Victor Willis, Village People


Can't stop the music, eh? Well, the original Macho Man is trying to block a wannabe from playing the Y.M.C.A., or at least some other venues.

Victor Willis, the founding cop and former lead singer of the Village People, has filed a lawsuit against his old bandmates for allegedly using his likeness and voice to market a new spin on '70s disco kings.

The suit, filed in San Diego last week, claimed several companies—among them Sixuvus Ltd., a New York-based promoter that manages an updated version of the Village People; Can't Stop Productions, which controls the group's trademark, and the William Morris Agency—capitalized on Willis' universally recognizable voice and image in various promotions for the band's latest incarnation without his permission.

Other defendants include various venues where the band has performed.

The 57-year-old vocalist, whose post-People career has seen him struggling with substance abuse and health issues, is seeking $1 million in damages and an injunction seeking to block the future use of his image and voice to promote the band.

Willis, the only straight member in the campy, costumed outfit, cowrote and sang some of group's best known hits, including "Y.M.C.A.," "In The Navy," "Macho Man" and "Go West." (Bonus trivia: He was also at one time married to Phylicia Rashad, Bill Cosby's TV wife on The Cosby Show.)

He quit the band in 1980, following the disastrous Village People-fronted movie, Can't Stop the Music.


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