20 QUESTIONS WITH…
Vixen guitarist JAN KUEHNEMUND!
In the 6 years or so since Metal Sludge first debuted, we hadn’t ever interviewed anyone from Vixen… until this year! We first did 20 Questions with former Vixen drummer Roxy Petrucci back on February 24, 2004. A few months later, on April 20th to be exact, former Vixen bassist Share Ross stepped up to the plate. And now, finally, Vixen’s guitarist and founding member Jan Kuehnemund joins the ranks of 20 Questions alumni on November 9th, which just happens to be the same day that Vixen is featured on VH1’s "Bands Reunited". What a coincidence! How did that happen? We have no idea, but sometimes, things just work out like that.
Alright, enough fucking around! Here we go with Jan Kuehnemund’s long-awaited 20 Questions. Enjoy!
1. What are you currently up to? This is your one and only chance to plug whatever it is you want to plug.
Well…there is a "new" line-up of Vixen, which is actually the same line-up that finished out the tour in 2001…we have new management, and we’re currently writing and recording a new record, and plan on hitting the road next spring/summer – 2005! (www.vixenrock.com)
2. EMI has just reissued the first two Vixen albums, and even though it’s supposed to be a ‘big secret,’ we all know about the upcoming "Bands Reunited" episode on VH1. So, is Vixen really back? Or is this all just another short chapter in the long and ever-changing history of Vixen?
The Bands Reunited show was truly an amazing, fun, and unforgettable experience, and as you put it, "…another chapter in the history of Vixen"…
3. You were pretty much the sole founder of the band way back in the early 80s. Before you finally decided on ‘Vixen,’ what are some of the other names you came up with for your project?
Oh… names like…Sow…Hen…Bitch…Doe…
4. Rank the following guitarists on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being a hack that sounds like they play with broken fingers, and 10 being a true heavy metal virtuoso.
I think all of these players deserve a lot of respect, after all, they’re on your list!! : )
Jeff LaBar = 7 – good band!
Steve Vai = 11 – he’s off the charts!
Bruce Kulick =7.5
Zakk Wylde = 7 – yep he is!
Warren DeMartini = 8.5 – tasty
Tracii Guns = 7 (just for the name alone)
Lita Ford = 7 – what’s she doing now anyway?
Mick Mars = 7 – what a great gig
Gina Stile = 7 – I like her stile
C.C. DeVille =I’m holding out on this one until he takes us on tour!!
5. You were featured in the movie "Hardbodies" in 1984, "The Decline of the Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years" in 1988, and you’ve worked on various other movie soundtracks, including one called "Monkey Bone." However, you’ve only received credit for "Hardbodies" and "The Decline." We actually heard that you like to work anonymously on projects like that. What’s that all about?
Not true!! Where did you hear that? I would not keep that a secret!! Monkey Bone was fun…Population 361 almost got a song in that one…we had a little performance in it too…it got cut…maybe they’re saving it for "Monkey Bone 2"…
6. What ‘rock star’ deserves a smack in the mouth and why?
hmmm…it’s a toss up…I’m thinking Axl Rose…or one of the guys in Anthrax…
Why? well…you know…
7. Vixen released the CD "Tangerine" in 1998, but you didn’t play on it. Why weren’t you part of the band at that time, and did it piss you off to see Vixen release an album without you?
I wasn’t invited. Piss me off?? I sued them!!
8. Conversely, Vixen went on the road as part of the Voices of Metal tour in the summer of 2001. However, Janet and Roxy left during the middle of it, leaving you as the only original member. Why do you think they didn’t stick it out and finish the tour with you, and how did the crowds react to seeing unknown replacements filling their shoes?
I know exactly why they didn’t finish the tour, but I’m not gonna tell ya…The crowds were unbelievably supportive and some didn’t know the difference!
9. Of the following, which do you prefer and why:
Gibsons or Fenders = Gibsons – my 2nd & 3rd electric guitars were Gibsons, (1st was a Guild) so I have a soft spot for them, but I think everybody does need a Fender too!
Femme Fatale or Bitch = Femme Fatale – I’m more familiar with that band
Bananas or cucumbers = depends on where, when and with what
Bubble or Titania =eenie meenie minee moe…
Groucho Marx or Richard Marx =Richard Marx – better songwriter
Baby oil or olive oil =OLIVE OIL!!! I put it on everything!!
Al Pacino or Christopher Walken =wow, you picked 2 of my all-time favorites! Christopher Walken is just "spooky" you know??!!
Arby’s or Long John Silver’s = Arby’s! LOVE that horsey sauce!!
Pia Vai or Liza Carbe = both! they’re good friends!
Tampons or maxi pads = well, actually, the maxi might clean a windshield a little better in a pinch
10. At one time Vixen was described as the "female Bon Jovi." Do you think this was mostly due to similarities in your style of music, or because of similarities in your style of hair?
11. How many times did Vixen break up only to reform, and in total, how many members have rotated through over the years?
I think the band actually only "broke up" twice, but there have been about 18-20 members besides myself, that have been in the band over the years.
12. Out of all the bands that Vixen ever toured with, which ones were the coolest to work with, and which ones were the biggest bunch of jackasses you’ve ever met?
Honestly, I have only good memories of all the bands we’ve played / toured with. I think I would say The Scorpions were my #1 favorite, though…but the list goes on!!
13. Yes or No, has Jan Kuehnemund ever done the following:
Broken a guitar string on stage = of course!
Been stalked by a fan = yeah but my brother took care of it.
