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It's the Felipe Rose/Ray Simpson Village People vs. the Victor Willis Village People

by Paul Cashmere, Noise11

The Village People are warning Australian fans about ‘The Village People’.

The current official Village People is founder Felipe Rose (the Indian), Ray Simpson (the Cop who replaced original cop Victor Willis), Alex Briley (the G.I.), Eric Anzalone (the Biker since 1995) and new members Jim Newman and Bill Whitefield.

The Village People toured Australia with that line-up in May but now former singer Victor Willis has emerged and he is using the name.

Willis was the original lead singer for the Village People but left in 1980 before the movie ‘Can’t Stop The Music’ went into production. He is credited as co-writer on two songs on the soundtrack album ‘Magic Nights’ and ‘Milkshake’.

In 1982 creator Jacques Morali convinced Willis to return to the group for the ‘Fox On The Box’ album. By then the Village People were out of fashion, the album was not released in the USA and stiffed in other territories. Willis left for good at that point, refusing to sing the songs, and has not returned … until now.

In 2012 legal action started in the Southern District of California to give Willis rights to 13 songs he co-wrote for the Village People. Initially that gave Victor a 33% share of the copyrights along with Jacques Morali and Henri Belolo but in 2015 it was ruled Belolo did not contribute and was removed from the credits, giving Willis a 50% share of the songs.

Since 1995 the touring Village People has been with Felipe, Ray, Alex and Eric.

Yesterday the shit hit the fan.

The post at the Official Village People Facebook page reads, “WE LOVE OUR AUSTRALIAN FANS so we want all of you to know that we are not the ones performing at the shows currently being advertised for Australia in December 2017. There will be NO Alex, NO Bill, NO Eric, NO Felipe, NO Jim, NO Ray on this tour”.

Willis responded with a pissed off post saying, “To Village People fans: It seems the Ex-Village Village People members are lashing out again. This time they’re falsely claiming that promoters are using the Ex-Village People members’ photo to promote the Village People featuring Victor Willis, Australian tour. They are delusional because of the following:

“Every major media outlet in Australia (print and television) has widely reported and continues to report that this tour marks the return of original lead singer Victor Willis at the helm. And that he is rebooting Village People and will soon announce the lineup joining him for this tour. So it’s laughable that these former members of Village People would think that just because an old photo of them is in various systems there, as a point of reference, promoters would have a need to display their unrecognizable faces to promote Village People featuring Victor Willis. It’s outright laughable! Especially, since promoters have a far greater promotional tool (and they are using it); the return of Victor Willis as lead singer of Village People and a revamp of the group. There was a single on-line site in Australia that still had the former group’s photo in their system. But let’s be clear, the old group was never the original Village People. But if you live a lie long enough, you can convince many in the public start believing it. We’re informed that the old photo of the ex-group is being purged and switched out with Village People featuring Victor Willis. So, dream on Ex-Village People members. And you’re darn right you’re not going to be in Australia as it is being widely reported in the media that you’re not going to be there because Victor’s back with new members. The original Village People concept is any 5 characters behind the powerful voice of Victor Willis. That’s the real Village People. We have chosen to return to that concept in efforts to breathe new life into the group with Victor once again at the helm. Therefore, the ex-members must now move on with their lives the way Victor was forced to do years ago. They had a great run”.

The current bickering comes as Willis’ incarnation of The Village People has been announced to tour Australia for A Day On The Green in December.

His Australian dates will come just six months after the Official Village People toured the country.

The pissing contest is confusing fans with angry comments in favour of the official Village People on their Facebook page and all the pro-“Victor People” comments flowing on Victor’s page.