An Exclusive Interview with Vixen Vocalist Janet Gardner – One Of Best Female Hard Rock Voices!

Best known as the lead vocalist of the all-female rock band Vixen, Janet Gardner’s powerful vocals propelled Vixen to the top of the Billboard charts with crossover hits “Edge of a Broken Heart” and “Cryin’’” and AOR rockers “How Much Love” and “Love is a Killer.”

In an era primarily dominated by male rock musicians, Vixen’s all-female line up, matched with their undeniable musicianship and Gardner’s unique vocal style, propelled the band quickly to Gold Album status and earned the band critically acclaimed success that is still celebrated to this day.

Teaming up with guitarist/songwriter/producer Justin James (who has worked with members of Staind, Collective Soul, and Tyketto), Gardner ventured into the solo realm to unleash a new side of her musical creativity.

Together, Janet and Justin have penned a collection of emotionally charged songs with gritty grooves, infectious hooks, and inspired lyrics that merge hard rock influences from the last four decades.

The result is a perfect blend of modern hard rock with a touch of old school flare that will turn the heads of generations of rock fans. A sample teaser was put up on YouTube and literally exploded overnight.

The power duo was quickly snatched up by Pavement Entertainment with a full-length release coming on August 18, 2017! Janet Gardner has once again proven herself as a leader in the female-fronted hard rock world!

We’d like to bring to your attention this interview with charismatic vocalist and guitarist Janet Gardner – one of the best female voices in Rock! The following interview is taken exclusively for Rock Arena. Enjoy it!

– INTERVIEW –

– Hello, Janet and welcome to Rock Arena! We are happy to have such an amazing musician and a beautiful rock lady like you by our side! What was the point of break in your life that turned you from music lover to music maker? At what age did you first pick up the guitar?

♦Janet Gardner: You’re very welcome. It’s my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me! I’ve been a music lover as long as I can remember. My mom used to play the piano and I would sing with her. Pretty soon…She started making me sing in front of people. It was very difficult because I was incredibly shy. I started playing piano when I was about six years old and I started begging for a guitar from the time I was about 12. They finally got me a guitar when I was 14.

 – You’ve been in Vixen since 1983… This legendary band has been an inspiration to many musicians of today that has to make you feel really great pride to be a part of that legacy. When was your best time and memories with the band?

♦Janet Gardner: So many great memories with Vixen… But a couple of them that really stand-outs are the first show we played with the Scorpions. It was our first arena show ever and I’ll never forget when they dimmed the house lights and the crowd roared, I felt it through my whole entire body! The Milton Keynes show was also incredible. I’ve never seen a crowd that large let alone be standing up on stage in front of them! More recently…

Firefest back in 2013 was really amazing. We hadn’t been to the UK in 25 years and didn’t know what to expect. It was a great crowd with lots of Vixen T-shirts and people singing along!  It felt great to be back! Justin and I played our first show together playing our new songs. It was awesome to be playing some new music and to have the amazing crowd reaction to songs they’ve never heard before. It was really exciting!

 – Classics like a “How Much Love”, ‘Edge of a Broken Heart’, ‘Love is a Killer’ they are a musical treasure… Can you share some memories for the creating process about those songs?

♦Janet Gardner:  How Much Love’ was written by the late great Jan Kuehnemund and Steve Plunkett from Autograph. What a great song! I still love singing that song! 

Richard Marx and Fee Waybill from The Tubes wrote ‘Edge Of A Broken Heart‘. We did a pre-production rehearsal with Richard Marx to work out the music, but there was still very little melody and no lyrics at the time. When it was time to do the lead vocals, there were still no lyrics yet. Fee ran them out to me at the last minute and handed them to me while I was out standing in front of the microphone. I was so nervous but Richard did a great job getting me to relax and let it all come out!

Love is a Killer‘ was written by Roxy Petrucci and Harry Paris. To this day, singing that song is still my favourite moment on stage every night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– You continue to perform with Vixen, how do you manage to share your time between all those responsibilities? Do you have any Vixen news you would like to give us?

