Village People headline Retro Rock on the Fox
By Randall G. Mielke For Sun-Times Media July 12, 2012 3:48PM
The Village People, including Eric Anzalone (left), Alexander Briley, Felipe Rose, David hodo, Ray Simpson and Jeff Olson will appear this summer of the City of Aurora's Downtown Alive series.
♦ 8:45 p.m. July 14
♦ Retro Rock on the Fox — North River Street Park at New York and River streets, Aurora
♦ Tickets, $5
♦ (630) 896-6666
Retro Rock on the Fox
Hey Jimmy 2:30 p.m.
ARRA 4:30 p.m.
Chasing the Day 6:30 p.m.
Village People 8:45 p.m.
Bring a lawn chair. No reserved seating.
The $5 entrance fee covers entry for the day and provides a wristband that allows the consumption of alcohol for those over 21 years of age.
Updated: July 12, 2012 3:48PM
David Hodo, who performs as the Construction Worker in the iconic dance/disco group Village People, believes that the six-man ensemble is an exception to traditional show business success.
“Our group was supposed to have the longevity of about four years because we were a novelty act,” said Hodo, who will perform with Village People on July 14 at Retro Rock on the Fox in Aurora, part of the City of Aurora’s Downtown Alive! festival series. “We went 31 years longer than anyone predicted. I’ve always said, ‘If you’re gonna be a flash in the pan, be sure you are the one that burns the kitchen down.’”
Village People began in 1977 in New York City, the creation of Jacques Morali, a French musical composer. The ensemble is well known for their on-stage costumes depicting American cultural stereotypes, as well as the catchy tunes they perform.
Village People have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide and their hits include: “San Francisco/In Hollywood,” “Macho Man,” “In the Navy,” “Go West,” “Can’t Stop the Music” and the group’s biggest hit, “Y.M.C.A.”
“‘Y.M.C.A.’ was the third song that we recorded,” Hodo said. “It came out in 1978 and hit big in ‘79 during the disco craze. I remember we were rehearsing it in the studio and I knew that there was never anything like it. So I thought it would be a big hit or the biggest flop ever recorded.”
It turned out to be a big hit.
“It’s such a blessing to bring joy to millions of people around the world,” said Hodo of the group. “The song ‘Y.M.C.A.’ is known internationally. We do it at the end of each show. Throughout the show people are chomping at the bit to do it.”
In addition to Hodo, who is an original member of the group, Village People consists of original members Alexander Briley (G.I./Military) and Felipe Rose (Native American Indian). Ray Simpson (Cop) has been performing with Village People since 1979. Jeff Olson (Cowboy) joined in 1980 and Eric Anzalone (Biker) became part of the group in 1995.
“Morali had the concept,” said Hodo of the group’s early days. “He had a couple of singers already. I responded to an ad in the newspapers.
“The costumes were assigned to us,” he continued. “I thought I’d be the cowboy. I had just finished doing a musical about the Grand Ole Opry and I had a mustache. I had just finished playing a cowboy, so I was a little disappointed when they wanted me to be the construction worker. But it worked out O.K. With my costume, you just have to throw it in the washer and dryer. Some of the other costumes have to be cleaned more carefully.”
Hodo believes the group’s success is due primarily to the six members enjoying themselves on stage.
“Someone once called us the ‘Clown Princes of Disco’ and I’m O.K. with that,” he said. “It’s true. We’re hanging out and having fun and making the crowd laugh.”