29 September 2014

Mama Can't Buy You Love: Part Two


Sabrina + The New Archies
Mama Can't Buy You Love
Cartoons + Castanets presents yet another 
bawdy cartoon burlesque featuring 
fan art images based on 
Archie Comics Characters
Sabrina the Sorceress
Salem the Cat     Nero the Dog
Sir Ambrose Nixon
The Abominable Miss Fang
Lyle Jason Blossom
The New Archies:
Garcy Briseño . . . vocals, guitar
Donna Dante . . . vocals, bass
Frankie Fujiyama . . . drums
Mal Hypster . . . vocals, tambourine
Toby Maxx . . . saxophone
Rikki Ninja . . . vocals, keyboards
members of the original Archies
and introducing
Carmen Serna
The Wicked Witch Of New Jersey
with cameo appearances by celebrities including
Trace Adkins, Justin Bieber, Anderson Cooper, Ron Dante, 
Bruce Frey (Professor Bubblegum), Drake Jensen,
Angelo Restivo and "Flo"
in adorable cartoon form
Burlesque written, directed and staged by
Donny Hampton Jacobs
for The Pop Culture Cantina

Part Two:
Bubblegum on Broadway
The Year 2040
Most artists tour during the summer, but The New Archies become known for their winter tours. The first of four that they’ll mount happens in the winter of 2040; they hit the road right after New Year’s. Traveling conditions can be very hazardous that time of year; who can forget the ill-fated Buddy Holly concert tour? Fortunately, the group has a sorceress producer with the ability to hold back inclement weather until after they leave a town! Their 25-city itinerary encompasses various stops in North America and a handful south of the border.

In addition to hits from the Tighter! and Message To Martha albums, one of the main tour highlights is a slammin' revival of “China Grove”, the 1973 Doobie Brothers hit. Rikki Ninja writes a new arrangement heavy on Latin brass and percussion, and sings lead in both English and Spanish (right from the start, he’s had a solo spot in every concert). His swiveling hips and smooth keyboard hand tricks never fail to generate excitement. Ditto for Toby Maxx’s wild man antics as he blows his talking sax! 

 When Dante Carmine flies in to tighten up the stage choreography, the number becomes pure dynamite! Everyone agrees that “China Grove’” should be a single, and the plan is to present the salsa arrangement to Sabrina as soon as they get back to Boston.  Ninja feels confident that he’ll finally get to hear his own lead voice on a New Archies single. That is, until Carmen Serna gets involved!

Womanizer Frankie Fujiyama is still creeping on Donna Dante with her! The band is rehearsing for their appearance in Seattle when Fuji sneaks a phone call to his “Carmelita”. While he’s whispering sweet nothings in her ear, she overhears the strains of “China Grove’’. Intensely interested in the song, she ends their conversation quickly and rushes to her magic crystal. Using sorcery to tune in The New Archies’ rehearsal, Carmen memorizes every note of Rikki Ninja’s arrangement. She also sends the crystal back in time so she can study how The New Archies performed it on stage! 

 Once she’s got the choreography down, La Serna grabs her videophone and spends the next half hour speed dialing. She books her favorite session players for a weekend record date at her combination home studio/dominatrix dungeon! Carmen acts as her own producer:  "You b*tches will play this music just like I tell you to play it," she instructs her musicians, "or else!"  With an evil smile, she gestures toward various torture devices.  

Nodding to Mephisto, her lash-wielding sound engineer, she commences the session.  Carmen has brought along her demonic Rottweiler, The Abominable Miss Fang (conjured up from Hell when she couldn't find a mortal dog to her liking)!  The hulking man-eater sits in the conductor’s chair and intimidates the assembled musicians. Sour notes are greeted with a bone-chilling snarl, or worse!!!


By the time Chi, Dee Dee, Fuji, Garcy, Ninja and Toto complete their concert tour, “China Grove” by Carmen Serna has been pressed and released! Soon, La Serna is all over satellite TV, duplicating every nuance of Rikki Ninja’s stage performance. "That b*tch is totally pimping my sh*t!" he roars!  But even he has to admit that Carmen, dancing to his arrangement in a pair of silver lamé Daisy Dukes, dials the presentation up a few notches.  Babe is hotter than a pistol!  In dismay, Ninja and his bandmates watch her record rise up the charts: Top Forty . . . Top Twenty . . . Top Ten . . . the top spot! A Number One single is the stellar launch to her solo career that the Jersey City sorceress has been waiting for.

Angry and confused, nobody in the band can quite figure out how she stole their hit concept . . . except of course, Frankie Fujiyama, who feels awful but says nothing of his unwitting role in the theft. Adding insult to injury, he accepts Carmen’s invitation to take part in the sleeve photo shoot for her début Latin Pop album, Tú Me Completas. (In addition to “China Grove”, the set includes a cover of “Jungle Boogie’, The New Archies’ other big specialty number.) Dee Dee is fit to be tied when she sees them snuggling on the album cover; she doesn’t speak to Fuji for a whole month! 

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As a kind of consolation prize, Bree Spellman rushes the group into Witch Queen Studios and cuts a powerhouse version of “Eli’s Comin’ (Hide Your Heart, Girl)”.  It's a Rock standard by one of her favorite songwriters, Laura Nyro; Mal Hypster's lead vocal channels Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant.  When The New Archies hear the playback, they all agree it will be a major chart contender.  "I'd like to see Carmen's face when it hits Number One," Dee Dee laughs.  As a DVD single, "Eli" breaks for a stoned smash, but it falls just short of cracking the Top Ten singles list. Carmen Serna can’t stop gloating: “Sweet revenge!”

Red-Bird 2116
Eli’s Comin’/Never Been To Spain
(Laura Nyro)/(Hoyt Axton)
The New Archies featuring Mal Hypster/
The New Archies featuring Donna Dante
Produced by Bree Spellman
#11 Pop

While the Great Serna Song Swipe is unfolding, Sabrina is deeply involved with the mounting of a Broadway musical. Produced by a consortium that includes Republic Records, parent company of The New Archies’ record label, it’s the latest high-profile project from Anderson Cooper's wife Betty. (She and the Pansexual newscaster had a Tahitian wedding back in 2018.) 


Her membership in the original Archies has already provided material for a bestselling biography; now she radically re-imagines her group as a multi-racial Rockabilly band! She places them in the Deep South of the early 1950s, where they struggle to succeed against tremendous odds. In her musical drama, Archie and Betty are Black, Veronica is Mexican, Reggie is Cuban and Jughead is Asian-American (Juggy actually is Japanese, and half-Jewish, too)! Terry “Pop” Tate, in whose diner The Archies hung out as teens, is recast as a progressive Country music radio host. Set to the early, Rockabilly-tinged songs of The Archies, Don’t Touch My Guitar turns on themes of skin color prejudice, Southern music culture and closeted Gay sexuality (Juggy and Pop have a secret love affair).

Betty hopes to sell her concept to satellite TV. Her old bandmate Sabrina is one of the first to hear it, and Bree immediately contacts her cousin, Sir Ambrose Nixon.  Sir Ambrose is also a witch, but he uses natural talent as a stage director to helm smash hit musicals.  Dude has several to his credit, including the Tony-winning Honey Boo Boo Follies, Whistle While You Twerk, and Selfie Madness. When he expresses the desire to mount Betty’s musical drama on Broadway, the backers start lining up! 

 At her cousin’s request, Bree is added to the casting committee. Right away she declares that The New Archies can play the lead roles, but her fellow committee members scoff at the notion. "We'll get some bonafide sh*tkickers from Nashville," a millionaire bankster bellows, blowing cigar smoke in Bree's face. A group of Country singers is hired, but Sir Ambrose soon sends them packing.  "I've seen better acting on reality TV," he complains.  "And I despise reality TV!"  Then some veteran stage actors are cast, but Betty Cooper can't stand the way they sing:  "Instead of cutting-edge '50s Country musicians, they sound like bad Uncle Tupelo imitators. Forget about it!" They, too, are fired. 

 Angrily, Sabrina tells the casting committee to stop wasting time: “Listen to me!  I’ve got the perfect group to play these parts!”  Sir Ambrose is doubtful, until he meets The New Archies and lays a lustful eye on Frankie Fujiyama, Mal Hypster and Toby Maxx. “God save the Queen!” he thinks. “A native Hawaiian beach boy; a hunky Black Jew; and a sexy Swede to boot! Three of my all-time favorite flavors of men! I’ll make actors out of them if I have to f*ck their brains out to do it!”

