I hope you enjoy the following interview
with one of the nicest people in the business...
The one and only RANDY JONES
Globe: What year did
you arrive in NYC?
Randy Jones: I
got to NYC in August of
1975, after finishing college and doing a couple tours of "Carousel"
and "Funny Girl" with Carol Lawrence.
Globe: Had you had any
formal training in Theater and Voice in North Carolina?
Uh, yeah. I got a degree from
UNC-Chapel Hill in Theatre, Film/TV, and Communications, where I did
about twenty musicals. Then I degreed at University of North Carolina
School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. There I studied Dance and
Choreography. Also there I connected with the great American
Choreographer, Agnes De Mille, and performed with her company, the
American Heritage Dance Theatre. I also performed with the dance
companies of Pauline Koner, Anna Sokolow, Paul Taylor, etc. So I was
definitely prepared to deal with the jokers in Village People.
Globe: What were you
doing prior to joining The Village People?
Well, in addition to what I
was telling you about, after I got to NYC, I found gigs doing a lot of
runway and photo modelling. It seemed that quite a few designers from
the period liked how I looked. There were some wonderful gals from that
period like Janice Dickinson, Jerry Hall, Iman, etc. They were like
original "Girls Gone Wild." I love 'em. We burned up the runways from
NYC to London to Milan to Paris and back! Grace Jones was one of the
leaders of that pack. So when she got her record deal in 76-77 for her
first LP, "Portfolio," I was one of the two guys that appeared on stage
with her and helped to create that early show. Her show was really one
of the first, if not the first, to go out into the venues (discos) and
present a live-to-track performance. It was a blast!
behind the Village People was Jacques Morali. He had heard Victor
Willis, and they recorded a CD that got attention. Can you tell us how
you became involved with the group?
While performing with Grace, producers Henri Belolo and Jacques Morali
saw me at our Billboard Dance Forum show in 1977. After the
they approached me and said they enjoyed the show, liked my movement,
the way I looked, and commented on my mustache...which I thought was a
bit odd, but accepted the compliment. They asked if I could sing. I
said, "Yes!" They asked me if I wanted to be in a musical group they
were formulating. We set up a meeting, in daylight hours, and we
it was a match and a good thing. The rest is history that you can read
about in my new book, MachoMan,
published by Praeger/Greenwood.
Globe: You had one hit
song after another.. Who wrote the lyrics and music? Whomever it was
must be swimming in money... Your music is everywhere - sports events,
TV, film, radio, rock shows, raves, 70's & 80's parties, and
even in elevators...
Several people have been
involved in writing Village People songs. Henri Belolo is involved with
every song, I believe, as a participating lyricist. And you are right,
the benefits from our material has been bountiful. Like clockwork, a
check arrives in the mail every six months, since 1977. Ka-ching!
Punk Globe: Was "Macho
Man" your first radio hit?
Yes, indeed, you are right about that one.
I was much more into The Clash, Sex Pistols and Ramones, I did really
like the YMCA... What were your audiences like back then?
Our audiences were as varied
as one can imagine. We would be on stage and see a myriad of different
socio-economic groupings out there. For example, in 1978 we played a
huge concert -- Canada Jam. 250,000 people outdoors near Peterborough,
Ontario. Every type of individual was represented.
Globe: Did you ever
perform with Blondie who also had some disco hits back then?
We did several shows in Europe with Debra and the gang. I certainly
remember a few of the television programs like "Musik Laden"
(Germany), "Rock Planet" (Netherlands), and "Applauso!" (Spain).
Globe: Do you
perhaps remember our first meeting? It at The Tropicana Motel in
Hollywood. We were sitting in "Dukes" at a table drinking some STRONG
coffee. There was a groupie girl sitting at the one of the tables who
was claiming she had just wild sex with the Construction Worker. I
remember having a "lude" hangover...But woke up fast when I heard her
.. I wanted details... Everyone was asking her questions. If memory
serves right, Tom Waits was sitting with us.
Yes, I think I do. And yes, you were suffering a bit. I'm not sure
about that gal's claim though. Is Duke's still there? That was always a
great place and you could count on getting food and sobering up there.
Globe: Did one of the
members of the group pass away from lung cancer?
Yes, Glenn Hughes, the biker.
Globe: What were your
thoughts when disco dva Donna Summers made her very ignorant remarks
regarding AIDS back then?
know Donna and I think that her remarks were misinterpreted. She's a
great gal, full of love, and respects everyone.
Globe: How about a fun
question! Tell us what it was like being on the cover of the Rolling Stone..