Played golf with Janet Gardner = you betcha!
Eaten at a McDonald’s and Burger King in the same day =hmmm. probably.
Gotten gum stuck in your hair = yes, also got Janet’s cat stuck in my hair once…
Kicked a roadie in the nads = no
Played a ukulele = yeah but not properly
Seen Metal Skool = not yet
Regretted doing an interview = uh huh. "Mr. Stinky" in Europe
Touched another woman’s vagina = aaahh NO.
14. For what amount was your largest music-related check, and what did you end up doing with the cash?
I think it was for $4,500 and I believe it went directly to the beloved IRS.
15. We heard a rumor that you used to give everyone in the band and crew a bizarre nickname of sorts, including one you gave yourself. What are some of the nicknames you used to call your band mates, and what quirky nickname did you end up assigning to yourself?
We had a lot of fun on tour coming up with hotel names, and also a few crew names like Dog Legs, Footsenrooter… hmmm…can’t think of the rest right now…
16. What do you remember most about writing or recording the following songs:
Computer Madness =… recording it at Devonshire Studios with Mike Mancini
Give It A Chance = We started writing that one in our band house, but finished it at this rehearsal place where I used to bring a lamp to put on my amp, cuz the atmosphere was so bad…
Edge of a Broken Heart =I distinctly remember working on it with Richard Marx in this Van Nuys rehearsal place
Love Made Me = WOW. I remember recording it at night in the very humbling Capitol Records Tower….
Cryin’ = …being under a lot of pressure from the 2 producers while doing my parts. It was just the 2 of them and me …I was sitting behind them in the control room. I’d finish a take and there’d be DEAD SILENCE. Nothing like trying to bring out the best in ya!!
How Much Love = had a great experience co-writing it with the BIG DOGS – Steve Plunkett & Jack Conrad!!
Not a Minute Too Soon = doing the video
Love is a Killer =oh wow – doing THAT video in London in this really cool underground location
Rev It Up =I’m picturing Cherokee Studios…I think that’s where I did my guitar parts…enjoyed the pinball there…
State of the Heart =I remember playing the riff for Jeff Paris at his studio, and he just took it and turned it into a real song!!
17. We also heard that Vixen’s tour bus drivers used to tell anyone who would listen that, after your gigs, you guys would walk around the bus wearing only lingerie. Was there any validity to any of their claims? If not, then what the hell was the point of them telling everyone that?
Of course we did that!! It was "Vixen (flannel) pajama party" every night!
18. What happened to your bands Population 361 and Drawing Down the Moon, anyway? We heard that you’d been playing around southern California in the late 90s, but then we never heard anything else about those projects. Is either band still active, or should we just write them off and assume that we’ll never hear about those projects again?
Drawing Down the Moon just released a CD entitled "Angel in My Dream." All of the members in DDTM and Population 361 are currently doing other things/projects, but who knows what the future holds?
Jan in Drawing Down the Moon
19. The Last of Jan Kuehnemund:
Last book you read = "Mama Gena’s Owner’s & Operator’s Guide To Men"
Last new CD you purchased =Nickelback
Last movie you saw in the theatre = The Terminal
Last concert you watched from the audience = Jeff Beck & B.B. King!! It was great!!
Last new song you heard on the radio that you really dug = Vertigo – U2
Last time you talked to Gene Simmons = oooh…and yet another spooky one…
Last time someone mispronounced your last name = hmmm…how ’bout the last time sometime pronounced it correctly? – haha! But to answer your question, it was Rebecca from EMI, leaving me a message on my cell phone…
Last time you appeared on television =I think maybe VH1 – One Hit Wonders…I was sooo nervous, my lips were definitely sticking to my teeth, making it kinda hard to talk
Last time you received oral sex = c’mon! Stop it!! My mom & dad are gonna read this!
Last time you got drunk = backstage after Bands Reunited…there was all this Scotch…lined up…seemed like kinda a shame to let it go to waste!
20. Time for Metal Sludge’s Word Association. We mention a name and you give us your thoughts.
Bret Michaels = says nice things about Vixen on tv : )
Fee Waybill = saved the day! when he co-wrote "Edge" with Richard Marx at the last minute as we were finishing up our 1st album
Maxine Petrucci = she rocks
Nikki Sixx = Vancouver. Hanging out with us at a club. Somebody’s gig got cancelled or something… might have been ours… and I think they were up there recording…
Laurie Hedlund = one of my very best friends! lifetime friend.
Spencer Proffer = he had us learn a Jon Butcher song on the spot in the studio, and record it that same night…it ended up on our 1st album. Scary.
Jeff Paris = Extremely talented!! Great guy!!
Dana Strum = good story teller
Ashlee Simpson = shoulda come clean
Sebastian Bach = cute. Nice hair!
Hey!! I just want to say thanks very much for inviting me to be part of your "20 Questions" rockin’ list!! : )
Well there you have it! We’ve now done 20 Questions with 3 of the 4 members of the EMI-era Vixen lineup! Now if we could only get Janet Gardner, our quest would be complete.
For more information on Jan Kuehnemund and the current incarnation of Vixen, be sure to check out www.vixenrock.com. And don’t forget to check out Vixen on Bands Reunited, which debuts Tuesday, November 9th (tonight!) at 10 PM Eastern on VH1.
And if that’s not enough, go and check out Neil’s Vixen Page at www.neilsvixenpage.com, which is the site where we stole all the Vixen photos we used for Jan’s interview. Thanks Neil!