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Members include Aloisio Aguiar (joined group, 1977), keyboards, drums; Anthony "Tony" Bellamy (left group, 1977), guitar; Peter DePoe (also known as Last Walking Bear; left group, 1972), drums; Arturo Perez (left group, 1973), drums; Butch Rillera (group member, 1973-77), drums; Lolly Vegas (born Vasquez), guitar, vocals; Pat Vegas (born Vasquez), bass guitar.

Taking its name from a Cajun epithet for "half-breed," Redbone boasted members of such Native American tribes as Cherokee, Yaqui, Apache, and Shoshone. Remembered primarily as the first commercially successful American Indian rock group, the band attained brief success in the early 1970s for two bona fide pop singles, "Witch Queen of New Orleans" and "Come and Get Your Love." The band's albums, however, were more complex affairs, mingling topical issues--including the Wounded Knee massacre of Sioux Indians by the Seventh Cavalry in 1890 and the Native American protests on Alcatraz Island in 1969--with Native American chants and long, improvisational jams. Following the success of "Come and Get Your Love," which became a huge dance hit, the band increasingly tilted toward dance- and disco-flavored music before disbanding in the late 1970s.

Brothers Pat and Lolly Vasquez were born in Fresno, California. Boasting Yaqui, Shoshone, and Mexican blood, the duo reputedly worked in cotton fields and apricot orchards in the migrant camps surrounding Fresno. Developing as musicians at an early age, the brothers played with Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson at the Monterey Jazz and Pop Festival before relocating to Los Angeles in 1963. Calling themselves the Avantis, the brothers attempted to cash in on the surf craze popularized by Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys, with such songs as "Gypsy Surfer" and "Wax 'em Down" on the Chancellor label, and "The Phantom Surfer" on the Regency label. The Avantis featured future Beach Boy drummer Mike Kowalski, and their recordings earned them an opening slot on a Beach Boys' tour. The Vasquez brothers also recorded the singles "Let's Go" as the Routers, "Surf Stomp" and "Batman" as the Mar-kets, and "Hotrodders' Choice," "Dawn Patrol," "Double A Fueller," and "Satan's Chariot" as the Deuce Coupes. The 1963 Deuce Coupes' sessions featured impressive session help from Glen Campbell, David Gates, and Leon Russell.

In 1964 the Vasquez brothers recorded as the Sharks, releasing the singles "Big Surf" and "Robot Walk." By the time they had made a musical appearance in the film "It's a Bikini World" in 1965, they had changed their last name to Vegas. They also became members of the Shindigs, the house band on the hit television program Shindig, where they performed weekly with band members Leon Russell and Delaney Bramlett. During this period they also performed session work with pop duo Sonny and Cher, and provided instrumental support to Elvis Presley on the soundtrack to the film Kissin' Cousins. The brothers also managed a residency at the Los Angeles venue Haunted House, which prompted the release of their first full-length album, Pat and Lolly Vegas at the Haunted House, produced by Leon Russell and Snuff Garrett. They became sought-after session musicians and song writers following their studio work on Dobie Gray's hit single "In Crowd" and the 1967 P.J. Proby single "Nicky Hoeky," which was also recorded by Bobbie Gentry and Duane Eddy.

While fulfilling a residency at a Los Angeles nightclub named Gazzarri's, the Vegas brothers met guitarist Tony Bellamy. A Yaqui Indian who had performed with Dobie Gray, and a member of Peter and the Wolves (a San Francisco band that evolved into the psychedelic band Moby Grape), Bellamy had grown up in a family of dancers and musicians. He had learned to play flamenco guitar as part of his musical education as well, and he was recruited by the Vegas brothers to accompany them on session work with Odetta, John Lee Hooker, and the Everly Brothers. According to Pat, it was Jimi Hendrix who talked the musicians into forming an all-Native American rock group. Vegas told Record Collector writer Jeremy Isaac, "Hendrix was a friend of ours.... and he was half Indian. Once he knew that we were Indian too he used to come and hang with us because of that. Jimi made me aware of my roots: He'd say 'Native American is beautiful, man, be proud of that.'"

