Redbone (band)

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Redbone in 1971
Background information
Origin Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres Rock, R&B, Cajun, funk
Years active 1969–1977, 1997-present
Labels Epic Records
Associated acts Pat and Lolly Vegas
Tony Bellamy
Danny Spanos

Pat Vegas
Fernando Verdialez
Vini Mars
Carlos Perez
Lee Wilson

Harlan Spector
Past members Lolly Vegas
Tony Bellamy
Peter DePoe
Robert Howard
Arturo Perez
George Spanos
Butch Rillera
Jack White
Aloisio Aguiar
Eddie Summers
Joe Gonzales
Garrett Saracho
Raven Hernandez
Robert Lame Bull McDonald

Redbone is a Native American/Mexican American rock group that was mostly active in the 1970s. They reached the Top 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1974 with the million-selling gold-certified single, "Come and Get Your Love", and achieved minor hits with "The Witch Queen of New Orleans" and "Maggie". They were the first Native American rock group to have a #1 single in the US and overseas.[1]


Originally born in Coalinga, California near Fresno, brothers Patrick (bass and vocals) and Candido "Lolly" Vasquez-Vegas (guitar and vocals) moved to Los Angeles in 1969 to form the group Redbone with mere cents in their pockets due to Pat winning one of the first singing competitions held by Coca-Cola.[citation needed] He won a recording contract and travel to create a career which he then put off to move to Los Angeles with his brother Lolly. They began playing local shows on Hollywood and Sunset Blvd, at local clubs like Gazzari's, as well as playing guitar and bass on legendary records from Elvis Presley, Tina Turner, Sonny & Cher, plus many more.

The name Redbone itself is a Cajun term for a mixed-race person ("half-breed"), the band's members being of mixed blood ancestry.[1] The band referenced Cajun and New Orleans culture many times in their lyrics and performing style. Patrick and Lolly Vasquez - Vegas were a mixture of Yaqui, Shoshone Native American and Mexican heritage.[2] The brothers began by performing and recording surf music as the Vegas Brothers, "because their agent told them that the world was not yet ready to embrace a duo of Mexican musicians playing surfing music".[3] First as the Vegas Brothers (Pat and Lolly Vegas), then later as the Crazy Cajun Cakewalk Band, they performed throughout the 1960s at venues on the Las Vegas Strip and appeared on Shindig![4][5]

According to Pat Vegas, it was Jimi Hendrix - himself part Cherokee - who talked the musicians into forming an all-Native American rock group, and they signed as the band "Redbone" to Epic Records in 1969. Jimi Hendrix also stated that Lolly Vegas was his favorite guitar player and biggest influence in music.[6] The band then consisted of Pat Vegas, Lolly Vegas, Peter DePoe and Robert Anthony Avila, a Yaqui-Mexican American, better known by his stage name Tony Bellamy.[7] Their debut album Redbone was released in 1970.[8]

Prior to forming Redbone, Pat and Lolly Vegas released an album in the mid-1960s entitled Pat & Lolly Vegas at the Haunted House (Mercury MG 21059/SR 61059).[9] Of the twelve songs on the album, six were originals by the Vasquez-Vegas brothers which gained them huge initial success. Pat and Lolly also appeared religiously on the 60's hit show "Shindig" and reoccurring performers! They also released several singles from 1961 to the mid-1960s. One of them was titled "Robot Walk" / "Don't You Remember" (Apogee Records A-101) and more making a name for themselves in early years. In 1967 P.J. Proby recorded his only Top 30 hit "Niki Hoeky" by Jim Ford, Lolly Vegas and Pat Vegas. The next year, Bobbie Gentry performed the Cajun-influenced song on The Summer Smothers Brothers Show.[10][11]

Redbone played primarily rock music with R&B, Cajun, Jazz, tribal, and Latin roots. Their first commercial success came with the single "Maggie" from their second album, Potlatch, in 1970, and two other hit singles followed - "The Witch Queen of New Orleans" (1971, #21 on the Billboard Hot 100) and "Come and Get Your Love" (1974, #5 on the Billboard Hot 100). "Come and Get Your Love", written by Lolly Vegas, remained on the chart for 24 weeks, and was certified gold by the R.I.A.A. on April 22, 1974.[1]

