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Jan Kuehnemund, the founding member and lead guitarist for the all-female glam metal band Vixen, passed away on Thursday, Oct. 10, after a long battle with cancer. She was 51. An official statement has not been released.
Kuehnemund was born on Nov. 18, 1961, in St. Paul, Minn., and formed Vixen in high school. She and singer Janet Gardner moved the band to Los Angeles in 1985 and, within two years, the classic lineup was formed with Roxy Petrucci on drums and Share Pedersen on bass. The band was later signed to EMI.
Vixen’s self-titled debut was released in 1988 and spawned two hit singles, “Cryin’ ” and “Edge of a Broken Heart.” The group appeared in the Penelope Spheeris film, The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years, and its videos were featured heavily on MTV.
Vixen followed up their breakout success with Rev It Up in 1990, which yielded two singles, “Love Is a Killer” and “How Much Love.” The album did not have the same impact as the band’s debut, however, and they were dropped shortly after.
Vixen disbanded for several years but reformed with various new members until Kuehnemund returned in 2001. The band had a brief reunion of the classic lineup for VH1’s Bands Reunited in 2004, but soon went their separate ways. Kuehnemund continued as Vixen with new members and Gardner, Petrucci and Pedersen formed JanetShareRoxyGina (aka JSRG) with new guitarist Gina Stiles.
JRSG posted the news on its Facebook page early on Friday afternoon.
“It is with profound sadness that we announce the sudden passing of Vixen founder and lead guitarist, Jan Kuehnemund, who lost a fierce battle with cancer on Thursday, October 10, 2013. Though most well known for her gifted guitar playing and other musical talents, Jan was a rare friend and beautiful in every sense of the word. Humble, thoughtful, loyal and kind, she was the most gracious of women, possessing the quiet strength of a true warrior. She genuinely loved and appreciated her friends and fans more than most could ever know. Those who were most fortunate to have known her and loved her are heartbroken at the loss of Jan, whose spirit will shine through her music eternally.
Jan was very courageous. Never complained. Never gave up. The cancer beat her body but it NEVER broke her spirit at any point.
Up until the actual moment that she died, she really believed she was going back home.
Jan… you will be missed.. but never forgotten.”
Watch Vixen’s “Edge of a Broken Heart” below:
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