When presented with the opportunity, the band is dubious as well; yet they’re also intrigued and excited by the prospect of portraying their forbears on stage. Dee Dee loves the gritty story, Chi digs the song selections, and Garcy detects a show-stopping ballad in the score. At the group’s audition, she boldly tells the committee: “If you let me sing ‘A Summer Prayer For Peace’, I will bring down the house for you night after night!” 

The cigar-smoking bank president isn't convinced, but even he is blown away by Garcy's stunning lead voice, as well as her strong harmony singing with Dee and Chi (The Magic Circle). What's more, Dee Dee, Fuji and Toto all demonstrate strong acting ability. Intense lobbying by Sabrina, Sir Ambrose and Alexandra Cabot, one of the main investors, clinches the deal. 

 Once The New Archies are signed for the lead roles, rehearsals begin almost immediately. It’s a huge risk for the band, gambling on a Broadway show at the height of their success; but the publicity value will be enormous! Unless, of course, the show flops. Carmen Serna is convinced that it will! “Don’t do this bullsh*t play, Frankie,” she warns. “Donna Dante can’t act, and she can’t sing, either. She’ll f*cking stink up the place and ruin it for everybody!” Offended by her catty comments, Fuji ignores her and commits himself 100% to the production.

None of the members have any dramatic training to speak of, but Sir Ambrose doesn’t bother grilling them on acting technique. “The New Archies have a natural quality that theater audiences will love,” he believes.  Instead, the famous director gives them a crash course in stage presence and effective delivery of lines, and works to perfect the regional accents their characters use. 

Another concern: Neither Frankie Fujiyama nor Toby Maxx are singers! It doesn’t matter in Toto’s case, because his role as Pop Tate doesn’t require singing; but Fuji must perform “One Big Family” as a solo and harmonize with Chi and Ninja on “Waldo P. Emerson-Jones”. Sabrina drafts in Nero the Dog to be his vocal coach. Fuji’s vocals are painfully thin; but it’s amazing how quickly he learns to project his voice when Nero’s sharp teeth close around his ankle!


The entertainment press is buzzing like a beehive wired for sound! They can’t stop talking and speculating about what will happen when the musical opens on Broadway. That occurs on 24 June 2040, after a month of successful previews in Boston.  The venue for Don't Touch My Guitar! is the Republic Theater, owned by the record label of the same name (by the late 2030s, music conglomerates will own most Broadway theaters).  New York’s most powerful theater critics are in the audience on opening night, highly skeptical and ready to pounce on every flaw they see! 

 They savage Mal Hypster’s modest acting skills, but most of them love Betty Cooper’s book, rave about Sir Ambrose Nixon’s staging, and hail Frankie Fujiyama and Donna Dante as major thespian discoveries. As for Garcy Briseño, she keeps her promise to bring capacity crowds to their feet on a nightly basis. Reviewers call Garcy the new Streisand, an honor to which she coyly responds: “I knew they’d say that!” Many wish she had more solos in the show, but Sir Ambrose is wise to use her sparingly. Delia García Briseño never gives less than her all in performance, and her superb but fragile singing voice would suffer if she had to carry the production!

Instead, that responsibility falls largely to Mal Hypster and Rikki Ninja, who ably and robustly blend Country music with R & B and Latin influences to approximate the sound of early Rock ‘n’ Roll. Country music is neither Dee Dee’s favorite genre nor her vocal strong point, but she holds her own belting out the bluesy “Truck Driver” and harmonizing separately with Chi and Garcy. She shines in the role of Black Betty; Carmen Serna couldn’t have been more wrong about her abilities! There’s nary a trace of Toto’s thick Swedish accent when he takes the stage to convincingly play a New Orleans radio broadcaster, and Fuji’s brilliant portrayal of a closeted Gay musician will be recognized with a Tony Award nomination. 

Broadway has a new hot ticket on its hands!  Sir Ambrose has scored yet another triumph, and Betty Cooper couldn’t be more thrilled; her very first show, a smash on the Great White Way, with a novice cast and a musical book written at the tender age of 74! Her overnight success turns the theater community on its head!

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There’s almost as much drama behind the scenes as on the stage: Horny Sir Ambrose has long had a reputation for bedding his leading players, especially the men! From the first day of rehearsals, he is subtly flirtatious with Fuji, Chi and Toto ("Me so horny!  Me love you looong time")! Dude can't even get to first base with Frankie Fujiyama, but it doesn’t take long for Hypster the Horndog to bite down on his bait: "With my false teeth out, Chi, I can deep throat you right down to your nut sack!"  Actor and director nearly get caught trading blowjobs in the backstage area one night! 

 Surprisingly, Toby Maxx gets maneuvered onto Sir Ambrose’s casting couch, too; fascinated by the sight of the older man's youthful physique as he showers in his dressing room ("an 80-year-old with a bubble butt!  Unbelievable!"), Toto loses control when the elderly hunk casually drops his soap.  Delighted by the larger-than-average endowment Toby Maxx brings to their tryst, Sabrina's British cousin resorts to American slang:  "Sookie, sookie, now!  Work that back, honey!"   A decade later, stagehands will still be cracking jokes about the loud moans heard coming from the manager’s office during the run of Don’t Touch My Guitar! 

Toto and Chi are tapping the same ass and neither one is the wiser; but man!  Does sh*t hit the fan when they find out. Delighted paparazzi catch them in a screaming lover’s spat right out in front of the Republic Theater! For three of the six months that they perform in the show, Messieurs Hipp and Maxwell don’t speak to each other off stage. Their interaction with Sir Ambrose becomes strained, too. "This all is your fault", Sabrina fumes. "Make it right!"

Shamefaced for once, her sex-crazed cousin apologizes.  The three men patch things up in the strangest way: With ménage à trois sex!  After a matinée in October, an amused Donna Dante overhears Sir Ambrose asking Chi:  "Will you be our sandwich meat this evening, or shall I do the honors again?"  Toto chimes in:  "How about me for a change?  You can pretend I'm your spicy Swedish Meatball!"  Their after-the-show orgies become an almost nightly tradition, and this “friend with benefits” relationship will continue for years. Dating up Mal Hypster has certainly loosened Toby Maxx's tight-laced inhibitions!

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Federal QUAD-2-L22Y5
Overture/Boys And Girls (Jeff Barry) sung by Archie
Rock ‘N’ Roll Music (Jeff Barry) sung by Archie and Reggie
Waldo P. Emerson-Jones (Barry, Kim)
sung by Archie, Reggie and Juggy
One Big Family (Neil Brian Goldberg) sung by Juggy
Time For Love (Adams, Barkan) sung by Archie/
Bicycles, Roller Skates And You (Adams, Barkan)
sung by Veronica
Don’t Touch My Guitar (Jeff Barry) sung by Archie and Reggie
La Dee Doo Down Down (Jeff Barry) sung by Archie
Over And Over (Barry, Dante) sung by Veronica and Betty
Circle Of Blue (Adams, Barkan) sung by Betty
Bang-Shang-A-Lang (Jeff Barry)/
Hide And Seek (Adams, Barkan)
sung by Archie
Truck Driver (Jeff Barry) sung by Betty
Medley: Sugar And Spice (Allan, Dante)/
Sugar, Sugar (Barry, Kim) 
sung by Veronica and Betty
Who’s Gonna Love Me? (Allan, Barry, Dante)/
Who’s Your Baby? (Barry, Kim)
sung by Archie and Veronica
Love Light (Jeff Barry) sung by Archie and Reggie
Señorita Rita (Jeff Barry) sung by Reggie
Feelin’ So Good (Barry, Kim) sung by Archie and Betty
Hot Dog! (Adams, Barkan) sung by Archie
Seventeen Ain’t Young (Jeff Barry) sung by Archie
Strangers In The Morning (Dante, Greenfield)
sung by Archie and Veronica
A Summer Prayer For Peace (Jeff Barry)
sung by Veronica and Jughead
Together We Two (Barry, Kim) sung by Archie and Betty
Little Green Jacket (Adams, Barkan) sung by Reggie
You Little Angel, You (Jeff Barry) sung by Archie
Get On The Line (Jeff Barry)/
Don’t Touch My Guitar (Jeff Barry)
Sung by Archie and Company
Original Broadway Cast Recording
Don’t Touch My Guitar!
Frank Fujiyama     Delia García Briseño
Malachi Hipp     Enrique Fonseca     Tobias Maxwell
Donna Dante