Redbone's music was characterized by the Leslie rotating speaker effect that Lolly Vegas used for his electric guitar amplifier and a "King Kong" style of drumming developed by drummer Peter DePoe (born, 1943, Neah Bay, Washington). [12]

Pat Vegas, 1971

In 1973, Redbone released the politically oriented "We Were All Wounded at Wounded Knee", recalling the massacre of Lakota Sioux Indians by the Seventh Cavalry in 1890. The song ends with the subtly altered sentence "We were all wounded 'by' Wounded Knee". It charted in several European countries and reached the #1 position in The Netherlands but did not chart in the U.S. where it was initially withheld from release due to lyrical controversy and then banned by several radio stations due to its confrontation of a sore subject.[13] DePoe had left this band in 1972, and was eventually replaced by Bellamy's Filipino-Chicano cousin, Butch Rillera around that point. Following this the band achieved much of their commercial success. Tony Bellamy (guitar, piano and vocals) left the band in 1977, with Rillera leaving shortly after.[13][14] Bellamy died, at age 63 in a Las Vegas hospital on December 25, 2009, as the result of liver failure.[15]

The band's current remaining membership is led by Pat Vegas, although new members have joined Redbone in 1996 due to Lolly Vegas suffering a stroke that left him unable to tour with the band. Redbone has had some limited activity in recent years, but Pat Vegas continues to tour in Canada and the US. A proposed reunion tour in 2003 did not occur. There is evidence that suggests the existence of an "imposter band" (one of many who try to gain recognition) who was illegally touring the United States and posing as Redbone under the name (or alias) "Denny Freeman". Freeman - who Pat Vegas confirmed to be unaffiliated with Redbone in an interview with the Montana Standard - defrauded the county fair board of the Butte Silver-Bow County Fair in Butte, Montana, under pretenses of being a co-founding member of Redbone, yet he was never a band member.[16][17]

The first self-titled album by Redbone was released as a double album in North America. In Europe it was released both as a double (EPC 67242) and as a single album (BN 26280) on the Epic label.

Their third album, Message from a Drum, was released in Europe (except Spain) with the title The Witch Queen of New Orleans and different cover than the one released in the U.S. and Canada.

Redbone was inducted into the Native American Music Association Hall of Fame in 2008, as well as the NY Smithsonian in 2013.[citation needed] They were also honored with vein painted on the largest mural in the US in Fresno CA.[citation needed] On August 30, 2014 Pat Vegas was honored with the Lifetime Achievement "Legend" Award from the "West Coast American Indian Music Awards."[citation needed]

On December 25, 2009, Tony Bellamy died from liver failure at a hospital in his hometown of Las Vegas, and less than three months later, Lolly Vegas succumbed to lung cancer at his family home in Reseda, California on March 4, 2010.[18]

In 2014, "Come And Get Your Love" experienced a resurgence in popularity when it was featured in the Marvel Studios film Guardians of the Galaxy,[19] as one of the songs on a mixtape made for the protagonist, Peter Quill.[20] It was also included on the film's soundtrack album, which reached the top spot on the Billboard 200 chart.


Current members
  • Pat Vegas - bass, vocals (1969–1977, 1997–present)
  • Fernando Verdialez - guitar, vocals (1997-present)
  • Vini Mars - guitar, vocals (1997-present)
  • Carlos Perez - guitar, vocals (1997-present)
  • Lee Wilson - drums, vocals (1997-present)
Former members
  • Lolly Vegas - guitars, vocals (1969–1977, 1997; died 2010)
  • Tony Bellamy - guitars, vocals (1969–1977, 1997–1998, 2008; died 2009)
  • Peter DePoe - drums, percussion (1969–1972)
  • Robert Howard - saxophone (1969-1970)
  • Arturo Perez - drums, percussion (1972–1973)
  • George Spanos - drums, percussion (1973)
  • Butch Rillera - drums, percussion (1973–1977)
  • Jack White - drums, percussion (1977)
  • Aloisio Aguiar - keyboards (1977)
  • Eddie Summers - drums, percussion (1977)
  • Joe Gonzales - drums (1977, 1999)
  • Garrett Saracho - keyboards (1977)
  • Raven Hernandez - guitars, vocals (1977)
  • Robert Lame Bull McDonald, MD - guitars, vocals (2011-2014)
  • Harlan Spector - Keyboards (1987-1990, 2014-present)
Redbone 1977


