Interview: Vixen’s Former Vocalist Janet Gardner Talks Glamfest 2024 – Spotlight Report


janet gardner interview 2024

Get ready to be transported back to the golden era of spandex, power ballads, and iconic long hair as Glamfest 2024 gears up to take Sydney and Melbourne by storm.

In the star-studded lineup stands Janet Gardner, the original powerhouse voice of the iconic all-female band Vixen.

We had the pleasure of catching up with Janet Gardner recently to find out more about the upcoming tour. But that’s not all – in a delightful twist, Janet’s husband and guitarist, Justin James, crashed the interview, adding an extra layer of excitement and insight into what promises to be an unforgettable event

SR: You have an outstanding career. Not only by fronting Vixen, but also as a solo artist. What would you say have been the highs and lows of your musical journey?

Janet: There has been lots of both, it has been a rollercoaster ride being in the music industry. I always like to say that I love music. I don’t love the business. Every time you get to express yourself on an album is amazing, and writing with Justin has been amazing. You know we did some great tours back in the day that were pretty sweet, supporting bands like Kiss, Scorpions and Deep Purple to name a few.

I’m just so grateful to have had some really high moments but yeah there were some pretty low ones too like being dropped by a record company is not a fun thing. You know things kind of fell apart there for a while and the wheels came off and you know something that means so much to you it is painful. So yeah, extreme highs and extreme lows but you know it’s all good and I’m really lucky to have a great family too so that always helps support you and soften the blow.

SR: Bands like Vixen and Heart were one of the few who really left an impact that passed the test of time. How challenging was it to be an all-female band back in the 80’s?

Janet: It was definitely challenging because it was men running everything, there were very few female record executives or managers or anybody so you know that was difficult that we were kind of at the mercy of men and of the powers that be.  And it was harder to get taken seriously, we just kind of tried to hone our craft the best that we could and to be the best band that we could be.

“…it was harder to get taken seriously, we just kind of tried to hone our craft the best that we could…”

That’s all we could do, it was hard but we didn’t pay much attention to it. It was like, let’s just focus on what we can control, our music and our craft.

You collaborated with your husband Justin and released No Strings last year, how has it been working as a couple together?

Janet: We definitely have a very magical connection. It’s amazing to be able to do that with someone that you love in so many different ways and I think it just adds more intimacy and a more personal touch to all of the songs, as we are so open emotionally and that translates into the music.

(Justin James jumps on the interview here after hearing his name)

Justin: This is our fourth album that we have done together, the first two albums went under Janet’s name and I kind of let it be her solo thing as she has been doing this longer than I have.  And by the third album we did, which was called, Synergy. I finally earned my place on the album cover and got my name thrown on there. For me there’s nothing better than having your soulmate share a vision with you and be able to craft music together. It’s a very special feeling and I joke about it but it’s true! Most couples on Saturday night talk about what movie they’re gonna see where they’re going to go for dinner. For us it is, what song are we going to go record in the studio? Come on, let’s go write some music together. For us there is no bigger enjoyment.

SR: Let’s talk about Glam Fest. How excited are you to start that tour? What bands on the bill are you keen to see and perhaps hang out with?

Justin: For me it is every band on the bill. Not only am I excited that we are playing it, but bands like Tyketto, I have played with those guys, I love them, they’re fantastic musicians, great band and great people. Here in America we don’t get to see bands like The Cruel Intentions and H.E.A.T because they don’t play over here. So, for us to get to see them is awesome and the Slaughter guys are always just a blast.

Janet: It has been a while since we have seen some of those bands, so it is going to be a blast because it is going to be like a traveling circus.

Justin: And of course, Lynchmob as well with the great George Lynch, as a guitar player it is like a huge “I’m not worthy moment”.

SR: What’s your set-list gonna be like?

Justin: At this point we have four albums out together, which is our primary push, we want to continue to push what we are currently doing. So, we are going to be playing a little bit of those songs from each of those albums and of course we are going to play the classic Vixen hits that everybody is familiar with. So expect a little bit of everything.

SR: Can you share with us a fan story or funny tour story?

Justin: One of my best stories is when we went to the U.K and Janet was actually our driver. And, we were driving on the opposite side of the road as we do in the States, and I think we all lost some hairs while driving over there. I think we came back a little more bald and a little more pale skinned.

Janet: Come on! I did a great job, we made it all through Scotland, England, Wales, all over the UK with me behind the wheel.

Justin: She did do awesome, but there were a lot of F-bombs being dropped on that tour. In all fairness, she was the only one brave enough to drive.

Janet: I kind of got a little close to a bus because the streets are a way narrower to the roads in the States.

Justin: One of the highlights on tour is when we were last in Australia. We were back before the whole Covid thing hit, I think we were there for two weeks and it was one of the best times that I have ever had. I personally fell in love with the place and if there is any place outside of the states that I am going to move to it is Australia.

Janet: Other than the United States, which obviously we are very comfortable here, it was the place where we felt THE most comfortable. We could definitely live there so easily.

Justin: It was hard to leave, usually you are itching to get home but it was the first time we wanted to stay and enjoy the place and the beautiful weather, amazing food, and great people.

Glam Fest plays in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.

Friday 16 February MELBOURNE, Melbourne Pavilion

Sunday 18 February SYDNEY, Metro Theatre and Metro Social 

Silverback members pre-sale: Commences Thursday 14 December at 9am (local) and runs to Sunday 15 December at 5pm (local).

General public: Monday 18 December at 9am (local). 

All information – glamfest.com.au



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