Village People still boogying

BRIDGET JONES
Last updated 12:39 22/11/2012
The Village People
NZ TOUR: After 35 years, The Village People are still going strong.

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Every day is Halloween for Village People, according to Alexander Briley. After spending 35 years dressed as "the G.I.", he knows better than anyone.

The disco legends might have released their last album in 1985, but that hasn't stopped them taking hits like Y.M.C.A and In The Navy around the world in the years since, and now they're coming to New Zealand.

Briley, one of the group's two original members, said even after 27 years the crowds still flock to their shows - often taking it upon themselves to dress for the occasion.

"We've always had a cross section of people come see us. People dressed in leather, in police outfits, as cowboys complete with guns. We are glad to see that, to see people have fun.

"We are just like Halloween every day, getting to dress up. Although we don't walk down the street in costume."

The six-piece was the creation of Jacques Morali, a French musical composer who wanted to create a group. He advertised for members using the tag line: "Macho Types Wanted: Must Dance And Have A Moustache".

From there, the rise to the top of the charts was quick - the group's first tour was 56 cities in 64 days.

Three decades on, things have slowed down a little for the six-piece; they played around 70 shows last year. But Briley said they are still able to draw a crowd.

"It's nice to be able to say that. In this business, which is so youth orientated, with a lot of young, beautiful, wonderful artists out there, but they still want to hear our songs."

The 65-year-old puts the music's longevity down to its versatility.

"They are just energetic and fun songs that you could hear in an aerobics class, the shopping malls, or on the radio sometimes.

"Sometimes we will get on a plane and look at each other and say 'that song sounds awfully familiar' and then you realise it's one of ours."

Of course, Briley said the "anti-disco" movement of the late 1970s did affect the band, but they never really stopped entertaining their audiences, who are getting younger and younger.

"Even when there was that movement of people who didn't like disco, who thought it was over, they had had enough, we still continued to work, people still wanted to hear our music.

"All those people who grew up with us, they are grandmothers and grandfathers now and their grandchildren say to them 'what is this music? Who is this group? Why is there an Indian?' and they listen to the music and they like it."

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And Briley can't see the group hanging up their costumes any time soon.

"As long as they want to hear YMCA, as long as there are four or five people, we will definitely try and get out there and do what we can."

FULL TOUR DATES

November 29 - Town Hall, Wellington
November 30 - TSB Stadium, New Plymouth
December 1 - Town Hall, Auckland
December 2 - Ascension Wine Estate, Auckland

- Auckland Now

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