Victor Willis, the former cop and lead singer in the campy 1970s group Village People, reportedly plans to sue the Tampa Bay Rays within the next 30 days for misappropriating his voice and image. Willis left the group in 1984 and reportedly still earns $1 million per year (!) on the royalties alone from their hit song “YMCA.” But he’s not a member of the band’s current incarnation, and he said it was disingenuous for the Rays to promote a postgame concert last August of the current Village People using a clip of him singing their staple song.
“His voice is very distinctive. People know that song,” said Linda Smythe, Willis’ publicist. “They get excited, thinking he is going to be there.”
Oh, yeah, they circle the date. The current Village People group includes three original members: the Indian, the Soldier and the Construction Worker. The Cop, Biker and Cowboy are new. But you probably already knew that.
In Willis’ defense, he’s not asking for financial restitution. He merely wants the Rays to apologize and to promise that it never happens again.