♦Janet Gardner: Well… it’s quite the balancing act! People ask me what I do in my spare time and I can honestly say I have none! Both projects require time and energy but I feel very fortunate to be able to do both! We are very busy with Vixen playing shows every weekend in the month of August, one of which is going to be a live recording.

– Your voice is very specific, sounds beautiful and extremely rock! Are you considering some music experimentation with styles and sounds that are different or are you more willing to get harder and heavier than ever?

♦Janet Gardner: I just love singing! I have done all kinds of music from Opera to pop but my favourite has always been hard rock. I don’t see myself straying too far from the hard rock arena. I’m always looking to grow and experiment and I am looking forward to doing some of that in the near future. Justin and I already have a few ideas cooking. Next album… Yodeling maybe? Lol!

– Let’s talk about your new solo album which comes out via Pavement Music on 18th August… You’re working with your husband Justin James on the project. Who writes the music and the lyrics?

♦Janet Gardner: We wrote everything together usually starting with a guitar riff from Justin. We did the bulk of the music together. I wrote most of the melody and lyrics with input from Justin. We both brought some ideas to the table but most of it was written on the spot in a room together.

– I’ve been listening to the new album teaser trailer – great sound, with a powerful vocal, impressive style and killer solos! So much intensity. How would you describe the music on the new album?

♦Janet Gardner: Thank you, Toni! I think Tim King from Pavement Entertainment described it best by saying “This album merges hard rock influences from the last four decades!”

– Rock & Metal have always been dominated by male vocalists, how does it feel for you as a woman to see so many female fronted rock and metal bands today? What did you find different about being in an all-girl band?

♦Janet Gardner: It’s great to see so many women out there carrying the banner for hard rock! There are so many great female front women and musicians out there now! Back when we first started with Vixen, I think we were more scrutinized than our male counterparts so we just worked a little harder than them! LOL!

– Which bands have inspired and influenced the direction of your musical career? I’m just so curious to find the roots of all that great old school sound…

♦Janet Gardner: For me, it goes back to Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and AC/DC. Then along the way, the first Heart album and the first Boston album both had a huge impact on me. In the 80s, Def Leppard and Whitesnake were my favorite. I loved the Stone Temple Pilots and Soundgarden in the 90s. Today I love Shinedown, Slipknot, Sixx AM. I also like more pop influenced bands like Lifehouse.

– Where do you see Rock music going in the future… What’s the difference between the time of the 80’s, 90’s and now? What’s your outlook on the record industry today?

♦Janet Gardner: Everyone is so quick to pronounce Rock and Metal dead. It never has been and never will be! Rock&Metal fans are die-hard. Pop artists come and go quickly but Rock fans really stick with you. It’s tough these days to make a living as a Recording artist.  People can listen and watch for free on the Internet. As an artist, you have to just do it for the love of doing it.

 – Your first guitar? Which guitar brand do you prefer?

♦Janet Gardner: My first electric guitar was a Vantage. It was a piece of crap but I may do until I could upgrade to a Les Paul. I fell in love with Gibson guitars and they are still my favourite to this day!

– What has been your most memorable touring experience so far and who were your favourite acts to open for? What would you say are the highlights of your career thus far?

♦Janet Gardner: Touring with Deep purple, the Scorpions, and Ozzy Osbourne we are all incredible! I went to school every night watching them. Those were definitely career highlights. My latest career highlight is recording my first solo album with my husband Justin James!

 – What more can fans expect from your band in a next few months – new recording videos, live shows…? When can we hear the band live in the UK?

♦Janet Gardner: We have some US tour dates in September and some more in early December and we hope to get overseas at some point! We have a video coming out the week after the album comes out. Hopefully, you’ll see us in the UK soon!

 – Thanks for taking the time out for this interview, Janet! Final words that you’d like to share with your fans and all the Rock heads around the globe…?

♦Janet Gardner: Thank you Toni and thanks to all of you die-hard rockers for all the support over the years! I love you all!!

 

 

More information at:
www.facebook.com/JanetGardnerofficial/

Interviewed by Toni Rock