Special appearance by the Mexican dance troupe
Dulce de Fuego
Words and Music by
Jeff Barry 
with Gene Allan, Ritchie Adams, Mark Barkan,
Ron Dante, Andy Kim, Neil Brian Goldberg
and Howard Greenfield
Music by Arrangement with
Sony/ATV Music Publishing (BMI)
Book by Betty Cooper
Directed by Sir Ambrose Nixon 
Dance Sequences Directed by 
Dante Carmine
Music Supervision: Salem Saberhagen
Arranged by The New Archies
Conducted by Nero
Cast Album Produced by Alexandra Cabot
Executive Producer: Lyle Jason Blossom
Chief Engineer: Yvonne Remy
Recorded live @ The Republic Theatre, New York City
Remixed @ Witch Queen Studios, Boston
#15 Top Cast Albums

Many Broadway cast albums are recorded after hours at the Republic Theatre due to its superior acoustics. The New Archies cut their cast album live during the August 5th performance of Don’t Touch My Guitar! Salem Saberhagen, Nero the Dog and sound engineer Yvonne Remy fly in from Witch Queen Studios to produce the recording under Alexandra Cabot’s auspices.  (A couple of hulking zombie sound technicians fly in with them, causing considerable alarm among Republic's regular sound and lighting crew!)

 The cast appears on all the major morning TV talk shows and performs songs from the show; this prompts a resurgence of interest in The Archies’ original recordings. Several top Pop acts of the 2040s then market cover versions of Archies hits; the most successful is Ghetto Dragon Lady’s salsa/Punk version of “Señorita Rita”, sung on stage by Rikki Ninja. The actual cast album goes on to win a Gold Record as well as a Tony Award for Best Musical Theatre Album, compensating somewhat for the Best Supporting Actor Tony that Frankie Fujiyama will narrowly lose.


In September, the actor/musicians take a break in order to cut their fourth album. “I like Country music a lot,” Toby Maxx pouts, “but it’s a relief to get back to more urban sounds. I can't play my saxophone in the show!” Once again, Sabrina has a ready-made album concept waiting for them. Collectively, the band is starting to feel mighty irritated at being told what songs to record!  "But what else can we do?" Garcy sighs.  "We've all been so busy with the musical, we haven’t had time to come up with anything on our own." 

The New Archies get busy rehearsing songs from Three Dog Night's catalog; since two TDN hits comprised their last Top Forty single, it’s a logical move. Bree has wanted to cut a Three Dog Night tribute right from the start: She modeled their three lead vocalist lineup on the legendary 1970s supergroup! 

In addition to the previously-released “Eli’s Comin’”, the finished album yields The Magic Circle holding forth on an anthemic remake of “Family Of Man”; Donna Dante's incendiary Punk rocker take on "Joy To The World"; and Garcy Briseño’s definitive reading of “Shambala”. This is the DVD single that establishes Dilton Doiley’s daughter as The New Archies’ main lead singer; the Top Ten platter blankets radio airwaves during the Christmas season and well into early 2041. Despite some initial reluctance, everybody is happy with the Family Of Man album except for Rikki Ninja. Once again, he’s p*ssed at having been passed over for lead vocal duties.  He swears it won’t happen again!

Red-Bird QUAD 7525
Liar! (Russ Ballard)*
One (Harry Nilsson)**
Shambala (Daniel Moore)*
Never Been To Spain (Hoyt Axton)***
Sure As I’m Sittin’ Here (John Hiatt)**
Eli’s Comin’ (Laura Nyro)**
Family Of Man (Conrad, Williams)****
The Show Must Go On (Courtney, Sayer)**
Black And White (Arkin, Robinson)*
Celebrate! (Bonner, Gordon)****
Joy To The World (Hoyt Axton)***
Out In The Country (Nichols, Williams)****
The Songs of Three Dog Night
Family Of Man
The New Archies
*Lead Vocals by Garcy Briseño
**Lead Vocals by Mal Hypster
***Lead Vocals by Donna Dante
****Trio Vocals by Donna Dante, Mal Hypster
and Garcy Briseño
A Witch Queen Production
Music Supervision: Salem Saberhagen
Arranged by The New Archies
Conducted by Nero
Produced by Bree Spellman
Recorded @ Witch Queen Studios, Boston
Sound Engineer: Yvonne Remy
#18 Top Albums
The DVD version of this album has additional songs:
“Easy To Be Hard”, “Mama Told Me Not To Come”
and “One Man Band”.

Red-Bird 2123
Shambala/Let Me Serenade You
(Daniel Moore)/(John Finley)
The New Archies featuring Garcy Briseño
Produced by Bree Spellman
#7 Pop

Red-Bird 2138
Family Of Man/Just An Old-Fashioned Love Song
(Conrad, Williams)/(John Hiatt)
The New Archies/
The New Archies featuring Mal Hypster
Produced by Bree Spellman
#23 Pop


No doubt about it: Don’t Touch My Guitar is a hit musical! However, it barely breaks even financially. By the 2040s, the cost of mounting Broadway productions has become so tremendously high, not a even a hit is guaranteed to turn a profit. Very few new shows become fixtures anymore on the Great White Way! 

 The New Archies committed to stay with the musical for six months, and when the end of that run draws near, producers start pulling their money out; "Smokey the Bankster" is the first.  When dude announces his bank's divestment at a committee meeting, he's puffing away at his cigar as usual (in 2039, a Libertarian Supreme Court will repeal all anti-smoking laws).  Feeling mischievous, Bree uses her magic powers to make him swallow his stinking stogie!  "It's amazing," Alexandra Cabot tells her later, "How quickly he gave up tobacco after that!" The show closes just before Christmas and is replaced by yet another revival of perennial moneymaker Hedwig and The Angry Inch. 

 The entire cast is in tears as the overflow crowd gives them a ten-minute standing ovation and piles the stage high with bouquets. Chi, Dee Dee, Garcy, Fuji, Ninja and Toto took the Broadway stage as novices and they leave it as stars!  In the early 22nd century, Don’t Touch My Guitar! will be revived, and that revival will be successful enough to stay put for several years.

At the cast party, Frankie Fujiyama makes a major announcement: He's quitting the group! Offers of roles have begun pouring in from numerous stage, film and TV directors; with Carmen Serna's encouragement, he’s decided to pursue an acting career. Sad to see Fuji leave but extremely happy for his good fortune, Donna Dante patches up her latest spat with him. They dance together all evening, and that night at her apartment, she finally gives him her virginity.  "This p*ssy is talking to me!" he gasps in the throes of passion.  "Then don't interrupt," she giggles.  Enveloped in his arms after hours of intense lovemaking, she tells herself: “It’s really love! Here’s the man I’m going to spend the rest of my life with.” But this afterglow is all she’ll get to enjoy; her whole world is about to come crashing down!

The next morning after Fuji leaves, she gets a phone call from the last person in the world she wants to speak to: Carmen Serna! “Did you enjoy servicing Frankie last night, you little slut?” Carmen taunts. “I told him he could bone you one last time if he wanted to; but you'll never marry him up! He eloped with me the day before yesterday!” Dee Dee drops the phone and rushes into her bathroom where she is sick for several long minutes. “It’s a lie!” she sobs, frantically dialing up Fuji. But Carmen didn't lie, and she realizes it when he fails to pick up. She tries all day long, but the bastard never, ever answers her call! 

 Over the Christmas holidays, Donna Dante tries to find solace in the arms of Rikki Ninja. They fly together to Puerto Rico for some much-needed time away from Boston. It’s unclear whether Dee Dee will stay in the band:  "Every time we go on stage from now on," she tells Ninja, "I'm going to be thinking about Fuji and all the fun we used to have."  "I know it's going to hurt for awhile," he says, "but you'll forget, muchachita.  I promise I'll make you forget him!  Let me show you how."  Yet his burning kisses leave her cold; she pushes Ninja away and starts crying.  Will The New Archies’ Broadway triumph be their swan song?