A freakin' blast. It's still one of those benchmarks that I feel is
representative of a fully enriched career. I mean, when you start to
stack it all up, it gets impressive. In my career before, with and
since Village People, Rolling
Stone cover, American Music Award,
multi-Platinum status (100 million units!!!), Royal Command
performances, Presidential Inaugural performance, countless television
appearances worldwide, films, NYC and touring shows like "Joseph and
Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "Chicago," etc. Sometimes, I
to stand back and take a moment to just catch my breath.
we can't forget the madness with "Can't Stop The Music" that Nancy
(Mary Tyler Moore - Rhoda Morgenstern's Mother - Ida) directed,
starring The Village People, Valerie Perrine, Bruce Jenner, Steve
Guttenberg, and although she was an extra....she shined bright --
Francisco's own Kathy Peck, the founder of H.E.A.R. and bass player for
Tell us all about doing the movie and working with
the wonderful Nancy Walker?
"CSTM" was a great experience for me and Nancy became a fast friend and
was extremely helpful to me. It was large chunk of time, nearly two
years, with the pre-production, rehearsal, filming, and promotion, so
it's important. But once again, there are lots of details about in my
Globe: Did Nancy ever
talk about her friendship with James Dean and Bea Arthur?
I didn't really hear much on them, but Rock Hudson was a great pal of
hers and thru her I got to know him. He was a terrific person.
Carr was one the writers. Did he produce it as well?
Randy Jones: Allan was the lead producer on
"CSTM." He was definitely the "Grand Poobah". Or as he was frequently
referred to as: "Caftans Courageous!"
Punk Globe: The
premise of the movie was somewhat autobiographical to that of The
Village People, am I right?
It was definitely a "Hollywood-ized" version of our story. "CSTM" was
done in the over the top, stylized camp way that so many of the MGM
musicals of the Golden Age of Hollywood were done. That was the
objective. Of course, I think I'm the only Village Person to actually
live in the Village. I've been living in NYC's Village since 1975. So
that was certainly true of me. Now, Mandalay Films is interested in
doing a new film about our careers. So that's gonna be quite
interesting with the perspective of time.
after the movie was released you left the group right? I do remember
seeing the Village People on "The Love Boat" -- were you still with
for that? Was Andy Warhol on that cruise also?
Of course I did "The LOVE BOAT." A couple of times. I left the group in
1981, because I disagreed with the direction the group wanted to take
after leaving Casablance Records and going to RCA. The other guys
wanted to toss away the images of the cowboy, soldier, biker, etc., in
favor of some melange of Steve Strange, Adam Ant, etc. I thought was
disloyal to our fan base, and so I took my leave. I was right -- the
album tanked and the group slowly fizzled. I went ahead with a solo
career and did a couple of projects, including some LPs and a tour of
"Meet Me in St. Louis" with Cathy Rigby. My friend Dan Hartman was
pitching a song for one of the "ROCKY" movies, and he said he wanted me
to help him make it sound like a Village People song. So we went up to
his place in Connecticut and worked on the track, putting in trademark
vocals, hand claps, etc...and
low and behold came up with "Living in
America"! If you close your eyes and listen to that song today, it
like James Brown singing a Village People song! Well, after that
experience, combined with the other music I was hearing on the radio in
1986, I thought, "Hmmmm...I wonder if it's time to regroup...I wonder
what the other guys look like...so I had a big b'day party in NYC and
invited the other members of VP to attend...so I got a look up close.
And everyone was fine.So I found a manager,
David Fishoff; an agent,
TCI; and got the rights to use the name from Henri Belolo and
re-organized the group with all the original members, except we
couldn't find Victor; so Ray Simpson came back in. And it just took off
again. It was a long hard road to get it up to steam again, but in the
long run, my idea to re-group, has proven successful. Although I don't
currently perform with the entity known as VP today, I left to pursue
my solo career and concentrate on my 25-year relationship, the brand
"Village People" still pumps out a good 50-60 shows a year and does a
lot to keep the brand alive and generates sales and interest in Village
People merchandise. I'm very proud that the group has continued in
various incarnations for nearly thirty-two years. And I had something
to do with
Globe: All work you
have done in Theater is amazing. What is your favorite role that you
have done so far ?
I love 'em all. "Chicago"
and "42nd St." are certainly fun. I love doing 'King Arthur' in
"Camelot." Recently I've done "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor
Dreamcoat" at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, which was a real trip. I'm
looking forward to doing 'Wilbur Turnblad' in "Hairspray" later this
year. You can also catch me in several films -- "Three Long Years," "A
Tale About Bootlegging,"
"Against the Wind" (I play the U.S. President).
I'm featured on "Flight of the Conchords"' 2009 season on HBO. And in
2010, I'm doing my first video game, "POSTAL 3.27."
Globe: Now I heard a
rumor that your voice was used to sing the vocals for Greg Brady on a
punk version of 'A Time To Change" for "The Brady Bunch Movie?"
Not true...I don't know where a lot of this stuff comes from. But I
have my suspicions.
Globe: And how about
you and VH1? Everytime I turn it on I see you.. When will we see you on
a reality show?