Studio albums[edit]

Live album[edit]

  • Redbone Live (recorded 1977; released 1994) as Avenue/Rhino 71632

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Come And Get Your Redbone: The Best Of Redbone (1975) as Epic PG-33456
  • The Best Of Redbone (1976) as Dominion/K-Tel 833
  • The Very Best Of Redbone (1991) as Sony Music Distribution 4679362 [import]
  • Greatest Songs (Come And Get Your Love) (1995) as Curb 77746
  • Golden Classics (1996) as Collectables 5802 [note: this is a 2LP-on-1CD reissue of Potlatch and Message From A Drum plus two singles]
  • To The Bone (1998) as Sony Music Special Products 28581
  • Wet Willie and Redbone: Take 2 (2002) as Sony Music Special Products 52777 [five songs by each band]
  • The Essential Redbone (2003) as Epic/Legacy 86072
  • Its Your World: Redbone's Greatest Hits (2009)
  • Peacepipe (2012)
  • Already Here (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2014) [features "Come and Get Your Love"]

Charted singles[edit]

  • Maggie b/w New Blue Sermonette (1971) US #45 as Epic 5-10670
  • The Witch Queen Of New Orleans b/w Chant: 13th Hour (1971) US #21 as Epic 5-10749, UK #2
  • When You Got Trouble b/w Jerico (1972) US #111 as Epic 5-10839
  • Come and Get Your Love b/w Day To Day Life (1974) US #5, US R&B #75 as Epic 5-11035
  • Wovoka b/w Clouds In My Sunshine (1974) US #101 as Epic 5-11131
  • Suzie Girl b/w Interstate Highway 101 (1974) US #108 as Epic 8-50015

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London, UK: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 349. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  2. ^ "Posts Tagged 'Redbone'". (WordPress blog site). 2010-03-04. Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  3. ^ Lipsitz, George (2007). Footsteps in the Dark: The Hidden Histories of Popular Music. Minneapolis, MN, USA: University of Minnesota Press. pp. 130–131. ISBN 978-0-8166-5019-4. OCLC 486905750. Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  4. ^ "In Memoriam: Lolly Vegas of Redbone". New York, NY: WCBS-FM. 2010-03-07. Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  5. ^ Noland, Claire (2010-03-05). "Redbone singer and guitarist Lolly Vegas dies at 70". Los Angeles, CA, USA: Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  6. ^ "Lolly Vegas One of the co-founder of the band". Redbone's official website. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "NAMA 10". New York, NY: Native American Music Awards. Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  9. ^ discography
  10. ^ "Bobbie Gentry - Niki Hoeky". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  11. ^ "The Summer Brothers Smothers Show: Season 1, Episode 6". 28 July 1968. Retrieved 2012-11-11. 
  12. ^ "The official Redbone site". Chris Staebler. Retrieved 2015-02-24. 
  13. ^ a b "Redbone Biography". Musician Guide. 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  14. ^ "Redbone-History". Retrieved 2012-11-11. 
  15. ^ "Claire Voyant - Las Vegas Gossip". Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  16. ^ Emeigh, John Grant (2006-08-11). "Fake band scams fair". The Montana Standard (Butte, MT: Lee Enterprises). Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  17. ^ Emeigh, John Grant (2006-08-16). "Musician says he'll pay back 'every dime'". The Montana Standard (Butte, MT: Lee Enterprises). Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  18. ^ "IT'S A SAD DAY TO DAY, JUST GOT SOME BAD NEWS, WE JUST LOST A ROCK LEGEND van Redbone Official Myspace op Myspace". Retrieved 2012-11-11. 
  19. ^ "Meet Redbone, the Native American Rock Band Behind That Guardians of the Galaxy Song". Vulture. 2014-08-06. 
  20. ^ Foundas, Scott (July 24, 2014). "Film Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’". Variety. 

External links[edit]

Selected video clips[edit]