Red-Bird 2155
SOS! Heart In Distress/Sweet Talkin’ Willie
(Cordell, Trimachi)/(Elliot Chiprut)
Donna Dante with The New Archies
Produced by Bree Spellman
#35 Pop

After the grueling pace they kept in 2040, the entire band needs a long break. The first half of 2041 is down time for everybody, but for some, it’s a working vacation: Garcy takes some film classes; Chi works as a celebrity bartender for his sister Cass in Nashville; and Toto tries his hand at record production, supervising a couple of New Wave Hip-Hop acts in the studio.  Dee Dee and Ninja struggle to keep romance alive while checking out the salsa music scene in Puerto Rico.

During this period, there’s a change in The New Archies’ management.  Although still represented by Lex Cabot’s talent agency, their original manager retires. He is replaced by none other than Lyle Jason Blossom, son of notorious billionaire record bootlegger Jason Blossom! Fortunately, Lyle is nothing like his late father; he’s warm, personable and 100% honest. Only three qualities does he share with his father: An avid interest in sexual pleasure with both women and men; a ginormous "Johnson", tailor-made for pursuing that pleasure to the hilt; and a deep love of music. Since graduating college, Alexander Cabot’s been grooming him for artist management; The New Archies are his first major client.  Sabrina takes to Lyle immediately, but is puzzled by the aura of deep sadness that seems to surround him at times.

Donna Dante still feels conflicted about returning to the group. For reasons she won’t explain, LJB's addition to their circle upsets her; it's the breaking point that convinces her to leave. When she and Rikki Ninja return from Puerto Rico in July, she informs the rest of her bandmates. Sabrina, who has come to love Dee Dee like a daughter, is particularly devastated; but she understands how deeply she loved Frankie Fujiyama and how hurtful his marriage to Carmen Serna was. Bree ends her friendship with both Carmen and Fuji. “Good riddance!” Nero the Dog tells her. “I never did like her evil ass!   Besides, Frankie’s gotta have rocks in his head.  Imagine throwing over a jingling babe like Dee Dee for that Jersey City skeezer!”


As a parting gift, Sabrina produces the first Donna Dante solo single: “SOS! Heart In Distress”. Acting as her one-man band, Rikki Ninja arranges and plays the backing track; later, Mal Hypster and Garcy Briseño will dub in background vocals, and Toby Maxx will add a sax solo. Essentially, "SOS!" is a New Archies record, but Dee Dee certainly doesn't object. Her goodbye to Ninja is wordless; they just hold each other tightly for a long time. Despite their aborted romance (Dee Dee found that she isn’t attracted to Transsexual men), their friendship remains as solid as ever. She’ll never forget that Ninja was there when she desperately needed someone! He just wasn’t the one she needed.

Two weeks later, Dee Dee breaks down at Sabrina’s brownstone penthouse. “Why wasn’t I enough for him?” she sobs, her head buried in Bree's shoulder. “Often, men don’t recognize true love when they’ve got it,” the sorceress replies. “And what Frankie and Carmen have together, well, I don’t call that love at all.” “I know what to call it,” her cat interjects. “I call it nasty! She’s the girl who put the stank in skank! Why, I wouldn’t touch her with gloves on my paws!” Bree gives him a warning look. “Lay off the slut shaming, Salem! Nobody visits the free clinic more than you do! Besides, calling Carmen bad names won’t help matters.” 

She takes Dee Dee’s tear-stained face in her hands. “I love you so much!  Seeing you hurt just tears me apart.  I’d do anything to spare you all this pain; but mama can’t buy you love!” At Logan Airport the next day, the band sees Donna Dante off on her promotional tour. Concealed behind a partition, a muscular native Hawaiian man watches her plane depart. “Sayonara, baby,” Fuji whispers, a lone tear trickling down his cheek.

Red-Bird 2180
Along Comes Mary/Love Is All Around*
(Tandy Almer)/(Sonny Curtis)
*from the film Mary!
The New Archies featuring Rikki Ninja/
The New Archies featuring Mal Hypster
Produced by Nero
#21 Pop/#56 Pop

Sabrina wants to hold auditions for two new members, but the band prefers to go on as a quartet. “I’ll switch from tambourine to drums full-time”, Chi tells her, “and Ninja can pull any instrument he wants out of that magic keyboard of his! We won’t lack for a bass groove.” In the wake of Donna Dante’s departure, Bree finds a much less malleable group than before; they insist on choosing the theme for their fifth album! 

 “Our namesake, the original Archies, were a straight-up Bubblegum Rock band, and f*cking proud of it, too!” Ninja declares. “We want to reclaim that heritage. Our sound is getting too sophisticated for kids today.” “Not according to your sales figures,” Bree retorts. “That’s true,” Toto agrees, “but we can appeal to them even more strongly with a stripped-down Dance Rock record.” Sabrina turns to Garcy Briseño for her opinion. “I’m not finding fault with any of your decisions thus far,” Garcy replies, “but I would like to have more creative control. I can sing more than just ballads, you know! It’s high time we charted our own way.”

Bree reluctantly gives them the go ahead, but she thinks they’re making a huge mistake!  Accordingly, she refuses to produce their Bubblegum Rock project. The New Archies ask production assistant Nero to supervise the sessions. Puppy is excited but not sure if he’s capable of producing a hit vocal; so far, he’s only worked on backing tracks. “Tell you what, kids,” the wonder poodle tells them (Bree’s magic enables the band to understand dog lingo). “Let me produce a stand-alone single for you.  If it does well on the charts, then I’ll agree to produce your new album.” 

They decide to remake “Along Comes Mary”, a 1966 Association hit they all love. The original had a high tenor voice on lead, but Nero thinks a baritone would work better. Rikki Ninja joyfully bags his first lead vocal on a single, and is beside himself when the hand-clapping rocker nudges the Top Twenty! Dude dials up all his friends in Latin America to brag: “¿Quién es el Rey? ¡Soy el Rey! Ninja is the new King of Pop!” “Oh, no!” a dismayed Toto exclaims. “Now we’ve got two divas in this group!”  Mal Hypster gets mileage out of a “Mary” song, too: His lead vocal on an update of the old "Mary Tyler Moore Show" theme also gets airplay, and is later featured in a big screen version of the sitcom. Nero the Dog's tail just can't stop wagging: He can hardly wait to produce an entire album on his own! “Let’s go cut that mother*cker!” he yelps.

Red-Bird QUAD 2-7535
Latin Shake (Levine, Resnick)*
Pinch Me, Baby (Kasenetz, Katz, Woods)**
Nothin’ Sweeter Than My Baby (Sonny Gordon)*
Sweet Talkin’ Willie (Elliot Chiprut)****
I Got It Bad For You (Levine, Martine)**
Sunshine Games (Eric Woolfson)**
Heartless Hurtie Gertie (Kasenetz, Katz)**
Ooo-La-La (Levine, Resnick)*
Sausalito (Graham Gouldman)***
Jack In The Box (Cordell, Trimachi)*****
Come On Down, Mary Ann (Joey Levine)*
Hook, Line And Sinker (Carl, Whitelaw)**

Don’t Have To Run And Hide (Mark + Ted Gutkowski)**
I See The Light (Elliot Chiprut)***
Soul Struttin’ (Orlando, Thau)*
Hot Diggity Dog (Carl, Whitelaw)**
Jacksonville Station (Levine, Martine)*
Can’t Stop Now! (Chiprut, Kasenetz, Katz)******
Maybe You Do (Fred Marcus)***
Sweet, Sweet Lovin’ You (Bloom, Cordell, Gentry)**
SOS! Heart In Distress (Cordell, Trimachi)****
Firebird (Levine, Resnick)*
Look Through Any Window (Chiprut, Kasenetz, Katz)***
Honey Pie (Kasenetz, Katz, Laufer)*
Shake! (Levine, Resnick)*
Bubblegum Blitz!
The New Archies
*Lead Vocals by Rikki Ninja
**Lead Vocals by Mal Hypster
***Lead Vocals by Garcy Briseño
****Donna Dante with The New Archies
*****Duet Vocals by Mal Hypster and Rikki Ninja
******Trio Vocals by Rikki Ninja, Mal Hypster,
and Garcy Briseño
A Witch Queen Production
Music Supervision:
Rikki Ninja + Toby Maxx
Arranged by The New Archies
Produced by Nero
****Arranged and Conducted by 
Rikki Ninja
Produced by Bree Spellman
Recorded @ Witch Queen Studios, Boston
Sound Engineer: Yvonne Remy
#4 Top Albums

Red-Bird 2192
Sausalito/I Got It Bad For You
(Graham Gouldman)/(Levine, Martine)
The New Archies featuring Garcy Briseño/
The New Archies featuring Mal Hypster
Produced by Nero
#2 Pop/#70 Pop

Red-Bird 2207
Jacksonville Station/Hot Diggity Dog
(Levine, Martine)/(Carl, Whitelaw)
The New Archies featuring Rikki Ninja/
The New Archies featuring Mal Hypster
Produced by Nero
#14 Pop/#96 Pop

Radio in the fall of 2041 sounds like it’s in a time warp: Around the world, airwaves pulse with sounds from the late 1960s! Several vintage Pop records jump back onto the international charts. It’s a retro groove that’s infected the music of many top acts, and foremost among them are The New Archies! Released as both an optimum-fidelity download and a vinyl LP, their double-length Bubblegum Blitz! album is an unqualified smash! A Double-Platinum seller, it’s the biggest record the band will ever release. 