The Vegas brothers and Bellamy rented a house and rehearsed for a year before attempting to land a recording contract. During this period the trio produced and performed on the Jim Ford album Harlan County, which featured the Lolly Vegas composition "Working My Way to L.A." While the group was perfecting their sound, they came close to hiring drummer Wayne Bibbey. Bobby Womack, however, suggested that the group hire Pete "Last Walking Bear" DePoe, a Cheyenne drummer from Neah Bay Reservation, Washington. "Bobby said, 'I'll give you my drummer and you give me yours,'" Pat Vegas told Isaac. The band adopted the name Redbone from the Cajun epithet Rehbon, which is a derogatory name for half-breed. The group signed to Epic Records in 1969, and released their debut album, Redbone, in 1970. A double album, it featured the group's reworking of "Nicky Hoeky," as well as the Cajun-influenced "Danse Calinda" and "Crazy Cajun Cakewalk Band." The album also featured such extended jams as "Jambone," "Suite Mode," and "Things Go Better." The follow-up album, Potlatch, featured the song "Alcatraz," which dealt with the 1969 occupation of Alcatraz Island by Native Americans, and a moderately successful single, "Maggie."

In 1971 the band's third album, Message from a Drum, hit pay dirt for Redbone. The album featured the Cajun-swamp rocker "Witch Queen of New Orleans," which bore a lyrical and musical resemblance to the swamp-rock songs of Creedence Clearwater Revival. While the song was a success in the United States, it was a monster hit in the United Kingdom, propelling the band to tour as an opening act for such groups as Traffic, Alice Cooper, and the Faces. The death of DePoe's father prompted the drummer to quit the band. "He couldn't stay with us because his family was dependent on him," Pat told Isaac. DePoe was replaced by Arturo Perez on the 1972 album Already Here. Perez departed shortly thereafter, however, and was replaced on the 1974 release Wovoka by Butch Rillera. Wovoka contained the band's most successful single, "Come and Get Your Love," which featured a popping disco bass beat and Leslie-amplifed guitars supporting the husky call-and-response vocals of Pat and Lolly Vegas.

The group was never able to repeat the single's success, however, despite several attempts on subsequent studio releases, including Beaded Dreams through Turquoise Eyes and the 1977 album Cycles. The latter album marked the recent departures of Bellamy and Rillera, the addition of keyboardist and percussionist Aloisio Aguiar, and the band's new label, RCA. Cycles failed to generate much interest, however, and the group disintegrated. A live concert recording in 1977 was eventually released in 1994 as Redbone: Live.

The Vegas brothers continued to work as a duo and as solo acts throughout the 1980s. They also did voiceover work for documentaries on Native American history. The brothers attempted to reform the band's original lineup in the early 1990s, but their plans were waylaid by Lolly's illness from a stroke and DePoe's reluctance to tour. Drummer Rillera became unable to perform due to an aneurysm. Despite these setbacks, Bellamy and Pat Vegas continued to work the Native American casino circuit with a group of supporting musicians. In 1998 members of the group appeared as special guest presenters at the Native American Music Awards.

by Bruce Walker

Redbone's Career

Brothers Lolly and Pat Vegas formed surf band The Avantis, 1963; brothers recorded as the Deuce Coupes for Del-Fi Records, 1963; brothers performed in film It's a Bikini World, 1965; worked with Leon Russell and Delaney Bramlett as house band for the Shindigs on ABC-TV series Shindig, 1964-66; released album produced by Leon Russell and Snuff Garrett, Pat and Lolly at the Haunted House, 1966; duo wrote "Nicky Hoeky," which became hit for P.J. Proby, 1967; Vegas brothers met guitarist Tony Bellamy, collaborated on Jim Ford album Harlan County, 1968; trio hired drummer Pete DePoe and signed band Redbone to Epic Records, 1969; released debut and second album, Redbone and Potlatch, 1970; released third album, Message from a Drum, featuring hit single "Witch Queen of New Orleans," 1972; Arturo Perez replaced drummer DePoe, 1972; Butch Rillera replaced Perez, 1973; released Wovoka, featuring single "Come and Get Your Love," 1973; released final studio album for CBS/Epic, Beaded Drums through Turquoise Eyes, 1974; released RCA debut, Cycles, 1977; group appeared as presenters at Native American Music Awards, 1998.

