Letters From Jan

Jan Kuehnemund  (November 18, 1961 - October 10, 2013)
Jan Kuehnemund
(November 18, 1961 – October 10, 2013)

I was so sad to hear the news today that Vixen founder and guitarist Jan Kuehnemund had passed away after a battle with cancer.

As a metal head myself, whose never discriminated on the basis of sex, I’m proud to say that Vixen’s music was an integral part of my coming of age in the late 80’s.

Over the past few months, I have been extremely fortunate to have spoken with Vixen members Janet Gardner, Share Ross, Roxy Petrucci and Gina Stile. These ladies (along with Jan) produced some of the best hard rock music ever. For me to not only have the opportunity to interview them, but also actually meet them in person at this year’s M3 Festival (where they performed as JSRG) was nothing short of amazing.

Of course, (being a guitarist myself) I was incredibly interested in speaking with Jan. Jan’s guitar work inspired me right from that very first album. I didn’t even care that she was a girl who could run circles around me on the fret board. I wanted to pick her brain about guitars and songwriting. She’s a musical hero to me.

If you’ve read all of my articles with the girls of Vixen, then you’ve probably noticed that Jan Kuehnemund was the only member of the band that I didn’t interview. But what you may not know is that Jan was actually the very first member of Vixen I approached for an interview way back in July of 2012.

Sadly, Jan and I weren’t able to coordinate a date/time for an interview. But even though I was never able to confirm what I actually already knew about Jan the guitarist and Jan the songwriter; I still learned a lot about Jan the person just through our brief email correspondence.

Correspondence which I’ll now share here.


On July 2nd, 2012: I learned Jan was a humble person.

Hey Jim! Thank you very much for the invite to do an interview with you! I would be extremely honored!! Please let me know what your timeline or deadline might be, and let’s set it up! Looking forward to talking to you! Thanks again! Best regards, Jan K


On July 14th: I learned that Jan was an exciting and busy person.

Hi Jim –
I’m really looking forward to this, too!!

Will let you know when it’s not soo craaazee around here, so we can schedule something! (This past week has been really busy!)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and stay in touch! : ) – Jan


On October 12th, I learned that Jan was a caring person.

Hi Jim! I have not forgotten, and I was just thinking about YOU the other day!  Let me see how this next week and next weekend looks, and I’ll get back to you… Thanks very much for your patience! Have a great weekend, too! Best, Jan


The last time I heard from Jan was December 9th, when I learned that she was human and compassionate.

Hi James!

So sorry once again, for the delay.. I just lost my dog, so it’s been a real rough and sad time. I really, really DO want to speak with you, so I don’t want you to think I’m making excuses, because I am not!

Still no (recording) news, so would still like to have some specifics on some things when we do talk, so please continue to be patient for a little longer, and we will DO this!!!

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving as well, and wishing you a very Merry Christmas, and happy holidays, just in case we don’t get to talk before Christmas!?!?

Please continue to keep in touch, and I thank you once again for your extreme patience!!! 🙂


Do I lament that Jan and I only had a brief email exchange and never actually connected for an “official” interview? Of course.

But I’ll take comfort in remembering Jan Kuehnemund as someone who not only inspired me to be a better guitarist, but also as someone who indirectly taught me how to be a better person.

Godspeed Jan!

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