My management and I have come close to making deals on a couple of
reality projects. It has to be the right choice. But even "Dancing with
the Stars" seems to becoming a dangerous venture now!
remember when I saw you at that birthday party at The Copa.. You wowed
us all with your fun energetic performance.. All the other performances
were a bit stiff! I was so excited when I saw you.. I had told Michael
Musto the tale from The Tropicana. So he immediately re-introduced us..
I remember being in line with Joy Behar for food.. or was that DRINKS?
Randy Jones: I
would say BOTH!
Globe: Tell us about
your most recent CD, "Ticket To The World." How many tracks
are on it and where did you record it?
I thinking there are fourteen tracks. We did it here in NYC. The
producer is Will Grega and it was produced by Frosty Lawson. This year
we're releasing several new remixes of "If I Can't Have You,""New York
City Boy," "Your Disco Needs You,"
"No Matter What" and "Rhinestone
Cowboy"! Look for 'em!
Globe: Where can
readers order "TICKET TO THE WORLD?"
Go to Amazon.com, or
Globe: You have
maintained your career so well. Is there any thing that you have not
done that you want to do?
I'm just always looking for projects that interest me, excite me and
allow for travel. I've been extremely blessed to have a career that is
lucrative and continued to provide me with security and very nice
Globe: Can you give us
your MySpace, Facebook and website addresses so readers can check you
out, order your latest CD and just say, "Hi?"
Very cool. Here they are: www.RandyJonesWorld.com
To order Macho Man, go to Amazon -- the full link is:
If someone should want a signed copy of "Ticket to the World" or Macho
Man, they should write to me here: Randy Jones, Pop Front Productions,
200 East 10th Street, New York, NY 10003 USA.
Globe: The Village
People recently got a Star on Hollywood Boulevard..but why were you
were not able to attend the ceremonies?
I was shooting the photographs for the 35th Anniversary Edition of
Magazine. It was a reunion interview and photos. The first
time I appeared in the magazine was 1979. The photos are great. You
should check 'em out.
Globe: I know you just
got back from Disney World.. Was Susan Lucci also performing there?
Randy Jones: I
did not see Susan there. I did, however, enjoy Mickey, Minnie, Goofy,
Donald and Chip'N'Dale.
Globe: Tell us about
Randy Jones: My
book Macho Man
is about the Disco era, and all of the significant social changes that
occurred in that period against the background of the music. It's an
What is in on the future for
Randy Jones? Any tours, movies, recording projects, personal
I'm finishing "Against the Wind". I'm in NYC right now doing two new
tracks for my new CD to be released next winter. I'm heading down south
next week to do several gigs and then take some time at our place on
the North Carolina Coast. Then I'm out to Chicago to shoot a new film,
"My Guaranteed Student Loan" by the Warr Bros. Then I'm off to Europe
for a few dates. I'm back in the States in late May for the opening of
film I'm in with Charles Durning, Michael Boatman, Blanche Baker and
Wilson Jermaine Heredia, "The Three Chrises," at the Hoboken
International Film Festival. It just goes on. So stay on the lookout
for me, you never know when I may show up in your area.
YOU are Thee Most Beloved Cowboy of all time.. Fuck John Wayne .. We
have and want RANDY JONES! You do know that you are competing against
Wendy Kaufman as the NICEST person on Facebook.. All of us here at Punk
Globe love you and we want YOU to gave the readers some words of wisdom
Ginger, you are the best. You know how much I love you, honey. You and
have a great time when we're out in Hollywood together. We burn a wide
path thru that town, don't we? And we sure know where to get the best
LONG ISLAND ICED TEAS! I can't wait to get back out there. Hopefully,
either this summer or September to have an event, and gig so we can
hang. Give love to Holly, Cherry, etc.
Love you and keep up the great
work. Randy Jones LISTEN TO SONGS and WATCH THE VIDEO from my new CD,
"Ticket to the World," at: http://www.myspace.com/randyjonesworld.
"I protect my right to be a Catholic by preserving your right to
as a Jew, a Protestant, or non-believer, or as anything else you
We know that the price of seeking to force our beliefs on others is
they might some day force theirs on us." -Mario Cuomo, 52nd Governor of
New York (b. 1932)
UPDATE: Randy Jones has been keeping as busy as ever.. He was in Los Angeles, CA
talking with the producers of "Dancing With The Stars" about appearing on the show.
His good friend and writing collaborator Mark Bego threw him a fantastic party at Nic's Martini Lounge in Beverly Hills, California.. They have a freezer where customers can go into to drink a frozen Martini.. Folks like Roddy and Susan Novotny, Kim and Joe Dallesandro, Ginger Coyote, Timm Carney, Michael Frost, Sergio Kardona, Kenneth Reynolds, Karen Furno, Roger Ferrin and Jared Mitchell all helped make it a party not to forget!