Ex-VIXEN Singer JANET GARDNER Says People Have A 'Funny' Reaction When They Find Out She Works As A Dental Hygienist

August 11, 2023

During an appearance on the latest episode of the "Appetite For Distortion" podcast, former VIXEN singer Janet Gardner spoke about her participation in the three-part Paramount+ docuseries "I Wanna Rock".

The series, produced by MTV Entertainment Studios in partnership with Gunpowder & Sky, features a new interview with Gardner in which she reveals that she still works part-time as a dental hygienist in Connecticut when she is not on the road with her husband.

Asked if some of her patients now know who she is, having seen her in the docuseries, Janet told "Appetite For Distortion" (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "There has been a couple of people, and one of 'em, oddly enough, did not know that it was me, but said, 'I saw this show. It was fantastic. It was about this girl that was in a band in the '80s called VIXEN. And now she's a dental hygienist. Isn't that cool?' I started laughing. And then she looks at me and she goes, 'Oh my God. It's you.' And I've had people reach out to me, like my old patients from Connecticut that I knew like casually, like friends of my son's parents, things like that. And even they were, like, 'Oh, my God. I had no idea you were the singer in VIXEN this whole time. That's amazing. I just saw you on Paramount.' So, yeah, it's kind of funny, people's reaction, that had no idea."

Asked if the fact that some of her patients now know who she is has changed her relationship with them and made things more "uncomfortable', Gardner responded: "No, not really. We talked about it for a couple of minutes and then it's back to business. 'Open your mouth. Let's get this done.' So, no, I mean, it's never been a problem, but it has happened before in the past. I saw one girl that had seen me about three times, and she goes, 'I've been dying to ask you this, but are you the same Janet Gardner that was in VIXEN?' I'm, like, 'Yeah.' And she got weird. She was, like, 'Oh my God. I can't believe it, this whole time. And I had a feeling it was you, and I knew your name was the same, but I just couldn't wrap my head around it.' So, yeah, once in a while people do that. But a lot of times [they're] oblivious. [They have] no idea."

Janet went on to say that the focus is never on her when she is working on her patients. "With patients, it's all about them and their lives and asking them questions," she explained. "And they want to talk about their life and how the kids are doing and so and so is in trouble and this person's going off to college and they want that. So when the patient's in the chair, it's all about them; it's not about me at all. The people that I work with, of course, they all know — the dentist I work for; everybody in the office always has known."

She continued: "I get satisfaction out of taking good care of my patients. I really do. I don't need them to know anything but I'm here for you, for your health, and I'm good at what I do. So I don't need anything more. I don't need them to know more."

Last month, Janet spoke about how she became a registered dental hygienist in an interview with Fox News Digital, saying: "My grandfather was a dentist. 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 ass… 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."

Janet previously discussed her career as a dental hygienist during a 2020 interview with Rock Titan. At the time, she said: "One of the best things I ever did for my relationship with music is to take money out of it — to not have to make any decisions based on what's gonna make the most money. I like to be able to have the freedom to do what we feel like doing, and I know that me and my family and everybody's taken care of. I can work more when I want, I can work less hours when I want and do more music, or go to Australia or do whatever. It has a lot of flexibility, and I don't have to make musical decisions based on money, on finances, and it feels great."

Back in 2018, Janet told "The Five Count" radio show that she has never gotten pulled off the road for somebody's emergency root canal surgery or anything like that. "Luckily, nobody I know has ever needed emergency cleaning, so I can book people when I'm around," she explained. "But the poor dentist I work for has to deal with that all the time. But, luckily, he lives about 20 seconds away from the office, so he can go in and do those emergency root canals and I don't have to hear a thing about it. He's really a cool guy too, and he's so good with me having to take off to do music and stuff like that, 'cause he gets it. He's, like, 'Oh, yeah. You'd be crazy not to. So get out of here. I'll see you when you get back.'"

Janet's collaborative project with her husband, guitarist/producer Justin James, released a new album, "No Strings", on June 9 via Pavement Entertainment in North America and Frontiers Music Srl in the rest of the world.

"No Strings" is the follow-up to the 2020 record "Synergy".

"Synergy" was the first Gardner/James album to be released under the GARDNER*JAMES banner. The couple previously collaborated on Janet's first two solo albums, 2018's "Janet Gardner" and 2019's "Your Place In The Sun".

Janet announced her departure from VIXEN in January 2019, saying in a statement that it was time for her to step aside and let drummer Roxy Petrucci and bassist Share Ross "pursue their vision for the future of VIXEN."

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".

In January 2018, Gardner underwent surgery to remove blood clots in her brain, a condition known as a subdural hematoma.

While Gardner was recovering from her surgery, VIXEN played a show in Durant, Oklahoma in March 2018 with a fill-in singer, Lorraine Lewis of FEMME FATALE. In January 2019, Lewis was announced as Gardner's official replacement.

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