Randy Jones, The Village People

On December 20, 2007, by AMI Staff

One of the most beloved entertainers and pop icons from the Disco era, multi-platinum recording artist and American Music Award winner Randy Jones is best known as the cowboy in Village People.

Renowned entertainment writer Liz Smith’s choice of all the Village People to achieve individual fame, lately Jones’ profile has been elevated due his role narrating the award-winning documentary “When Ocean Meets Sky,” and his feature interviews in documentaries “The Godfather of Disco,” and VH-1′s, “NY77: The Coolest Year in Hell”.

Also a favorite feature on VH-1′s Best Week Ever, MTV and E!, Jones keeps up a very busy pace, making personal appearances in venues like Trump’s Atlantic City Taj Mahal, the 2005 Presidential Inaugural Ball, serving as a fixture at Kentucky Derby events, and most recently, his ongoing 2007-2008 “Ticket to the World” international concert tour.

In spite of his frenetic schedule, Jones found time to sit down with the morons of the American Mustache Institute.

Q: What was it like being a founding member of arguably one of the most famous acts in the history of American Music?

Randy Jones A: Being a founding member and the original cowboy of Village People was a great experience and a fantastic opportunity. We worked very hard those first four years to make an indelible impression not only on pop music but on pop culture itself. We were successful, if I do say so myself. There aren’t many hours of the day that one of our songs isn’t heard somewhere on this planet. At a Yankee’s game this past summer, I experienced the seventh inning stretch where they play “YMCA” at every home game. Seeing Yankee Stadium filled to capacity with 58,000 people all standing while doing those letters with their hands with me on those Jumbotron screens was a rather awesome experience. That has to figure right up there on the list with my solo performance for a president at a Presidential Inaugural Ball and for the Queen (of England) at a command performance. I’m not sure I would have had those recent opportunities had I not been a founding member of Village People.

Q: Do you miss the days when the Village People were at their peak of fame?
A: Not at all. Don’t get me wrong, those were some heady days for sure, but I’m not the type of guy that wants to do much back pedaling. That period was loads of fun, with tons of opportunities, but I’ve been exceedingly fortunate to have been part of something that has continued to provide me with a consistent and really great career. Not only with an abundance of opportunities to perform, but the luxury of choice.

Q: More importantly, do you miss the days when you could score pretty much any drug you wanted for free?
A: Not so much at this point in life. The recovery time just ain’t worth it.

Q: You, of course, are known as the “Cowboy.” But before you started in the group, had you ever worn a cowboy hat and how often do you wear it today?
A: I’m from North Carolina and spent a lot of time working on a family farm, so I’ve always been completely comfortable in boots, jeans and hat. In fact, that’s what I had on the first time I ever met the VP (Village People) producers when they asked me to help create the group. And today I wear it whenever I want – especially after the check has cleared.

Q: Do you ever get tired as being known as “The cowboy from The Village People” and simply want to be known as Randy Jones, all around delicious guy?
A: Nope, I never get tired of any of it. I’m so very glad that I still get invited to the party. As long as they don’t call me ‘Randy Johnson.’ Besides, it’s a great legacy to have – one that leaves everyone with a smile on their face. And thanks for the tasty compliment!

Q: What did you think of “Brokeback Mountain?”
A: It is an incredibly sensitive film. Ang Lee is a really talented and courageous director. And what with all the middle of the night phone calls that I received from Jake and Heath during filming, I should have gotten a credit as a technical advisor.

Q: What’s happened to the mustache? It has clearly fallen out of favor since the early 1980s. Was it the mustache’s association with all things 1970s – like disco, perms and turtlenecks – and the backlash against those things as we entered the 1980s?
A: You got me on that one. As I travel around as well and here in Manhattan, I seem to see a real resurgence in facial hair. Maybe there’s something to it after all.

Q: Was there an organized right-wing conspiracy against both Bill Clinton and the mustache?
A: Definitely, at least according to Hillary.

Q: But let’s be honest. You’re someone who’s kept your lip hair for all of these years. How can you be so brave?
A: I guess it must be because I’ve just got a big set of ‘em! It’s easy to be brave. Hey after all, I’m the guy who sings songs like “Macho Man,” “In the Navy,” and “YMCA.” One has to have balls to do all that. Besides, I like my mustache, so I’ve kept it since 1973.

Q: Important question – at least to the American Mustache Institute. Who’s sexier: Tom Selleck or Burt Reynolds?
A: That’s a call for the ladies. I know Tom’s got the height on him, but he may not even have the moustache anymore. And Burt doesn’t look too much like Burt anymore.

Q: As the 1970′s came to a close and the “Disco Sucks” movement came about, was that personally hurtful to you?
A: Not really. I didn’t take it personally. It really began from that DJ in the Midwest who needed to rail against something and he tapped into a homophobic vibe that he recognized. Nothing really changed. They just changed the name from ‘disco’ to ‘dance’ music and the beat played on. Truth be known, it continues to this day.

Q: Tell us about your new album, “Ticket to the World”?
A: My latest CD is titled “Ticket to the World” and appropriately so. Since June, besides going from coast to coast here in the US, I’ve traveled to Australia, Asia, Latin America and Europe doing appearances and concerts to promote it. It’s my own individual take on a rather eclectic pop collection of tunes. We’ve gathered a wide range of material by some of the best pop writers in the business including Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jim Steinman, Depeche Mode, Robbie Williams & Kylie Minogue, the Pet Shop Boys, Neil Diamond and even a gem by the Bee Gees. My producer is the great Frosty Lawson with Will Grega as my executive producer. An entire CD of remixes, “Ticket to the Remix,” is due for release in Spring of 2008.

Q: What’s next on the career horizon for Randy Jones?
A: I’m currently in New York working on a new film, “The Gentleman,” to be released later in 2008. I’m working on a book to come out June 2008. It’s about my perspective on pop culture of the 20th century, particularly the last fifty years … I’m doing personal appearances … I have concert dates all over the place in support of “Ticket to the World” booked thru 2008.

Q: Last question: Who is a more talented actor – Mr. T or the late Herve Villechaize?
A: Well, that’s a tough one. I worked with Herve on “Fantasy Island” and he was a rough lil’ rascal, but Mr. T is still around and might try to kick my ass if I put him in second place, so I’m gonna declare it a draw if that’s alright. I definitely don’t like to get into no scuffles ’cause I still got some things left to do.

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