 Mining the catalog of Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz’s Kaskat Music, practically a fountain of ‘60s Bubblegum classics, Chi, Garcy, Toto and Ninja touch off a Rock candy explosion! Avoiding obvious song choices like “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy”, “Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’” and “Simon Says”, they shine a light on lesser-known gems like “Sweet, Sweet Lovin’ You”, “Jack In The Box”, “Heartless Hurtie Gertie” and the hip-shaking rocker “I Got It Bad For You”.


Key to the album’s success is the sledgehammer drum sound that Mal Hypster brings to the rhythm tracks. Frankie Fujiyama’s drumming had Latin Jazz influence; there were lots of nuances. Nothing fancy about Chi's approach to rhythm, though: Dude just likes to make the damn floor shake! His pounding tom toms really light a fire under “Soul Struttin’”, “Can’t Stop Now!”, “Sunshine Games” and the aforementioned “I Got It Bad” on which he delivers an insolent Donna Dante-influenced vocal (which she loves when she hears it). 

Dee Dee’s thumping bass lines are missed, but the staccato thunder Ninja’s keyboard produces is more than adequate for itchy, twitchy Bubblegum tracks like “I See The Light”, "Come On Down, Mary Ann" and “Shake!” No need to miss Dee Dee’s lead voice, though, because both sides of her first solo record appear in the track lineup. Even though “SOS!” is a Bree Spellman production, Nero insisted that it be included; having no plans to support the single with an album, Donna Dante consented.  Motown-inspired Disco ditties are fine, but they’re a far cry from the musical direction she plans to pursue as a solo artist!

Garcy Briseño’s showcase is “Sausalito”, a Top Five DVD single featuring the kind of spicy Spanish guitar she grew up playing in her father’s Tejano bands. Kids just can’t stop dancing to it, especially in the barrios! The record becomes a Lowrider standard almost instantly. Rikki Ninja gets deep down in a Bubblegum Soul groove singing lead on “Jacksonville Station”, the mega-funky second single.  “Jacksonville” ends up outperforming his vocal début “Along Comes Mary”, landing high in the Top Twenty. Ninja’s footwork in the music video is so lithe and smooth, comparisons to Michael Jackson are inevitable.

When the band tours behind Bubblegum Blitz! in the winter of ’42, dozens of fans want to jump up on stage and groove along with him!  "I never danced the Jerk so much in my entire life," the keyboard wizard will later recall.  "Not to mention the Watusi, the Frug, the Monkey Time and the Mashed Potatoes!"  "Don't forget the Funky Chicken", Toto adds, laughing.  This dancing frenzy leaves concert security guards tearing their hair out in frustration, but Ninja is elated. "The whole f*cking world wants to shake its booty to my music," he beams. "What more could a Transgender Rock star want?" 

Even before the album is released in November of ‘41, Sabrina realizes she was wrong about the Bubblegum Rock concept. “Your Pop instincts were right on the money,” she admits, “and I couldn’t have produced those sessions any better than Nero did!” Blushing beneath his shaggy coat, puppy gives The New Archies a lion’s share of credit: “How could I go wrong with the kind of ass-kickin’ arrangements they write? And as for singing, there’s nothing I can show these kids that they don’t already know how to do.”

Red-Bird 2219
Amazing/Sharp-Dressed Man
(Ciccone, Mirwais)/(ZZ Top)
The New Archies featuring Garcy Briseño/
The New Archies featuring Rikki Ninja
Produced by Nero
#21 Pop/#48 Pop

During the Blitz tour, offers for Garcy Briseño to record solo reach a fever pitch!  Almost from the start, she’s been tempted to leave; after the release of “Shambala”, record label talent raiders literally began stalking her! For quite a while, she's had her pick of solid offers, but she always brushed them aside. Garcy may have an oversized ego, but she isn’t the kind to up and abandon her colleagues! When her bandmates learned of the solo offers, she assured them: “I couldn’t live with myself if I quit and The New Archies tanked as an act. And you would tank without me! Don’t worry: La Briseño will never let you down!” 

Naturally, they took exception to her assessment of their commercial appeal (especially Donna Dante when she was still a member), but none of them wanted to see her go. Yet now that “Sausalito” has made Garcy a hotter commodity than ever, Mal Hypster decides it’s time to lay some unsolicited career advice on his future sister-in-law: “These solo offers are just incredible.  Sister woman, you’ve got to go for yourself!”

“What’s the hurry?” she shrugs. “A voice like mine will always be in high demand.” “Don’t be so sure,” he warns. “Look at my dad, Timothy Garland. He’s got one of the finest voices around, and his singing gets better every year; yet the day came when nobody wanted to know anymore. This business doesn’t give a flying f*ck about real talent, and talented women have never gotten a fair deal!  Just ask Diva (Chi's younger sister, Country music star La Diva Garland).” As they get ready to take the stage for a concert in Hawaii, he insists: “You've got to strike while the iron is red-hot! Don’t hold off too long and give them an excuse to let you fall through the cracks.” 

 On the closing night of the Bubblegum Blitz tour, Garcy Briseño announces her impending departure: "The New Archies are the finest nest a songbird like me could ever want; but now, it's time to spread my wings and fly.  This is my last concert with Chi, Toto and Ninja!"  Predictably, fans are shocked, but many are delighted, too. “Kick ass and take names, Garcy!” a butch Lesbian calls out, prompting roars of approval from the crowd.


What Garcy doesn't announce is that shortly after she made the decision to leave, the group decided to disband. Chi has a chance to do some fashion modeling, and Toto and Ninja have formed a production team; they've got several big projects lined up. Everybody thinks a farewell record is in order, so Nero takes them back into the studio to cut some Disco songs. 

The topside, a psychedelia-flavored cover of Madonna’s “Amazing” will be Garcy’s penultimate lead vocal on a New Archies DVD single; the flipside features Rikki Ninja’s ferocious take on the old ZZ Top favorite, “Sharp-Dressed Man”. Powered by La Briseño’s scorching guitar licks, both sides will chart. “You and me, together again,” Ninja whispers to his former lover, smiling sadly. “Forever, honey!” she replies, enveloping him in her arms. “We’re like that old Jackson Five song: Never can say goodbye.”

Nero and the band are in Witch Queen's skeleton head control booth doing a final mix when Bree suddenly appears, bringing sad news: “Reggie Mantle died in New México last night!” Everyone is stunned; one of The Archies’ founding members is gone! Sniffing back her tears, Bree tells them: “I knew Reggie since high school; he was so exciting and fun to be around! None of you knew him, but . . . “ Ninja interrupts her. “I did know Reggie. In fact, I knew him very well. Excuse me, I need to make an urgent phone call!” 

He runs down to the studio lounge and telephones choreographer Dante Carmine to offer his condolences. Then he asks Reggie’s only son for a special favor. Although Dante is surprised by what Ninja reveals, he readily agrees to grant his request. A week later, Sabrina and The New Archies fly down to México City for the funeral. Hundreds are expected to attend; before retiring in the year 2037 (the same year The New Archies formed), Reggie had been known as Gino el Huapanguero, one of the biggest Norteño stars in Latin America.


Sure enough, fans turn out in droves, applauding as his horse-drawn casket rolls down the Paseo de la Reforma to Union Evangelical Church. When the funeral service begins, celebrities pack the first two rows: Ricky Martin; Ariana Grande; Anderson Cooper; the former members of Josie + The Pussy Cats; record mogul Dilton Doiley Briseño (Garcy’s dad); former United States President Nancy Woods; The New Archies (minus Frankie Fujiyama and Donna Dante), and the surviving Archies including Kevin Keller. Kevin and Dr. Clay Walker-Keller were Reggie’s husbands at the time of his death (a plural Gay marriage). 

