FORMER VIXEN FRONT WOMAN, JANET GARDNER, DISCUSSES HER TIME WITH BAND, TOURING WITH OZZY AND BEING A DENTAL HYGIENIST
Stephanie Nolasco of Fox News reports:
When Janet Gardner found herself “Cryin’” after the plug was pulled on her rock star career, she turned to dentistry.
The former lead vocalist of the [all female], glam metal band Vixen went on to pursue the family business after the Sunset Strip music scene went silent. The 61-year-old recently joined several artists who survived the decadent era of the ‘80s for the three-part Paramount+ docuseries, I Wanna Rock.
The series, produced by MTV Entertainment Studios in partnership with Gunpowder & Sky, features new interviews with Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, John Corabi of Mötley Crüe, Dave “Snake” Sabo of Skid Row, and Winger’s Kip Winger, among others.
Garner said that when Seattle’s grunge scene hit pause on her music career, she became a dental hygienist in Connecticut, a trade she still practices today.
“My grandfather was a dentist,” the singer explained to Fox News Digital. “My uncles, a couple of them were dentists. Their kids are now dentists, a couple of hygienists – lots of dental people. And they all had really good lives. They were able to do their work and have the sort of work/life balance [that] was very good… I needed something that would allow me enough time for my family, for my music, other things in life. That work/life balance really appealed to me. If I had this kind of skill, I could work more when I needed more money, and I could work less when I needed more time for other things.”
“It worked out great,” she shared. “And I like learning. I like school. So going back to school for me was very satisfying. And I loved what I was learning. We had to take pharmacology… And I love science. It was invigorating. I loved it. I studied my butt off. I kicked a–… Not only did it give me something that I could do in my life… for money and security and for my family. [But], I also [get] to use a side of my brain that hadn’t been used in a while.”
Garner is a part-time dental hygienist, which allows her to still make music and hit the road on her terms. In June of this year, she and guitarist/producer husband Justin James released a new album, No Strings.
She said few of her current patients know about her rock star past.
“I do it three days a week, and then I have four days a week for other things,” Gardner explained. “And music is one of those things, and of course, my family. I don’t know when I’ll stop. I’ll do it as long as I can still do it.”
“Back in Connecticut, I worked at the same practice for a lot of years,” she noted. “And by the time I left there most of my patients knew. They would be like, ‘Where is she today?’ And they would be told, ‘She’s on a tour with her band.’ But where I currently work, I’ve only been there for about a year, so not many people know. It doesn’t come up. It’s never, ‘Any concerns with your teeth? Oh, by the way, I was in this band in the ’80s.’ Some of them know, but a lot of people don’t. But I guess after they see this docuseries, they’ll go, ‘Hey, isn’t that the girl who just cleaned my teeth?’”
…[When discussing the time Vixen toured with Ozzy Osbourne], Gardner said,
“He was awesome,” Gardner gushed about Osbourne. “We toured with him during a time when he was very clean. He wasn’t drinking, he wasn’t doing any drugs. He was working out every day. His kids were little, and they would come out. [His wife] Sharon was out there quite a bit. He was really on an upswing. He was very positive, hilarious – a very funny guy. Easy to talk to.”
Gardner admitted she was “really intimidated” – but the singer quickly put her at ease.
“He stopped me and just started a conversation about singing and how difficult it is to be out there every night,” she recalled. “We shared vocal tips, what to eat, what not to eat. It was amazing. He was really in a good place when we toured with him… And it was great to see him in such a good place…”
…The ride was brief for Gardner, but today, she is grateful to tell her story.
“We had everything we could dream of, but there was another side to it,” she said. “And we’re still here.”
I Wanna Rock: The ’80s Metal Dream is currently available for streaming. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Read more at the New York Post.