I recently contacted drumming legend Roxy Petrucci to do an interview for Rock Radio NI. The timing seemed right as her new band JSRG had just been announced for Firefest in October and the band were also embarking on the Monsters of Rock Cruise. Most people will know Roxy as the drummer from Vixen in the late 80s and early 90s, but she also played with Madam X before that and in a number of bands since. Her new band JSRG consists of three of the original members of Vixen. I must admit I got quite a buzz out of doing this interview (even if only by e-mail) as it’s not every day you get to ask questions to someone who you watched on TV and listened to on the stereo in your late teens / early twenties in the heyday of classic rock!


NI ROCKS – Happy New Year to you Roxy. Thanks for agreeing to answer a few questions for Rock Radio NI. As it’s the start of a new year we’ll start with a few questions about what you’re doing now and over the next few months before we talk about your career to date.

2013 looks like it is going to be a great year for your new venture JSRG which consists of three of the members of the successful Vixen line-up from the late 80s - early 90s. You’ve teamed up with Janet Gardner and Share Ross (Pedersen) as well as Gina Stile who was also involved in Vixen in the late 90s.

How did that collaboration come together?

ROXY – Happy New Year! It's going to be a helluva year!  Janet, Share and myself are planning to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first Vixen release by hitting the stages and performing all the Vixen fan's favorites.  Gina has been in our rock circle since the late 90s and is happy to share in this experience.


NI ROCKS – Your first big outing as JSRG will be as part of the Monsters of Rock Cruise in March along with a lot of other great artists. What can those lucky people on the cruise expect to see and hear from JSRG?

ROXY – Hey we're thrilled at the opportunity to get out there once again to rock the Vixen songs, have a great time and get re acquainted with our fans! We'll be appearing in meet and greets signing autographs and whatever comes at us, we're game!


NI ROCKS – I noticed that your birthday coincides with the Monsters of Rock Cruise dates. How much of a party is that going to be?

ROXY – Hell's gonna break loose!


NI ROCKS – JSRG have also been announced for the Firefest event in England in October. Unfortunately for some, that has been billed as an exclusive UK appearance so we’ll not get to see you over in N Ireland during 2013 it seems. (As your birthday is on St Patricks Day maybe we should try for March 17th 2014 perhaps? Lol) Are you looking forward to getting back to the UK?

ROXY – Yes 2014 I'm in! I love performing abroad and I miss it! I feel the same excitement as I did when I was twentysomething....not that long ago! lol


NI ROCKS – Have JSRG any more gigs or tours in the planning for 2013? Would you be hoping to target the festivals in Europe and North America rather than doing a club tour?

ROXY – We're confirmed at the M3 festival in May with more festival and perhaps club dates in our plans as well so stay tuned!  We just want to get out there and play.  It's been awhile since we've toured together so we're goin balls out!


NI ROCKS – Are we going to see JSRG in the studio recording some new material in the near future and if so what would a likely release date be?

ROXY – We have songs and ideas just itchin to be recorded so yes we do plan on squeezing in studio time. I believe we'll release a download for starters and see where that takes us.


NI ROCKS – Legal issues with Jan Kuehnemund of course prevent JSRG using the name Vixen and she continues to perform under that name but I’m sure that JSRG will get a great reception. From a fan perspective I suppose it allows two opportunities to hear the classic Vixen tracks being performed, albeit it in very different formats.

ROXY –  Yes, well said.  Gina does a great job adding a fresh, tough edge to the songs while staying true to the integrity of the Vixen sound. We've all matured as musicians and I believe we've never sounded better.


NI ROCKS – Your first success came with the band Madam X back in the early 80s along with your sister Maxine. (I remember watching the band on one of the few rock shows on British TV back then called “ECT”. We used to video tape it every week and I think my brother still has the tapes though most of the performances are on YouTube now.) What are your endearing memories of the years with Madam X?

ROXY –  ECT was a wild experience!  We had a Spinal Tap moment losing our way to the stage circling the building countless times. I think Lemmy (Motorhead) finally pointed us in the right direction, doh! Madam X was a magnet attracting wild, sexually charged audiences.  We loved every minute of performing on stage but nearly killed each other off stage....total metal magic!  We had some lean and mean years that I wouldn't trade for anything. Madam X performed almost every night for years and didn't flinch.  That was who we were.


NI ROCKS – You’d left Madam X in 1986 before Sebastian Bach joined the band but your sister remained until the band broke up in 1988. There was a brief reformation in 1991 that was an all-girl line-up and was later renamed Hell’s Belles. What was the story behind that?