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Redbone Lyrics

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over 11 years ago

I love listening to Redbone song...when I first heard them sing, I thought, wow, they sound native...and found out they were...I have been hearing them play that song on the radio...Come and get your love...They are great!...In fact I have heard it twice today and once yesterday...We need more native musicians like them...

over 12 years ago

I first met Redbone at a concert in Vancouver, B. C. when they had just released Redbone. Every First Nations person I knew went to their concert. What i can't remember was whether it was the Agrodome or the Playhouse...? Is there anyone out there 60 or better that was not too _______ to remember? Lm

almost 13 years ago

I was a little boy and from my few money I bought my first single ever and this was We were all wounded at Wounded Knee, may this 2 members of Redbone rest in peace, they are never forgotten and will always be in my heart!

over 13 years ago

Redbone forever. I first listened to them in the 70s and still enjoy their music today. As our dutch friend Scherpenzeel stated, they have always been underrated, but in Holland they were wildly popular. Many thanks for keeping their memory alive.

almost 14 years ago

I may have first bumped into Lolly at the Sea Witch on Sunset circa 1961? Later we ran into each other playing clubs in the LA area. Pat & Lolly and their brother Ray were all talented. Way prior to REDBONE all who heard Pat & Lolly perform were very impressed. Lolly was truly a gifted guitar player and he was recognized as a great guitar player by some of the greatest players in the business. His connection with his native american ancestry was a powerful thing to tap into. My father grew up in South Dakota and learned to speak the language of the Lakota Sioux. Chief Frank Fools Crow himself presided at my father's funeral in Philip in 1978. My father liked Lolly, Pat and Ray. Now Lolly has also passed. May he rest in peace and may the music of REDBONE live on! Arch

almost 14 years ago

redbone is the world's most underrated rock band ever. their first 5 albums match and equal the best stones, hendrix or led zep albums. they were virtuoso of rythm and mixing of jazz cajun funk and rock, with a tribal flavour all over it. redbone is my favorite. I thank redbone for all the good listening I had to their albums. I wish strength to lolly.

about 14 years ago

Butch Rillera thanks so much for taking the time to update all REDBONE fans. I would like to see Pat and his band perform sometime soon but I don't know how to find his play dates. Any ideas? This group was and still is such a breath of fresh air. Great sound and down to earth. Lolly and Butch I hope you both have the quality of life you deserve for what you have given to us all, this is for all REDBONE members. Thanks for the good times and ROCK ON.

about 14 years ago

Love the group always and forever. RIP T-Bone, your music lives on.

over 14 years ago


over 14 years ago

I love Redbone. I really really want a man who looks like Lolly! Seriously! I am 1/4 Cherokee. I am 55 yrs old and if anyone knows where I can find a good man like that looks like that,I want him! LOL. Really I do!!!

over 14 years ago

Wow! I had no idea Redbone was returning to popularity! I grew up in Vegas and my best friend (and still best friends today) growing up since 13 years old is James(Jim)Bellamy which is Tony Bellamy's little brother. I have been friends with the Bellamy family like a son/brother and would watch Redbone back when they were opening for Steely Dan. I am going to talk to Tony (the guitarist/sitarist for Redbone) to share what I am reading about here. I am am promoting a new band with native american roots in some of the members which we use native american flutes and instruments in the band. I would love to re-release Come and Get Your Love. You can look up the band at www.illangelic.com Would love to know your thoughts. James

