VIXEN guitarist Brittany Denaro (a.k.a. Britt Lightning) spoke to Talking Metal about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's next studio album. "Well, it's going a little bit slower than we had anticipated," she said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "Before COVID, we had a bunch of writing sessions — in person — scheduled, where we all just get together and hang out and work on stuff.
"We all live in different states across the country, actually — from L.A. to Michigan to Florida — we're very spread out," she explained. "So it's not easy to travel. And honestly, nobody is super jazzed about sending tracks back and forth, trying to record it separately and everything like that. So we got a little bit slowed down. But we've got some great ideas. We're gonna be seeing each other in a couple of weeks, so we're really looking forward to getting back on track and just finishing the writing so we can get in the studio and bang this thing out. I'm very anxious to have it done. I know we've been talking about it for a while."
Asked about the musical direction of the new VIXEN material, Britt, who has been in the band since 2017, said: "Definitely it will be traditional VIXEN. When you hear it, I think you're gonna know it's VIXEN. We're gonna keep with the big three-part harmonies, the big, catchy choruses, cool, rocking riffs and solos and that thumpin' bass and, of course, Roxy's [Petrucci, drums] awesome sound. I think it'll be a slightly modern twist maybe — I think maybe I bring that a little bit, but I've been so influenced by VIXEN and other bands from that era that I think it's gonna stay consistent. And we want that — we don't want fans to be, like, 'What the heck is this? This isn't the band that I love.' But I think it's gonna be a good mix."
Britt's comments echo those made by VIXEN singer Lorraine Lewis, who told Metal-Net last November that the band's new material is "always going to sound like VIXEN as far as harmonies — [which is] really important to us — but really fresh. Lots of messages, lots of what our journey has been as individual women. And we're all just kind of putting our horses together, and I'm really excited. I'm just stoked to be in the studio again.
"We don't have it a hundred percent mapped out," Lorraine admitted. "Right now, we're still in writing process, we're still working on stuff — lots of lyrics and just kind of sharing them with all of us. Sharing choruses with [producer] Fred [Coury from CINDERELLA]. He says, 'Yes, this is a great chorus. Let's work on this.' So we're really, really happy and proud to be working with him. He believes in us, and he believes in me, which I really, really love. We've had a really great couple of talks in the studio and otherwise, like with Britt there, and him just saying, 'You guys have everything going for you. You have an amazing band. You're a legacy band. And you've got Lorraine doing vocals for you.' And I'm so appreciative that he believes in me and he thinks I can sing anything. When Fred tells you that you can do anything, you believe it. So I'm really excited to go into the studio and work with him. And I'm really honored that he has said some of the things that he said to me. So the sky's the limit here.'
Lewis added: "I wanna release a really powerful, amazing record. And let's get a couple of singles out there, and let's revise the VIXEN legacy and keep on rocking."
In January 2019, VIXEN recruited Lewis as its new lead singer following the departure of Janet Gardner.
Lewis had already performed with VIXEN in March 2018 in Durant, Oklahoma while Gardner was recovering from surgery.
Prior to Lewis's addition to VIXEN, Petrucci, Ross and Denaro vowed to "expand upon the VIXEN legacy while remaining true to our musical roots."
Gardner, who released her debut self-titled solo album in 2017, broke the news of her exit from the group on January 16, 2019.
Gardner, Petrucci and Ross are considered to be part of VIXEN's classic lineup, along with founding guitarist Jan Kuehnemund, who died of cancer in October 2013.
Gardner contributed lead vocals to VIXEN's most commercially successful studio albums — "Vixen" (1988), "Rev It Up" (1990) and "Tangerine" (1998) — as well as the group's latest release, 2018's live album "Live Fire".