Rising from his seat, Rikki Ninja hugs Kevin, Clay and Dante Carmine and steps up to the chapel podium. He delivers the first eulogy: “When I was sixteen and still known as Nancy Rochelle Fonseca, my parents disowned me for wanting to transition to male. Six months later, I was a homeless Transboy here in México City, alone and struggling. I got robbed, beaten and sexually assaulted.  Nobody cared; I felt like the whole world hated me!  I decided to commit suicide, but I wanted to see my idol in concert before I died. For years, I’d longed to see Gino el Huapangero perform live; this was my last chance.”

Ninja continues: “He was fantastic that night! I sneaked backstage to tell him so. His security guards were ready to rough me up, but Gino intervened and took me to his dressing room. We started talking, and he must have sensed something was wrong, because he wouldn’t let me leave. When I admitted that I was homeless, he insisted that I go home with him. Me, a dirty street kid he didn’t know from Adam! But he and his wife, the great ranchera songwriter Olga San Quentín, opened their hacienda to me. I stayed with them until I found a job and could afford a place of my own. That’s when I learned that Gino’s close friends and family called him Reggie, and I also found out about his time with The Archies.”


Ninja’s hazel eyes grow misty as he recalls: “During the year that I lived in México, we became very close. Reggie mentored me musically; thanks to him, I finally learned how to read music! He was my teacher, my big brother, my confidant, my father figure and just once, after I turned eighteen, he was my lover, too."  There are audible gasps from the crowd!  "I offered him my virginity and hesitantly, he accepted; but I was the one who got a gift. I felt beautiful in his arms; I felt strong! For the very first time, I was no longer ashamed to be a man with a vagina. Soon afterward, I moved to the United States to begin my music career. Never again did we violate his marriage vows, but we did keep in touch. He was absolutely thrilled when I joined The New Archies. Compréndeme . . . I’m not sharing such personal information with you for shock value. There’s just no other way to convey just how much Reggie meant to me!”

“Everybody knows what a great performer he was,” Ninja concludes, “but I’m here to tell you:  He was an even greater human being! Now that I’m older, I find that being there for people in need is very important. It's all because Reggie was there when I desperately needed somebody. He saved my life, and he helped me become a man. There was nobody else like Reginald Whitney Mantle III, and there never will be again!” Strapping on his portable keyboard, Ninja then plays and sings “To Sir, With Love” in Spanish as a tribute to his late mentor. Nobody who heard his hushed, heartfelt performance will ever forget it!

With Garcy Briseño singing lead, the entire New Archies group plays Reggie’s benediction. Intending to sing “Ave María”, Garcy decides against doing so: "I'd upstage Ninja, and that would be so wrong!" Instead, she opts for the original Archies’ theme song, “Say Goodbye To Riverdale”. She whispers instructions to her bandmates, yells “Uno, dos, tres, ¡vaya!” and they launch into a roof-raising rendition of the Billy Joel number. It gets the entire chapel crowd on its feet and cheering! “Papi would have loved it,” Dante Carmine tells them afterward. “He wouldn’t have wanted this service to end on a sad note.” His face wet with tears, Kevin Keller declares: “I swear, I heard my Reggie singing along with you!”

MAL HYPSTER FASHION SPREADBookScanStation-2014-09-28-01-29-27-PM

After the funeral, the members of the New Archies bid farewell to Sabrina, Salem, Nero the Dog and Witch Queen Studios, their longtime hub. Garcy Briseño will pursue a stellar solo career, while Mal Hypster will become a male model for the Toy Boy Agency.  Rikki Ninja and Toby Maxx will produce up-and-coming New Wave Hip-Hop acts. They’ve hardly gone their separate ways, though: With Chi now living with Toto and Garcy engaged to marry Chi’s sister Cass, more than musical bonds hold the group together!  

However, Sabrina feels abandoned. “I'm like a doting mother whose children have all grown up and left home,” she sighs, walking through Harvard Yard with her cousin Ambrose. Smiling, he squeezes her hand. “Just like a stage production, life has its intermissions, Bree. This is one of them; and I have a feeling the second act is going to be even more exciting than the first!”


Welcome back Donna Dante, 
and meet guitarist Lana Suzuki

25 September 2014

Mama Can't Buy You Love: Part One

MEET THE NEW ARCHIESBookScanStation-2014-07-05-09-18-07-AM

Sabrina + The New Archies
Mama Can't Buy You Love
Cartoons + Castanets presents yet another 
bawdy cartoon burlesque featuring 
fan art images based on 
Archie Comics Characters
Sabrina the Sorceress
Salem the Cat     Nero the Dog
The Abominable Miss Fang
Sir Ambrose Nixon
Lyle Jason Blossom
The New Archies:
Garcy Briseño . . . vocals, guitar
Donna Dante . . . vocals, bass
Frankie Fujiyama . . . drums
Mal Hypster . . . vocals, tambourine
Toby Maxx . . . saxophone
Rikki Ninja . . . vocals, keyboards
members of the original Archies
and introducing
Carmen Serna
The Wicked Witch Of New Jersey!
with cameo appearances by celebrities including
Trace Adkins, Justin Bieber, Anderson Cooper, Ron Dante, 
Bruce Frey (Professor Bubblegum), Drake Jensen,
Angelo Restivo and "Flo"
in adorable cartoon form
Burlesque written, directed and staged by
Donny Hampton Jacobs
for The Pop Culture Cantina

Part One:
The Curse Of Carmen Serna!
The Year 2037
Actress/director Benazir Bhooty (acquitted in 2028 of the murder of her husband, billionaire Jason Blossom) options a book for filming. The book is Adios, Amigos, Betty Cooper’s biography of The Archies, published in 2035. Disliking Betty’s title, Benazir calls her movie Say Goodbye To Riverdale and hires newcomer Donny Jacobs to write the screenplay.

She films his script at various locations in Spain and Latin America, with an all-Latino cast. Most of the actors she hires can’t sing, so of the cast, only Alberto Blanco (as Archie), Cruz Alvarado (as Jughead) and Isabel Cordova (as Toni Topaz) appear on the soundtrack album. It is recorded in Boston at Sabrina Spellman’s world-famous Witch Queen Studio, with her former bandmate Jonniemae Trouten producing (both were in The Bettys).


Bree herself sings Veronica’s parts on the soundtrack, and recruits session singers for the remaining parts. Among them are Malachi Hipp, formerly of the Country vocal group The Hypsterz (they once backed Archie on a solo album); Reggie Mantle's son, Dante Carmine; Garcy Briseño, daughter of Fantasy Records president Dilton Doiley Briseño (an old high school friend of Bree’s); and aspiring Latin Pop singer Carmen Serna. Like Bree, Carmen is secretly a witch; the two became acquainted at coven meetings.


