Episode 106 – Jan Kuehnemund Rock in Peace

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One of the nicest people that we’ve interviewed over the past 2+ years was Jan Kuehnemund, founder of all-female hard rock band Vixen. While Jan’s guitar skills and physical beauty provided her with a powerful 1-2 punch in the music industry, those things were overshadowed when you actually talked to her. Jan’s dedication, integrity, and drive helped propel her and Vixen to stardom in the late 1980’s. Those qualities also served her well through the many lean years that followed. All of this is what makes this week’s episode so difficult for us.

Jan Kuehnemund passed away last Friday October 10th, 2013 after a long battle with cancer.

We interviewed Jan in late February of 2012 and uploaded the episode on March 2nd, 2012. The process of interviewing Jan was a true pleasure. She was forthcoming, funny, intriguing, and patient in giving us knuckleheads in Nashville an hour of her time to yack about rock music and her life in it.

We could have just gone ahead and dedicated this week’s episode to Jan and proceeded with a new theme. But, Jan really left an impression on us and Aaron and I still have good memories of talking to her. The Decibel Geek podcast has really grown since April of 2012 (83 episodes ago!) and we couldn’t think of a more fitting tribute to Jan than to give you all a replay of our conversation. In this talk, she talks about the early days of bringing Vixen from Minnesota to Los Angeles, their struggles to be taken seriously, and their rise to fame. She also details the difficult days of the 1990’s, acrimony among band members and the beginning of reconciliation with the girls for VH1’s Bands Reunited series. She also shares touring memories of working with such acts and Deep Purple and KISS.

While the war stories are interesting and entertaining, we hope you will take from this talk what we did; Jan Kuehnemund was a thoughtful, caring, and beautiful spirit that will most definitely be missed. Rock in Peace Jan. Your music lives on.

– Chris Czynszak

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