This glam all female quartet was started in 1973 by guitarist Jan Kuehnemund who asked Gayle Erickson (now Gayle DeMatoff; vocals/bass), Cindy Boettcher (keyboards) and Laurie Hedlund (drums) to join her in Los Angeles, but the lot were replaced by Janet Gardner (in 1983), former Play-boy Roxy Petrucci (in 1985) and Share Pedersen (in 1986), along with several other fly-by-night musicians in the form of Steve Vai's wife Pia Maiocco (bass), Tammy Ivanov (guitarist), Noel Bucci (vocals) and Liza Carre (bass). In 1984, the decided four piece of Jan, Tammy, Pia and Laurie would record some 6 or more tracks for the movie Hardbodies, but it wasn't until 1988 when they singed to 'EMI' subsidiary Manhattan' that they got their big break with the release of their debut Vixen that made them the "Barbie dolls of Metal". Taking their image from Heart or Rock Goddess and sounding a lot like Bon Jovi's band they would enter the New Year with yet more trans-Atlantic hits, this time in the form of singles.
Their follow-up, Rev It Up (1990), although charting, failed to impress over-all and they lost their record deal and subsequently broke up the next year due to musical differences. Pedersen went off to form the one-off super group Counterband, while Roxy went on to form the equally short lived Maxine. In 1997 the act reformed with Petrucci, Gardner plus Maxine Petrucci and Gina Stile (no founding members) to release the Tangerine (1998) album that went unnoticed by the public at large.
In 1997, Petrucci (drums) reformed Vixen, with Janet Gardner and new recruits Gina Stile (guitar/vocals) and Rana Ross (bass). This lineup toured the US during 1997. In 1998 they released album Tangerine. After the release the album, Roxy's sister Maxine Petrucci (bass) on the 1998 US Tour. That same year, however, they were sued for copyright infringement by Kuehnemund for use of her material.
In 1999, Share Pedersen joined her husband's band, The Dogs D'Amour, who were reforming after a long hiatus.
In 2001, Vixen was reformed by Kuehnemund with a lineup consisting of herself with Janet Gardner, Roxy Petrucci and new bassist Pat Holloway. Kuehnemund then recruited Jenna Sanz-Agero (a.k.a. Jenna Piccolo) (lead vocals), Lynn Louise Lowrey (bass) and Kathrin "Kat" Kraft (drums) to complete the tour. They released two new albums in 2006, a live album, recorded at a live show in Sweden, called Extended Versions, and a studio album, Live & Learn.
At the end of 2012, Kuehnemund was planning to reunite the classic Vixen line-up, however, in January 2013, Kuehnemund was diagnosed with cancer. This announcement forced them to delay the unification announcement indefinitely. Unfortunately, the plans would fail as on October 10, 2013, Jan Kuehnemund died at the age of 59. In December 2013 the three surviving classic line-up members of the band decided to carry on under the Vixen name in honor of her.
The reformed group played several gigs in 2014 in the US, Spain and Canada.
Footnote: Not to be confused with the Marty Friedman operation under the same title..