Kings of Disco cancel Village People concert at Scranton Cultural Center
From a press release:
A concert by the Kings of Disco – a musical group featuring original and longtime members of the Village People – that was originally scheduled for Friday, June 21 at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple has been canceled.
The Scranton Cultural Center said the show “featuring Ray Simpson, Alex Briley, Eric Anzalone, Bill Whitefield, Jim Newman, and Andrew Pacho has been canceled due to circumstances beyond our control. Refunds are available at the original point of purchase.” For questions regarding purchases through ticketmaster.com, call 1-800-745-3000. For all other inquiries, contact the box office at 570-344-1111.
While the reason for the cancellation wasn’t made clear, it’s no secret that the Village People lineup has changed frequently over the years and some members just can’t seem to get along. Following years of legal battles over the name, rights to their music, royalties, and songwriting credits, the touring group now known as the Kings of Disco was forced to relinquish the name “Village People” in 2017 to the original lead singer from 1977-1979, Victor Willis, who subsequently toured with a new group of background singers.
Even the press image above used to promote the Scranton concert and other upcoming appearances has caused tension, as it is outdated and features former members like Felipe Rose, who posted an article promoting the show on his Facebook fan page yesterday with the comment, “One would think that after 2 years since I left the group and my picture is still being used. Breathe! This too shall pass…” Rose is currently a solo artist, but the photo is still on the Kings of Disco page and upcoming Facebook event pages.
With hits songs like “Y.M.C.A.,” “In the Navy,” “Macho Man,” “San Francisco,” and “Go West” in late 1970s, the Village People became the most successful disco band of all time.
When the two French producers, Jaques Morali and Henri Belolo, took a stroll through Greenwich Village in 1977, Felipe Rose suddenly danced past them wearing traditional Native American clothing. This was the moment the idea to found a band that embodied the typical American macho was born. Alex Briley, the group’s only G.I./soldier, was part of the band from day one. With “Can’t Stop the Music,” the semi-biographic film adaptation of the band’s history, Ray Simpson joined the band in 1979. He took over the part as lead singer/policeman when the band co-starred next to film stars like Steve Guttenberg, Valerie Perrine, and Bruce Jenner.
It was not long before their international breakthrough, and the Village People set entirely new nightlife standards. Not only did their catchy tunes take audiences by storm, but their stage performances with stunning choreography and dazzling costumes have attained cult status today. With more than 65 million albums sold by the 1980s, fans still listen to the Village People today, and their worldwide reputation was carved in stone on the Walk of Fame in Los Angeles in 2008.
After the death of the biker Glenn Hughes (1995), Eric Anzalone took over his part. In 2013, Bill Whitefield assumed the role of David Hodo as construction worker, while Jim Newman has been the cowboy ever since.
Many fans love the Village People for their importance as a revolutionary act. With loud colors, ingenious songs, and barnstorming shows, they fought for sexual liberation, individuality, tolerance, and personal rights. Singing and dancing with frenetic masculine power, the Native American, soldier, policeman, biker, construction worker, and cowboy have been winning the hearts of all those who love to party without care and those who like crossing boundaries.
When the “Village People” moniker was given to Willis in 2017, the current lineup of the group became the “Kings of Disco,” a title taken from a description in Rolling Stone magazine. It currently consists of Alex Briley as the soldier (original), Ray Simpson as the cop (joined 1979), Eric Anzalone as the biker (joined 1995), Jim Newman as the cowboy (joined 2013), Bill Whitefield as the construction worker (joined 2013), and Pacho Andrews as the Native American (joined in 2013).