Formed in 1968 in Los Angeles, California, by the brothers Pat Vasquez (bass and vocals) and Lolly Vasquez (guitar and vocals), the name Redbone itself is a joking reference to a Cajun term for a mixed-race person, the band's members being of mixed blood ancestry. The band referenced Cajun and New Orleans culture many times in their lyrics and performing style. Pat and Lolly adopted the stage surname Vegas prior to the formation of the band, in part to downplay the Latin American association of their birth surname, Vasquez.
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) and "Come and Get Your Love" (1974). Lolly Vegas was one of the first guitarists to make extensive use of the distinctive Leslie rotating speaker effect in his electric guitar amplification setup. Vegas played improvised, jazz-influenced guitar. Drummer Peter DePoe (born 1943, Neah Bay, Washington, D.C.) is credited with pioneering the "King Kong" style of drumming, which features sharply accented polyrhythms involving the bass and snare drums and is similar to funk styles of drumming. The band referred to DePoe's "King Kong Beat" in their lyrics to the song "Prehistoric Rhythm" on their debut album.
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". The song reached the #1 chart position in Europe but did not chart in the U.S. where it was initially withheld from release and then banned by several radio stations.
Original drummer Peter DePoe left to be replaced by Butch Rillera. Following this the band achieved commercial success with the songs "Come and Get Your Love" and "We Were All Wounded At Wounded Knee.". Tony Bellamy (guitar, piano and vocals) was forced to retire due to illness.
The band's current remaining membership is led by Pat Vegas alone (Lolly left in 1995, Tony Bellamy sometime after that), Raven Hernandez (guitar, vocals and songwriter) joined Redbone in 1996 to replace Lolly Vegas after he suffered a stroke that left him unable to tour with the band. Although Redbone has had some limited activity in recent years, their songwriting and touring output is slight compared with that of the early 1970s. A proposed reunion tour in 2003 did not occur.
Evidence suggests the existence of an "imposter band" 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, most recently 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.(News Article).
In the 1980s Tony Bellamy (born Anthony Avila)formed, with his cousin Butch Rillera, the band "Bimbam", which performed several times at Medley's in Fountain Valley, CA.
The Little Rock, Arkansas based wireless telecommunications company Alltel uses "Come and Get Your Love" as the main jingle for its US television commercials.
Pat Vegas (vocals, bass)
Lolly Vegas (vocals, guitar)
Tony Bellamy (guitar, piano, vocals)
Peter 'Last Walking Bear' DePoe (drums)
1 Crazy Cajun Cakewalk Band Ford, Vegas, Vegas 3:08
2 Prehistoric Rhythm Vegas 3:58
3 Niki Hokey Ford, Vegas, Vegas 3:17
4 Promise I Won't Let It Show Vegas 3:07
5 Minor Seven Heaven Vegas 4:21
6 Night Come Down Vegas 3:53
7 Tennessee Girl Vegas 2:25
8 Rebecca Vegas 3:05
9 Jambone Bellamy, DePoe, Vegas, Vegas 7:48
10 Little Girl Vegas 3:57
11 Chance to See Vegas 4:32
12 Red and Blue Vegas 2:44
13 Suite Mode Bellamy, DePoe, Vegas, Vegas 8:22
14 (I Can't) Handle It Vegas 5:36
15 I'm a Man Vegas 2:57
16 Danse Calinda Vegas 2:45
17 Things Go Better... Bellamy, DePoe, Vegas, Vegas 7:34
Rip from CD 256@ (artwork included)