Interview ~ Roxy Petrucci of Vixen

Vixen seemed to emerge out of nowhere back in the 80s and quickly became MTV favorites. They had the look, they had the talent and they had the tunes, but their fall came as quickly as their rise. Their self-titled debut album was released in 1988 and featured the hits “Cryin’” and the Richard Marx/Fee Wybill penned tune “Edge of a Broken Heart.” By 1991, musical differences divided the band and they broke up. The VH1 show “Bands Reunited” brought the classic lineup back together in 2004 and fans began to get energized about a possible full reunion and tour. Founder Jan Kuehnemund was planning on announcing a reunion of the “classic lineup” in early 2013, but postponed the announcement due to the fact that she was diagnosed with cancer. That reunion never materialized as Kuehnemund passed away on October 10, 2013.

The three remaining members (Janet Gardner, Roxy Petrucci and Share Pederson) stayed busy with various projects, but decided to continue on with Vixen in Kuehnemund’s memory. The addition of Britt Lightning in 2017 helped to solidify the band’s foundation and they put all of their energy into moving forward. That brings us to 2018 and there is a lot of awesome news from the Vixen camp. The band will be playing the huge Sweden Rock festival in June (or will have played it by press time), they will be a part of the 2019 Monsters of Rock Cruise and they also announced summer tour dates in and outside of the US. There’s a new live album entitled Live Fire that’s being released via Rat Pak Records on July 6. We sat down with drummer Roxy Petrucci who filled us in on those items and another MAJOR item that will delight the fans!

Hello there Roxy! How you doin’?

Roxy Petrucci/Vixen: I’m good; I’m as busy as I can be and happy to be!

Busy is usually a good thing.

You know what it’s like for rock and rollers. You’re off for a certain amount of time and you can’t wait to get back out on the road. Then, you get back on the road and go ‘wow, I’m burnt and can’t wait to get back home.’

You’re probably about ready to catch a plan to head overseas for Sweden Rock.

We’re leaving on Wednesday and it’s a long flight. We play on Friday and actually I play with Vixen at noon and then I play with Madam X at 2:45, so I’m playing double duty. How luck am I, right? It’s Sweden Rock and I get to play twice. There are some really great bands playing on the bill too.

Vixen performing in front of the massive Sweden Rock 2018 crowd!

I was looking at a flyer for it and my jaw dropped. Can you hide me in one of your pieces of luggage?

You can ride in my drumcage and then you can be my drum tech.

You know, I wouldn’t have a problem with that at all. How many people are at a show like that?

Thousands and thousands! I played it with Madam X back in 2014 and we went on around noon. We had just gotten back together and we thought that we would be lucky if we had 5000 there. Well, there was close to 20,000 by the time that we went on and we were totally feeding off the energy of that crowd.

Let’s talk a little bit about your new live album Live Fire that comes out on July 6 via Rat Pak Records.  We love Rat Pak Records and the bundle packages that they offer are always pretty awesome!

It’s really cool and we really enjoy working with them. They’re really supportive and I think we’re on a really good label. What happened was the fans have been asking for a new record for a long time now. We had just gotten a new guitarist, Britt Lightning, and she’s been playing with us for about a year now. It’s all about timing and she fits in perfect now. She gels with the band we thought since the fans wanted a record, let’s go ahead and give them something live which we feel comfortable doing. When you go into the studio, you have to be really comfortable with each other and really gel. We feel like she’s ready now and we’re ready to do a studio record. That will come next, but for now I think the live record is a great way to say that Vixen is back. We’re playing the classic Vixen tunes and we recorded it at the Arcada Theater in Chicago which was a perfect venue. We’re throwing in a couple of studio songs and one of them is “You Ought to Know by Now.” It’s a tune that we played back in the day when Jan was in the band. I don’t know why we never recorded it, but we did it live and it’s actually on You Tube and Jan is in it. It’s such a great tune and I thought that we should record it. We did and I think that’s how we attracted Rat Pak Records. They’re Vixen fans too and they wanted to get behind us. So, we’re releasing the live record and in 2019 we’ll be releasing a studio record.

The bad-ass Roxy Petrucci!

Gah! I’m so excited to hear that!

Cool! Yeah, we’re ready!

The fans seem to be responding to the news of the live album. Have the pre-orders been doing well?

I think they’re going pretty good and that’s why we’re releasing this record. Even before we started talking about doing a new record, the messages on our Facebook page and individual were so many fans asking when we were going to do another record. That just tells me that this style of music is not going anywhere anytime soon.

I bet it’s pretty awesome to look out and see multiple generations at a show.

That’s really cool! We’ve noticed that at some of the shows. After our show, we all go back to the merch table and do a signing. We notice that a lot of fans saw us back in the 80s and now they’re bringing their kids or younger kids with them. We’re inspired when we have those younger fans, whether boys or girls, say that they play drums or guitar because of us.

I wanted to ask you about the “Big Brother” track that was mentioned on the press release. A live version is on the new album, but it mentioned that it was previously unreleased. Was that a track that just didn’t make it to an album for whatever reason?

Yes and I don’t know why. We actually did do a demo of it and it doesn’t have the signature, huge Vixen chorus. Back then, it was the first Vixen record and we kind of did what we were told. The record company and our management picked the songs that would go on the record. Well, the first record at least; on the second one, it was a little different ballgame. It’s a really good song and it doesn’t matter that it didn’t make the record because it made this one.

You worked with the legendary Michael Wagener who mixed the new record.

The Maestro as I call him.

That guy has one heck of a resume.

We were honored to work with him.

How did you make that connection?

He mixed the bulk of the Madam X record and before that, we worked on a project that I had called Roktopuss with Lorraine Lewis from Femme Fatale. I was talking with our manager and we both felt like he was the guy to do the live record and the girls agreed. It’s important that the band like who they’re working with because making a record is such an intimate thing. He’s such a nice guy and tends to bring out the best in whatever band he is working with.

Social media wasn’t present back when Vixen started. I remember having to rely on Hit Parader or Creem or Metal Edge for my information. Nowadays, I feel like some of the mystique is missing because of social media.

I agree; it’s in your face and if you’re not in their face every second then they move on to something else. It’s a whole different world now; nobody has the patience to wait. I’m still trying to figure out social media. I’m a pretty private person and my private life is my private life. On the other hand, it allows you to get your name and music out there quickly. We don’t have to stroll up and down Sunset Boulevard putting posters up on all of the telephone poles. That’s how we did our advertising back in the day. You had to get out there on the weekends, stand out on the strip in your outfits and hand out flyers. I remember that we used to staple ours on top of Poison’s. We actually look a lot alike!

They may have teased their hair a little bigger than you ladies did.

They did a great job on their makeup too. His makeup job looks better than mine (laughs).

I know we need to be wrapping this up, so is there anything that you’d like to close with?

The record comes out in July and you can pre-order it at Rat Pak Records. They have a lot of cool bundles offered. Definitely pick up the CD if you’re a Vixen fan because you’ll definitely dig it!

Pre-order your copy of Live Fire HERE

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