Republic ST37-667
Sugar, Sugar (Barry, Kim)
Alberto Blanco and Bree Spellman with Taxi
Soul And Inspiration (Mann, Weil)
Cruz Álvarez and Mal Hypster with Mariachi Lowrider
Big City Miss Ruth Ann (Tom Lazoros)
Cruz Álvarez with Taxi
Throw Down A Line (Hank Marvin)
Isabel Córdova with Mariachi Lowrider
Hip Shaker (Barry, Greenwich, Spector)
Bree Spellman with Taxi
Spanish Eddie (Cochran, Palmer)
Jonniemae with Orquesta Chismosa
Love To Love (Neil Diamond)
Performed by Dante Carmine
(I’ll) Keep On Holdin’ On (Hunter, Stevenson)
Jonniemae with Orquesta Chismosa
Heavy Music (Bob Seger)
Lupita Lorenzo with Taxi
My Clone Sleeps Alone (Benatar, Capps)
Mal Hypster
Nobody But You (Barry, Greenwich)
Dante Carmine with Taxi
Sexy Motherf*cker (Prince)
Cortez Quintanilla with Orquesta Chismosa
Soul Deep (Wayne Carson Thompson)
Alberto Blanco with Taxi
Land Of Milk And Honey (Hurley, Wilkins)
Alberto Blanco with Cruz Álvarez and Mal Hypster
Save The Country (Laura Nyro)
Garcy Briseño and Alberto Blanco
Love Her (Mann, Weil)
Cruz Álvarez with Taxi
Made In Paris (Bacharach, David)
Alberto Blanco with Mariachi Lowrider
Deeper Than The Night (Snow, Vastano)
Bree Spellman with Cruz Álvarez and Mal Hypster
San Francisco (John Phillips)
Mal Hypster with Taxi
The Grass Will Sing For You (Bruno, Millrose)
Alberto Blanco with Taxi
Lady Jane (James, King)
Cruz Álvarez with Taxi
Stop! And You’ll Become Aware (Roger Okim)
Carmen Serna with Taxi
Jump Back, Honey (Hadda Brooks)
Mal Hypster with Orquesta Chismosa
Let’s Get It On Today! (Adams, Dante)
Alberto Blanco with Taxi
Say Goodbye To Riverdale (Billy Joel)
Cortez Quintanilla with Mariachi Lowrider
Republic Sound + Image presents
An Archies Incorporated Production
A Benazir Bhooty Film
Say Goodbye To Riverdale
starring Alberto Blanco
Cruz Álvarez     Maria Nita Rojas 
Silvia Amalia     Ramón Guy     Isabel Córdova
and Fernándo Buñuel as Reggie
Story by Betty Cooper
Screenplay by Donny Jacobs
Directed by Benazir Bhooty
Music Supervision: Alan Mayberry
Album Coordinator: Bree Spellman
Arranged and Produced by
Jonniemae Trouten
Conducted by The Foolkiller
Recorded @ Witch Queen Studios, Boston
and Discos Fuentes, Medellín
Chief Engineer: Yvonne Remy
Executive Soundtrack Album Producer:
Benazir Bhooty
#3 Pop Soundtracks


Say Goodbye To Riverdale is released to scathing reviews; Donny Jacobs’ screenplay is called the worst since the heyday of Ed Wood! But the fantastic soundtrack music draws the crowds to theaters, and excellent acting by Alberto Blanco and Fernando Buñuel as Reggie hooks them. Both the movie and soundtrack album become mega-hits!

Even before the film opens in theaters, Archie and Veronica Lodge-Andrews contact Sabrina with a request. After discussing it with all the other members of the now-retired Archies, they’ve agreed to let a new group carry on their musical legacy. “Bree, you’ve got great ears for singers,” Archie says, “and you pick the best musicians in the business for your projects. We want you to hold auditions for The New Archies!”


Sabrina consults her animal friends, Salem Saberhagen and Nero the Dog; delighted at the news, they agree to help her judge the auditions. “Watch that filthy language of yours, Salem!” Bree warns her sarcastic cat. “Whatever are you talking about?” he purrs. “You know butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth.” “That’s because you don’t like butter!” cracks Nero. (Bree’s pets don’t actually talk; as a witch, she is able to understand animal languages. At the auditions, she casts a spell so that mortal contestants can understand them, too; then they forget that they did so afterwards.)

Bree has definite ideas about the new band’s composition; she wants a multi-ethnic, mixed gender group from varying backgrounds. She also wants three lead singers. Bree would like to build The New Archies around the voices of Malachi Hipp (now calling himself Mal Hypster) and Garcy Briseño; she’s sure both can pass audition muster. Accordingly, she informs them of the try-outs ahead of time. She also tells Dante Carmine, but not Carmen Serna. "Carmen is a total diva!" Salem warns her. Besides that, Bree doesn’t think her voice is made for group singing. Naturally, Carmen resents being left out of the loop; but when the auditions are announced publicly, she decides to try out anyway.

Over 1,000 musicians show up! "No way!" Bree exclaims. "This isn't 'American Idol'!" She subjects them all to a heavy vetting process, cutting the number down to just 100 contestants. Just as she’d feared, Salem unleashes his potty mouth on them (“b*tch, you know you can’t sing!”), and dozens flee Witch Queen Studio in tears! Among the humiliated is Dante Carmine; but Reggie Mantle's singing and dancing progeny will later choreograph stage routines for The New Archies.


Bree takes pains not to show favoritism, but as she predicted, Mal Hypster and Garcy Briseño easily make the cut! Basically a Country/Pop singer, Malachi shows his versatility by rocking out to Suzi Quatro's "Can The Can".  Garcy's rendition of an obscure Carla Thomas beat ballad, "Every Ounce Of Strength" is so fabulous, it draws sustained applause from other contestants.  

Also chosen are drummer Frankie Fujiyama and Rikki Ninja, both members of Witch Queen Studio's house band.  Sabrina didn’t know they would audition, but was delighted that they did; Fuji comes on like a combination of Tito Puente and Ginger Baker, and even Salem is dazzled by Ninja’s amazing keyboard skills (“play that funky music, brown boy”)! Just as impressive is Tobias Maxwell, a young Jazz saxophonist from Sweden (“dude has a Rock ‘n’ Roll soul”, Nero declares). When all three judges give Toto the nod, Salem and Nero assume the auditions are over. “Not yet,” Bree says. “I want The New Archies to have six members! We’ve got to choose the third lead vocalist.”

Carmen Serna blows Sabrina and Salem away with her sizzling Latin chops; she puts the great Ricky Martin to shame with her version of his signature tune, "Livin' La Vida Loca." (However, Nero the Dog despises her voice and wants to bite her legs!)  Carmen is confident that she’s bagged the gig, but a pretty Punk rocker calling herself Donna Dante gets Nero’s attention. She strips down to a body stocking to perform the old Archies number “I’m In Love” and twerks frantically to the beat. Bree is offended (“we don’t need all that production! Just sing the damn song”), but Nero begs her to give the strawberry-blonde Black girl a chance. Although Sabrina feels that Donna’s voice needs polishing, she thinks it will blend perfectly with those of Malachi and Garcy. When Salem agrees, Donna Dante becomes the sixth and final member of The New Archies. Carmen storms out of the audition room in a rage; she vows to take her revenge on Sabrina!

DONNA DANTE JOINS THE ARCHIESBookScanStation-2014-07-05-09-19-26-AM

Sabrina’s house band breaks up when Rikki Ninja and Frankie Fujiyama quit to join The New Archies. Bree decides that Chi, Dee Dee, Garcy, Ninja, Toto and Fuji will be her new house band! "Just until I feel they’re ready to record and release their own material," she tells Nero. “It’ll be good experience for them!" The wonder poodle wags his tail in agreement; as her production assistant, he looks forward to working with them on tracking sessions.


Since all but Donna Dante are professional musicians, the transition is a relatively smooth one. Chi (that’s Mal Hypster) plays tambourine and also drums when required; Garcy is more than competent on guitar; and Dee Dee (that’s Donna Dante) plays Fender bass. Ninja carries over his role as house bandleader, leading New Archies rehearsals under Bree's or Nero’s supervision. Dee Dee struggles to match the skills of the other group members, and Bree occasionally wonders if she should have chosen Carmen Serna instead. However, as months pass, Sabrina finds her raw Punk attitude to be a good counterweight to the smooth professionalism of her bandmates; Donna Dante adds a spicy seasoning that keeps the sonic stew from tasting bland!

The petite Punkster also proves to be a quick study, and the enthusiasm she brings to rehearsals makes everybody else want to try for more. And then, there’s the excitement she creates when harmonizing with Garcy and Chi: It’s an ideal blend of alto, tenor and soprano voices! Their sound is so commercial, the trio soon becomes an in-demand background vocal unit. Within the music industry, Donna Dante, Garcy Briseño and Mal Hypster will become known as The Magic Circle. Ninja (who also hopes to sing lead) occasionally chimes in with a baritone part.

THE CURSE OF CARMEN SERNABookScanStation-2014-07-23-09-37-00-AM

By early 2038, The New Archies are starting to bond as a band. Sabrina observes how the members’ personalities mesh: Garcy Briseño can sing rings around anybody and knows it; she is rather conceited, and her ego-tripping sometimes rubs Donna Dante the wrong way. Dee Dee is coarse and streetwise in manner, but she’s basically a sweet and uncomplicated young woman. Chick magnet Frankie Fujiyama has eyes for her, and she’s crazy about him, too; in addition to his hunky body, she adores the way Fuji keeps everybody in stitches with his zany sense of humor. She can’t stop giggling when he shows up to rehearsals one day wearing nothing but a Grouch Marx nose and a pair of jock briefs! "My, oh my! How early the moon came out today!" Chi wisecracks.

