Janet Gardner spoke to “Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon” about her departure from VIXEN. The singer, who released her debut self-titled solo album in 2017, broke the news of her exit in a social post in January.
Elaborating on her reasons for leaving the band, Janet said (hear audio below): “The biggest part of it is that I do have more family obligations and things like that than the other members, and it was very difficult sometimes. They would wanna do stuff that I would say, ‘Well, I don’t wanna be gone from home that long. I don’t wanna be away from my family that long.’ And it’s not fair to them either. So that’s the main reason.”
In addition to running into scheduling conflicts, Janet and the other members of VIXEN “did have some differing opinions, some creative differences — typical things that bands go through,” she admitted. “It’s hard to get everybody on the same page at the same time. And I definitely felt that they would be less frustrated and better off without me there, and I would be less frustrated and better pursuing my own vision.”
According to Gardner, another point of contention was VIXEN‘s desire to make a new studio album. “Obviously, we’d been trying to make a new VIXEN record forever,” she said. “And that also was going to involve me being away, everybody wanting to get in the same room together. I was more in favor of sending [files] back and forth, so I didn’t have to leave my family for weeks at a time to sit in writing sessions, because I can’t do that right now. So there was a little difference on that too — how a new record was going to be made. Nobody’s wrong, nobody’s bad, nobody’s doing anything — it’s just different approaches.”
This past January, VIXEN recruited FEMME FATALE‘s Lorraine Lewis as its new lead singer following Janet‘s departure.
Lewis had already performed with VIXEN back in March 2018 in Durant, Oklahoma while Gardner was recovering from surgery.
Last month, Janet told the Detroit radio station WRIF that she “got to the point where I kind of felt a little bit on the outside” as a member of VIXEN “and that’s not a very comfortable feeling when you’re trying to be creative and let things flow. Most of it was my personal stuff and family commitments, and, like I said, the life that I had built outside of VIXEN is a high priority with me. But there were other things too. That just sort of led to the whole thing.”
Gardner, drummer Roxy Petrucci and bassist Share Ross are considered to be part of VIXEN‘s classic lineup, along with founding guitarist Jan Kuehnemund, who died of cancer in October 2013.
Gardner contributed lead vocals to VIXEN‘s most commercially successful studio albums — “Vixen” (1988), “Rev It Up” (1990) and “Tangerine” (1998) — as well as the group’s latest release, last year’s live album “Live Fire”.
Gardner released her second solo album, “Your Place In The Sun”, on May 31 via Pavement Entertainment.
Like her 2017 debut self-titled solo effort, the new disc is a collaboration with her husband, guitarist/producer Justin James, who has previously worked with STAIND, COLLECTIVE SOUL and TYKETTO.