What’s The Rockbrat Listening To Today ? Vixen: Vixen (1988)

Whilst recently plundering Mr. Rockbrat’s video vaults, I spied a video of his called ‘Kerrang Lady Killers’, and I reacquainted myself with some of those femme fronted bands from the late 80’s like Robin Beck, Saraya, Princess Pang (who to my dismay had no Chinese in the band), Lisa Dominique (corr! – let’s just say her voice was not her greatest ass et), Doro – and Vixen. So I threw on Vixen’s debut album the other day and I forgot how good it is! Released in 1988, this debut by this all girl outfit was polished, highly commercial melodic hard rock. The band had some commercial success too with this album and the follow up, ‘Rev It Up’, but let’s face it, they didn’t sell out arenas as dross like Poison did, which was an injustice, cos this album cooks. Vixen were originally from St. Paul, Minnesota and were formed as far back as 1980 by guitarist Jan Kuehnemund while still at high school, but by the mid 80‘s, they had zeroed in on LA, like a zillions other bands – big difference though, was that these girls (as opposed to other girl nonsense like Tuff, Pretty Boy Floyd etc) had SONGS as well as the look. In 1984, an early version of the band with Kuehnemund and singer Janet Gardner appeared in the movie Hardbodies, as the on-screen band Diaper Rash. They added the hard hitting (and very tort) Roxy Petrucci of Madame X on drums and by early 88 had signed with EMI. This debut album was released in September 1988. Rumour has it that EMI asked singer-songwriter Richard Marx (who was a huge star back then and a priority for EMI) to work with the band on a ‘hit single’ to rival the Bangles. Dick came up with their signature hit, “Edge of a Broken Heart”, which kicks the album off. “I Want You to Rock Me” (co penned by Janet Gardner) is an anthemic stadium rocker and my fave cut on the album. ‘Cryin’ was the second single from the album and one of the best ballads of this era. ‘One Night Alone’ was the 3rd single released. I recall buying a UK 7” release of ‘Broken Heart’ which came with a limited edition backstage pass for the Milton Keynes gig. I didn’t make the gig, but I still wore the laminate anyway. Vixen spent the next year touring the world in support of the album, supporting Ozzy, Scorpions, and Bon Jovi, as well as headlining their own shows. If you need convincing that this band were more than a bunch of pretty faces, take a listen to ‘Charmed Life’, a feel good uptempo rocker which oddly is the last track on the album. It has sing-along written all over it, and was penned by Gardener and Kuehnemund as well. ‘Desperate’ would have been a better follow up to ‘Cryin’ as a choice for single in the Cowboy’s opinion, but anyways, top to bottom, this is a great effort with no sight of a filler. Get it. Of note, Pasha main man and Thorpie pal Spencer Proffer also twiddled the knobs on this album.

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