Young man, come meet the freshly reupholstered Village People.
Original vocalist Victor Willis has corralled a brand new line-up for the band after years of being wrapped in red tape and various lawsuits over rights to the iconic band’s hit songs. Those lawsuits are all settled now, but Willis is not: He’s ready to take the Village People on the road again.
One notable new addition to the colossally camp antics: James Kwong, a 6’2″ Chinese model and actor, will be stepping into the construction worker’s work boots to save the world with stirring renditions of “YMCA” and “Go West.”
The new incarnation of the Village People will tour the world next year.
Willis fled from the band in 1979 and says he’s watched in abject horror as a so-called “karaoke” version of The Village People toured the universe, occasionally singing over prerecorded backing tapes and leaving a trail of disappointment and abandoned feathers in their wake.
“I felt the former touring version of the group … looked old and tired,” he says.
“A revamp or repositioning of the group was required to bring it back into the mainstream. The addition of an Asian American for the first time in the group’s history is part of that reposition.”
Kwong announced the news on Instagram, saying:
“Hi! My name is James Kwong and for those of you who don’t know me I’m an actor here in Los Angeles, California and I have officially just been announced as the new hot asian construction worker in The Village People by TMZ. I am the first Asian-American who has ever been in The Village People so this should be exciting. Our first show will be September 26 at the Streamy Awards here in Los Angeles, California followed by another show in October in Vegas. We will be starting our tour in Australia in December and I will be documenting a lot of this stuff. I hope you join me for the ride.”
The latest lineup is a hodgepodge of gay and straight members, and Willis says that’s “always been the case with the Village People.”
This freshly cobbled-together iteration of the band includes Willis as lead singer (cop/admiral), Josh Cartier as the spunky leatherman, Edward Lopes as “GI,” Chad Freeman as “The Cowboy,” Angel Morales as “The Native American,” and Kwong as “The Construction Worker.”
Let’s go ahead and get acquainted with Kwong immediately: