Former Village People frontman and songwriter Victor Willis (seen here during a 2006 drug arrest) is planning a tell-all book about his days with the legendary disco group. Willis, who left the group in 1980, begins his musical comeback attempt on August 31 in Las Vegas, with a worldwide tour to follow the launch of his autobiography in 2008.
Willis, who is straight, left Village People claiming to be upset over the public’s misconstruing of his songs like YMCA – which Willis says was written with no homosexual subtext intended. In fact, Willis claims all of the songs he wrote, such as In The Navy and Go West, were meant to be taken with absolutely no gay meaning.
Totally not gay lyrics:
Young man, there’s a place you can go.
I said, young man, when you’re short on your dough.
You can stay there, and I’m sure you will find
Many ways to have a good time.
Many ways to have a good time, such as “hanging out with all the boys.” After all, they have “everything that you need to enjoy.” Nope, not gay at all.
Afraid the group was doomed as a gay niche act, Willis quit. After leaving the group (effectively ending their string of hits), Willis refused to perform publicly again and his life spiraled into a 25-year cycle of drug abuse and numerous arrests. In 2005, while a fugitive evading drug charges, he was featured on America’s Most Wanted. Despite this, he remains the wealthiest of the original members, thanks to lucrative publishing royalties.
TRIVIA: The first Village People album was recorded using Willis and professional background singers. Producer Jacques Morali then built the Village People group concept around Willis, hiring the other five members for the second album, Macho Man. During this period, Willis was married to The Cosby Show’s Phylicia Rashad, who was attempting a disco career of her own.