What do you think of this album?
Definitely the album was heavier and darker than what we did in the past with VIXEN but I thought it was a great album. We started to have the attention of new and different kinds of fans which was great. Although now I think maybe we shouldn't have used the name VIXEN.
- Did you think the fans who bought your first two albums were going to identify with this one?
Some VIXEN fans loved it and some others hated it. We were prepared for that response. Tangerine is an album Janet, Gina and me are proud of. Well, you know me ... the heavier, the better!
- Now you've started writing new material again, I would return to the original VIXEN sound if I were you. I know we are in the 21st century but, being realistic, the fans who will buy an album or a ticket to a show will be those "old rockers" or young people who discovered your first two albums and they will want a new "Edge Of A Broken Heart", or "Cryin' " or a "Love Is A Killer" successor. Do you realise this fact? What do you think about it? What direction will your new songs have?
Now I'm very busy with TITANIA's cd and I don't know anything else.
- After some reunions and different line-ups, the original line-up of Jan, Janet, Share and you returned to play a show last August and you appeared in the VH-1 Bands Reunited program a little time ago. Since that reunion, the first two albums were re-released, new management, new songs and possibly a tour next spring. How will be VIXEN's resurrection? Will you be the original four warriors? Will we have a new album and tour?
I'm sorry to disappoint you but there are no plans for a new CD of the original VIXEN. I hope we can reunite again to do some more shows. You must be talking about the VIXEN of Jan with the new members. They are recording some new material.
- Nowadays there are lots of female fronted bands NIGHTWISH, EPICA, LACUNA COIL, AFTER FOREVER, though DORO is the only one left from your era. What do you think of these bands?
I've never heard anything from these bands, I'm sorry.
- Do you think there should have been more women in hard rock & heavy metal?
Now there are no Doros, Ann Wilsons, Pat Benatars, Janet Gardners, Lita Fords or Joan Jetts ... I'm still waiting for a rock singer nowadays who's got what it takes. In fact I think Pink is a great singer and Maxine will surprise a lot of people with her voice and the way she plays the guitar.
- A funny question to finish. You usually talk about female groupies in rock. I suppose that, being a female band you'd have male groupies and lots of them ... How were the fanatic stalkers? male groupies from the 80's? Did they follow you on tour and in hotels?
Yes, they crashed into our limos, they sent nasty notes, they took off their underwear, they sent flowers, wedding proposals, they jumped on the stage and many other crazy things ... but, hey! ... That's Rox 'n' Roll, and I love it!
- Roxy, thanks so much. Let's hope the return of the band will be as glorious as we all wish and we see you in big festivals. And very good luck with TITANIA and all your projects!!
Keep on rockin!!!