The village People pose for a Casablanca records publicity shot circa 1978Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images
Village people co-founder and also original lead singer, Victor Willis (the "cop"), announced his return to the top ‘70s disco team after a 38-year absence. The announcement, however, is no being commemorated by anyone — particularly his previous bandmates.
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The town People, through Victor Willis front and also center, pose because that a Casablanca records publicity shooting circa 1978Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images
“This is that company hijacking at the highest level,” claimed Felipe Rose, the band’s original aboriginal American member, who has been performing under the town People name for the past 4 decades. “He"s acquisition on 40 year of a well-oiled brand and 40 year of a fan base. The angry is, is the is replacing every one of us.”
Rose, who has actually been a member that the village People due to the fact that the band’s debut in 1977, said fans space “furious” and also “rabid,” and he and other members the the group he has been performing with have actually been alerting people online that Willis will certainly not it is in performing v them in one upcoming display in Australia.
Rose, together with Alex Briley, the initial soldier; ray Simpson, the cop due to the fact that 1979; Eric Anzalone, the leatherman due to the fact that 1995; Jim Newman, the cowboy since 2013; and also Bill Whitefield, the building worker since 2013, had already performed in Australia this past May.
The public criticism has actually not to be one-sided. Willis, that won a legal fight in 2012 come reclaim a section of the song rights, comment by call Rose and the other band members “imposters,” “ex-Village People” and also even “karaoke faces.”
Willis’ main Facebook page has been fanning the flames that the feud.
Willis’ facebook page, i beg your pardon his publicist stated is “managed by numerous PR reps/personal assistants,” also took the opportunity to slam Rose, Briley and other members the their band ahead of their upcoming respectable 20 performance in England.
Willis, that co-founded the village People and also wrote plenty of of the initially songs, left the group in 1979 in wishes of embarking on a solo career. After ~ the 2012 court judgment that awarded him between 33 and 50 percent that 20 village People songs, Willis stated he tried to make tranquility with the various other band members.
“Despite the fact they had misled the general public for plenty of years into believing the they room the singers the the town People hits as soon as in truth the actual singer has always been me, I available an chance for several of the team members to join (including Felipe Rose) in mine return at the helm of town People. They declined my offer,” Willis created in one email.
Village human being at the Hampton roads Pride Fest, June 2017: (L-R) Eric Anzalone, Jim Newman, Alex Briley, ray Simpson, Felipe Rose and also Bill Whitefield.Vincent Schilling
“They have pulled the wool over the public"s eye lengthy enough,” Willis added. “I have actually recruited brand-new members to replace them ... Ns wish the former members the best.”
According come Willis’ spokesperson, Felipe Rose and his company, Sixuvus Ltd., lost the ideal to do as the town People ~ above June 1. Rose, however, cases they have until Nov. 30.
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Willis’ spokesperson claimed Willis will be announcing the brand-new members that the group on august 22.