ROXY - I wanted to keep jammin after Vixen broke up and heard about a unique singer named Lenita Ericksen from Canada.  With Maxine on guitar and Irene Wohlman on bass we recorded some songs, played a few dates and had some fun.


NI ROCKS – Vixen of course were hugely successful in the late 80s and early 90s and “Vixen” and “Rev It Up” were pretty much essential listening for rock fans of that era. I still have my vinyl copies stashed away! You supported some of the biggest bands around – Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, Bon Jovi, Kiss, Aerosmith, Whitesnake and Deep Purple  to name a few. Is it possible to pick out a highlight from those years?

ROXY – I would have to say our first arena date opening for the Scorpions.  It was just mind blowing! The rush I got from peeking out from behind the stage curtains is indescribable....and then actually performing hearing our music resonate throughout the arena is absolutely addicting.


NI ROCKS – There must be some really good tales from the road that you could tell? Any favourite stories that you like to recall?

ROXY – Hmm, Madam X, we're in the middle of nowhere New Mexico squeezed like sardines in a 1970s Camaro stopped at a gas station. It's about 5 am and out of the fog walking towards us is Jesus in his white robe with an enormous cross dragging the ground leaning on his back. We're all rubbing our eyes in shock.  Nobody said a word.  We got back in the car, slowly drove along side him long enough to see he had little training wheels on the bottom of his cross.  He thought we were offering him a ride but instead Godzilla peeled away leaving the poor guy in a cloud of dirt and dust while our soundman yells to him" Hey man your cheating"!


NI ROCKS – Sometimes drummers can be overshadowed in a band but that never seemed a problem with you in Vixen. You seemed to have the look and charisma (as well as the drumming skills obviously) needed at the time and to be honest 25 years later you’ve still got that rock chick look. Did you always want to be a drummer and when did you first start drumming?

ROXY – Thank You! I started drumming around the age of 14 and was inspired by the all girl band Fanny.  Maxine and I saw them on television and back then women in rock was quite a novelty.  Once I got into rock music there was no turning back. I was hooked for life. Drumming to me is sexy and primal, I love it!

NI ROCKS – One of the bands I followed on MySpace a few years back was Roktopuss, which was collaboration with Lorraine Lewis from Femme Fatale. What happened with Roktopuss after the initial recordings and were they ever made available? As Lorraine is also on the Monsters of Rock Cruise with her new all girl Femme Fatale line-up is there a chance that the two of you might jam some Roktopuss tunes?

ROXY – Lorraine and I keep in touch and yes we did record a Roktopuss EP. As far as jamming, yes, I'm sure we'll do something together on that ship!

We work well together and hopefully in the near future we'll record more Roktopuss tunes.


NI ROCKS – I believe that you had auditioned for the job of drummer with David Lee Roth’s band back in the mid 80s. How did that come about and were you disappointed to lose out to Greg Bissonette?

ROXY – I was not disappointed just happy to be there! I was asked by Billy and Steve to audition so I did!  It was another career highlight!


NI ROCKS – What were your musical influences when you were growing up and setting up your first band?

ROXY – I was a classical clarinetist, loved jazz and of course Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath! Maxine and I dreamed of having the best all girl band. We learned everything we could from Gentle Giant to Jimi Hendrix.  Music was all we thought about.  While normal girls our age were planning what to wear to prom we were planning what leather and lace we would wear to gigs!


NI ROCKS – If you were allowed to time travel and drum on stage with one band (other than Vixen) in the last 40 years what band would it be?

ROXY – Judas Priest! I actually did have a Judas Priest moment with Rob Halford.  Madam X used to play a place in Phoenix called Rockers and Halford came down one night and sang about 8 Priest tunes with us.  We tore the roof off the place! Metal Gods baby!


NI ROCKS – Finally, a question that I like to ask everyone. If I was to borrow your iPod / Mp3 Player and stick it on shuffle or sit alongside you whilst you were listening to the stereo in your car, what bands would I be likely to hear?

ROXY – The alphabet of Rock/Metal bands from Accept to Zebra. But aside from the obvious you'd probably be surprised that I have funk masters on my iPod! The Commodores, Parliament and The Funkadelics, The Isley Brothers, Rick James etc. I dig the funk!


NI ROCKS – Thanks again for taking some time to answer a few questions for Rock Radio NI. Best of luck for 2013 to you and the rest of the girls in JSRG and I hope we’ll get to see you all in N Ireland sometime in the near future.

ROXY - NI Rocks n Rolls! Thanks!



For more information check out Roxy’s website – www.roxypetrucci.com

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Last Updated (Monday, 18 February 2013 20:32)