Two months ago, a long time ago VIXEN bass player Share Ross announced that she was “taking a break” from the group. Her replacement is Julia Lageformerly of latin grammys-Brazilian rock band nominated SAIA BAR and wife of Richie Kotzen. Age made his live debut with VIXEN on February 8 at the pre-rock monsters concert-cruise at the Magic City Casino in Miami, Florida.
VIXEN singer Lorraine Lewis discussed Share‘s departure from the group in a new interview with Metal-Net. She said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “We already knew the news of Share. And we planned to go to rock monsters pre-cruise party. The plan was for VIXEN also go on the boat. But we had already planned everything in advance; we knew what was going on.
“Bands have their own secret society, if you will, and sometimes you just have to discuss as a band what’s going on, what’s next, etc., and that’s what happened with us.
“First of all, let me say: we love Share“, Lorraine continued. “Shareshe’s an MF-er rock star, we love her, she’s talented, she’s a great singer, she’s beautiful, she writes great songs and we love her, and forever she’s the bass player of VIXEN; it never changes. His legacy lives on forever. But she’s also a very busy businesswoman, like all of us. She set foot in the real estate market in Florida, which is really booming. She loves what she does; she’s really good at it. And I think for her – and I’m sure she would say the same to you – it was that she got to a point where she decided she needed to take a step back. She was a little scattered with all the work she was doing. And it’s a new avenue for her, and she’s really having a blast with it. So she came to us… She actually went to Roxy [Petrucci, VIXEN drummer] first, and I think they had a discussion about it, and then they let us know that she was considering taking a step back and calling it a break.
“We support her. We love her. We’re all girls, girls and we lift each other up. So it was a decision that she made on her own, and she decided to kind of do pause and breathe, and we support her in that decision. We talk all the time – I talk to her once or twice a week; we’re all still friends; I mean, we’re family. We’re thick as thieves – it’s not okay. She’s just taking a break. And it’s as simple as that.”
Regarding how Age ended up joining VIXEN as Rossreplacing, lewis said: “Knowing that we would have gigs booked for 2022, we knew we needed a bass player. And British [Lightning, a.k.a. Brittany Denaro, VIXEN guitarist] knows everyone — like, she seriously knows everyone in rock and roll. So British worked with Julia before, and she immediately said, “I think we should get Julia Lage.’ She’s beautiful, she’s an incredible bass player, she’s super talented, she has a killer voice, and she sings very high, it’s kind of the role that Share Is. With the VIXEN harmony, Shareis always the highest harmony. So we really needed someone to fill these shoes, and Julia can do that.”
According to Lorraine, VIXEN had “no rehearsals” with Julia before the concert in Miami. “It was ‘plug and play,'” she explained. “We went to the cruise, to the pre-cruise party. No one knew it was going on except our manager, our booking agent and inside the group. And we had everything planned for that Julia would learn four songs towards the end of the set, so she had worked on four songs, and then we gave the scene… After Share did ‘[I Don’t Need No] Doctor’on which she’s just kicking ass, she took the mic and she revealed to the crowd what her plans were, which was to take a break, and then she invited Julia to get on stage. They hugged, we all clapped, we left Share say what she meant, then Share off stage, Julia came on, we rocked the house for the last four songs, didn’t miss a beat. I’m sure people were surprised and at the same time everything fell into place… Julia just popped and plugged. We did a very brief rehearsal in the hotel room with just basically a few things, making sure our harmonies were right and then we just shook the house.
When Ross released the news of his departure during the pre-rock monsters cruise concert, she told the crowd that “life got a little complicated” and that “something has to give”, resulting from her decision to “walk away from VIXEN for a while.” She then introduced her “amazing” replacement and urged the VIXEN fans to “gracefully” open their arms and welcome Age to the group. At the moment, Julia and his new band mates hit the trail “Streets in Paradise” and played the last two songs of the set with Ross watch the proceedings from the side of the stage.
During a February 11 appearance on SiriusXMit is “Trunk Nation with Eddie Trunk”, Julia talked about how she ended up dating VIXENsaying: “Share takes a break. She wants to do her thing [and focus on her real estate career]. She kicks ass. She’s gonna write and perform forever – I mean, she’s a badass artist and bassist, singer, everything, songwriter. So I got the invite, and I was like, ‘Yeah, sure I’ll join. Sure.'”
Asked how other members of VIXEN contacted her to join the group, Julia said, “Well, actually, oddly enough, before British joined VIXENMe and her tried to start a band, right when she moved to LA But it didn’t work out, and then she joined VIXEN, and I was super happy for her. So, fast forward, she actually called me a couple months ago and she told me about the script, and I was, like, ‘Yeah. I would love [to do it]. I mean, it’s an honor for me to join VIXEN.’ So it happened. And that was it. It was so fast. And I was just, ‘Okay. Connect me. Where can I go?’ [Laughs]”
Age also talked about his first performance with VIXEN at the pre-rock monsters cruise gig, saying, “[Share played] a little more than half of the whole, then [before] the last three songs, she stopped [the show] and talked about [her plans] a bit and told everyone what was going to happen and introduced me. And then I stepped in and played the last three songs with them. And then she actually came back for the last song and sang with us. It was just very nice. I also thought it was very moving. It was a good way to transition.”
Pressed to know if her position with VIXEN is only temporary or she will join the group permanently, Julia said, “We haven’t really discussed it, but [Share is] taking his time. She could come back; she could [not]. I do not know. Whenever they need me, I’m there for them. And I’m going to do my best to honor his bass lines and everything. And I’m going to have fun with it, that’s for sure.”
The only remaining member of VIXENThe “classic” range is Petrucci.
In January 2019, VIXEN recruited lewis as a new singer after the departure of Janet Gardner.
lewis had already played with VIXEN in March 2018 in Durant, Oklahoma while Gardner was recovering from an operation.
Prior to lewisis added to VIXEN, Petrucci, Ross and Denaro pledged to “develop VIXEN legacy while staying true to our musical roots.”
Gardner, Petrucci and Ross are considered part of VIXENthe classic lineup of, with the founding guitarist Jan Kuehnemunddied of cancer in October 2013.
Gardner contributed lead vocals to VIXENthe most commercially successful studio albums — “Vixen” (1988), “Wake Him Up” (1990) and “Mandarin” (1998) – as well as the band’s final release, the 2018 live album “Live Fire”.
Photo credit: Marc Weiss