Janice Lynn Kuehnemund, 59, of Colorado Springs, Colo., formerly of St. Paul, died Oct. 10, 2013.
Jan Kuehneund, lead guitarist, singer/songwriter, gold record recording artist and founder of the all-female band VIXEN, sadly passed away after 9-month battle with cancer. Her grief-stricken family, mother Betty; brother Ron; sister-in-law Patty and extended members; niece Tina and family; cousins Bonnie and Karen, cannot believe that Jan is gone since she was always so health conscious. She was preceded in death her father, Carl. Now that Jan is in heaven with her dad were sure he had a guitar waiting for her so she could rock out with a band of angels.
As a young girl Jan took organ lessons. One day, her dad bought a guitar for himself then decided it wasnt for him. Jan picked up the guitar, fell in love and the rest is history.
Jan and good friend Nancy (Kraft) Palumbo learned to play the guitars together. One of their first shows was at a nursing home. Soon Jan had a brainstorm about starting an all-girl band. So, she recruited some friends to join her. They are Laurie Hedlund (drums), Cindy Boettcher (keyboards) and Gayle (Erickson) DeMatoff (bass guitar). At first, they called the band Lemon Pepper and rehearsed in garages and basements at the homes of all their parents.
Quickly, they found a manager, and started performing around the Twin Cities followed by touring all over the country. The name of the band was then changed the name to VIXEN. They were the opening act for major 1970s artists such as: Styx, Ted Nugent, REO Speedwagon, Bob Seeger and many more.
The girls were really good, really serious and really ready to make it big. So they left Minnesota and moved to Los Angeles in 1979. Soon they were playing at all of the Hollywoods biggest rock clubs: The Whiskey, Roxy and Troubador as well as recording at famed studio Chateau with a big name producer
By the mid-1980s, Cindy, Laurie and Gayle had gone on to pursue other things while remaining best friends. Jan never gave up on her dream to make VIXEN rise to the top. With newly handpicked members Jan and her band rose to worldwide fame after the release of the albums: Vixen (gold record) and Rev It Up. Hit singles included Edge of a Broken Heart and Cryin. Jan and various band mates were in the film Hardbodies and the documentary The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years.
Jan was a beautiful person both inside and out. Her true signature was her glorious mane of long, thick blond hair. Wherever she went heads would turn in awe of her great beauty. Whoever was lucky enough to have known her will remember Jan as being so loving, caring, loyal, generous, sweet and kind. She never forgot anyones birthday and always made it back to Minnesota to spend Christmas with her beloved family
She had all of this plus being one of the greatest female guitarists of all time. What an amazing legacy Jan has left for us all! Through all her incredible drive, determination and success, she always remained true to who she was, Jan Kuehneund from St. Paul, Minnesota.
A GIRL, A GUITAR AND A DREAM
The family would like to give our heartfelt thanks to all of her many friends and fans for loving her as we have always loved her.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, at Trinity Lutheran Church in North Branch with the Rev. Rob Krajewski officiating. The service will be filled with music and provided by family friends Anita Ryberg, Jerry Youngquist, David Carlson, and Pastor Merlin Slim Seel. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at church on Thursday. A private family interment will take place at a later date.
Arrangements are under the direction of Grandstrand Funeral Home in North Branch. Condolences maybe left at www.grandstrandfh.com.