over 14 years ago

I miss hearing Wovoka. I am 50 years now and when I was 15 yrs, I was on my way to Canada and I only played the one 8 track tape, Redbone. I am part Cherokee and I had a class recently at ASU,(I'm a double major now in History and Archaeology), it was Magic, Witchcraft and Religion. I have a friend who is a Oglala, Lakota medicine man, and it was so funny that Wovoka popped up in our topic. We learned how his prophecy started the Ghost Dance. I wish as part Native American that I could help Redbone and other groups speak the truth. My Professor is the head of the department and would love to have any person from Redbone come and speak about he prophecy and the anguish suffered. My email is mysticalwolf58W@yahoo.com. I am Native American, proud and wanting to fight back.

over 14 years ago

This is Butch Rillera. I replaced Pete DePoe on drums. I was fortunate to record the Wovoka album that had "Come and Get Your Love." Thanks to all our past and present fans. Lolly played great guitar and Pat was one of the best bass players I ever worked with. Tony lives in Las Vegas. Pat still tours with another group called "Redbone." Pete lives in Holland now and has a group called "BoneRed." Their videos are on youtube. Lolly lives in Burbank, CA. We had planned on re-uniting but Lolly and I each had strokes that left us partially paralysed. But we're still alive and have some great memories to look back on. Butch

almost 15 years ago

Redbone is very good. Can someone remember the other popular native band from the late 1970's?

almost 15 years ago

Redbone is awesome, should put out a new CD,,, get the "Band" back together...lol Pete DePoe is here on our rez ,his home ,, Makah

almost 15 years ago


almost 15 years ago

I love Redbone!!! Lolly is the oldest of the two brothers. He looks more Native American while his brother, Pat, looks Hispanic. Lolly can sure play that guitar, he's awesome!!! Sad to hear that he had a stroke that he can no longer play his guitar. I love you, Lolly!!! Love you, Redbone!!! Your music WILL live on forever!!!

almost 15 years ago

I seen them in the twin cities shortly after their LP Wovoka, was released, I was fortunate to see them up close. An experience I'll always remember.

about 15 years ago

which one is Patrick and which one is Lolly? It's not too clear.

about 15 years ago

It was great to read about the career of Redbone.I always thought they were a Canadian band. I still hear there two big hits on the radio once in awhile, Come and get you love and Which queen of New Orleans. This music was part of my early years and i still enjoy it whenever possible. Thank you.

about 15 years ago

Remembering the song Maggie, after reading the lyrics, I was wondering just what/who the song is all about...appreciate your response

over 15 years ago

what is the name of that song that includes the lyrics"what is this feeling going round my head, makes me kind of glad that Im not dead"? from late 1960s

over 15 years ago

i enjoyed reading this about Redbone. i grew up listen'n and loving "come & get your love." today i found out it is NOT a black group. im up 1am online and watchn "best of soul train." they danced to that song and it brought back memories. i looked it up online and saw this native american group singing. then spent the next 3 hours watchn their videos, reading the bio and listen'n to songs i didnt know they did. WOW! im intreged and enlightened and wish they would get on the "tom joyner morning show." this group was waaay ahead of their time and i wish they would pickup where they left off. there is soooo much we need to know from them!!! get your blogs online, get on tv, get on the radio stations, let us see u!!! get the group back together and LET THE WORLD SEE U AGAIN. PERFORM!! YOU WILL DRAW YOUR FANS BACK !!

almost 16 years ago

I know that Pete Depoe is on the Reservation, in Oregan. I want to know if he is okay, and will the band play again, at the GoldCountry Casino, in N. California? The band was ahead of the times. Now I hear 'Come and Get Your Love', on cards, commericals, and the radio. I hope I get a reply!!!!

almost 16 years ago

Looking for a song early 1970's,the only lyrics I remember are "what a spirit feeling going round my head makes me feel glad i'm not dead" I'm guessing American Indian Influence or origin.Great Song Thanks

about 16 years ago

I am looking for the words of the song "Crazy Cajun Cake walk Band". Who can help me? Werner from Germany