Rikki Ninja grew up on the streets and has a potty mouth to match Salem the Cat! Dude is a control freak, always wanting things done his way; but the bossy exterior masks a shy Transsexual man who occasionally suffers from low self-esteem. Despite her self-obsession, Garcy senses Ninja’s vulnerability and is drawn to him. Toby Maxx (Tobias Maxell) is a highly opinionated political Conservative, with high standards for both himself and others; unfortunately, his alcohol problem finds him falling short more often than not. When Toto starts showing up drunk to rehearsals, Bree has to lay down the law with him!

Secretly Gay, the handsome Swede has fallen hard for the out-and-proud Mal Hypster; yet he's put off by Chi’s hedonistic lifestyle. “I’m horny nearly all the time,” Chi admits. “I like to shag a dude at least three times a week!” One day, Toto ventures up to the attic of Witch Queen Studio (the place is basically a haunted house) and is shocked to find Chi up there having a three-way with a vampire and a werewolf (friends of Sabrina)! When they invite him to “join the party”, he turns away in disgust: “How slutty can you get?”

Staunch Democrat Chi calls Toto a “tight-ass Republican prude”, and the two are often not on speaking terms. Dee Dee worries that they don’t like each other, but Bree knows better: Chi has confided to her that he wants to get Toto between the sheets in the worst way!


As the Witch Queen house band, The New Archies back up actor/singer Alberto Blanco on his début solo album as well as numerous other Bree Spellman recording artists. Most of these records chart, and a handful make the Top Ten! Finally, in August 2038, Sabrina feels they are ready to cut an album. She meets with the group to choose a song list; bossy Rikki Ninja comes with one already prepared! He’s also designated which songs he wants to sing lead on. Gently but firmly, Bree reminds him that the group has only three lead singers. The disgruntled keyboard player sulks while she and the other group members democratically choose the album repertoire.

Released as an optimum-fidelity download with downloadable artwork, the self-titled New Archies set features an eclectic mix of material reflecting individual musical interests and backgrounds. The Country Rock tunes are Chi’s suggestion; Garcy chooses the Soul ballads, which she sings with a smoldering Gospel feeling. Prompted for his input, Ninja grudgingly contributes some R &B stompers that Dee Dee relishes sinking her teeth into. She in turn brings some hard rockers to the track lineup, one of which (a cover of the Monkees cult record “Heart And Soul”) ends up being the first single. Toto suggests garage band favorite “Hang On, Sloopy”, which he and his dad often performed at jam sessions in Stockholm, while Fuji brings to Bree’s attention “Gemini”, an obscure Del Shannon song. Sabrina chooses one of her favorite Doo Wop classics, "Donna, The Prima Donna" for Chi to sing.  "That's my song," Dee Dee jokes.

It’s a good if somewhat disjointed album with more than a few standout performances. Bree can’t explain the hard resistance to radio airplay from programmers, or the public's cool indifference; and numerous high-profile media appearances don't generate any interest in the record. “We put out an album too soon,” she believes. “Timing is everything, and ours was wrong. We won’t be off the mark next time!” Her feline friend Salem isn’t so sure; he suspects foul play of some kind, and he’s right! Vengeful witch Carmen Serna has placed a curse on The New Archies’ recordings! None of them will sell worth a damn until and unless they stumble upon the secret key to undoing her evil spell . . .

Red-Bird 2000
Heart And Soul/Stand By The One Who Loves Me
(Byrne, Howell)/(Gately, John)
The New Archies featuring Donna Dante/
The New Archies featuring Mal Hypster
Produced by Bree Spellman
This single will never chart.

Red-Bird QUAD 7500
Don’t You Want My Lovin’? (Gamble, Huff)*
Donna, The Prima Donna (Di Mucci, Maresca)**
Call Me (Tony Hatch)***
Green River (John Fogerty)**
VIP (Bond, Johnson, Perry)***
Stand By The One Who Loves Me (John, Gately)**
Hang On, Sloopy (Berns, Farrell)**
The Bulldog Song (Leiber, Stoller)*
Down By The Lazy River (The Osmonds)**
Bad Moon Rising (John Fogerty)**
Yeah, Man! (Sam Cooke)*
Oh, How Happy (Edwin Starr)***
Gemini (Del Shannon)***
Heart And Soul (Byrne, Howell)*
The New Archies
The New Archies
*Lead Vocals by Donna Dante
**Lead Vocals by Mal Hypster
***Lead Vocals by Garcy Briseño
A Witch Queen Production
Music Supervision: Salem Saberhagen
Arranged by The New Archies
Conducted by Nero
Produced by Bree Spellman
Recorded @ Witch Queen Studios, Boston
Sound Engineer: Yvonne Remy
This album won’t chart initially,
but it will go Top Twenty when reissued in 2045

Red-Bird 2001
Yeah, Man!/VIP
(Sam Cooke)/(Bond, Johnson,Perry)
The New Archies featuring Donna Dante/
The New Archies featuring Garcy Briseño
Produced by Bree Spellman
This single will never chart

In the interest of keeping the group in the public eye, Sabrina arranges for them to appear on a TV special. Musical tributes to 20th century Pop acts will be commonplace from the 2040s onward; “High On Grass!”, a celebration of The Grass Roots' music, is one of the earliest of these shows. For the telecast, The New Archies perform “Come On And Say It” and “Baby, Hold On” with Donna Dante on lead; but for their special extended play album featuring songs from the soundtrack, they cut versions of “Sooner Or Later” (with Mal Hypster out front), “Heaven Knows" (a Garcy Briseño showcase), “Temptation Eyes” and “Midnight Confessions”. Rikki Ninja cajoles Bree into letting him sing lead on the latter two selections; he won’t record another lead vocal until the year 2041!

Red-Bird XEP-1227
Sooner Or Later (Bottler, McNamara, Paris, Zekley)*/
Temptation Eyes (Price,Walsh)**/
Midnight Confessions (Lou Josie)**/
Come On And Say It! (Warren Entner)***/
Baby, Hold On! (Price,Walsh)***/
Heaven Knows (Price,Walsh)****
Songs from the TV special
High On Grass!
Tribute to The Grass Roots
The New Archies
*Lead Vocals by Mal Hypster
**Lead Vocals by Rikki Ninja
***Lead Vocals by Donna Dante
****Lead Vocals by Garcy Briseño
Produced by Bree Spellman
This extended-play single will never chart.

Sabrina negotiates with financial backers to launch an annual music festival in Riverdale. The New Archies’ record label, Republic USA, is involved and Bree spends much of her time in planning meetings with Republic CEO Alexandra Cabot (now divorced from record producer Alan Mayberry). During this period, Salem Saberhagen and Nero the Dog all but take over day-to-day operations of Witch Queen Studios.

Relationship drama breaks out: Donna Dante and Frankie Fujiyama become an “item” and make plans to “shack up”. Garcy Briseño and Rikki Ninja become close friends; Ninja senses she wants to go further. Privately, he has misgivings about hooking up romantically with her; she's a butch Lesbian, and he’s made no secret of being a Transman! With good reason, he worries that Garcy might not fully accept him as male. Still, he doesn’t object when she starts asking him out on dates; before long, their relationship becomes physically intimate. Meanwhile, Mal Hypster and Toby Maxx continue to give each other a cold shoulder.


The New Archies continue to back other artists in the studio; by now, they’ve earned a reputation as top-notch session musicians. One of their clients is Carmen Serna, shamelessly using their services even while her sorcery stops them from having commercial success! Adding insult to injury, Carmen begins throwing herself at Frankie Fujiyama. During a demo recording session, she sits on Fuji’s lap and surprises him with a kiss. Enraged, Donna Dante gets in her face; only Mal Hypster´s intervention heads off a fist fight!

Hearing about the incident later, Bree reprimands Dee Dee for unprofessional behavior and suspends her from the studio for a week. “It’s for her own good,” she tells Nero. “Carmen has a terrible temper! She might hurt Dee Dee with her magic powers.” Bree also asks Carmen Serna to not to flirt with her house band, but this request is ignored. Fuji falls hard for the Jersey City sorceress and starts dating her up behind Dee Dee’s back! When she inevitably finds out, Donna Dante angrily cancels her plans to move in with him.  The sweethearts split up, agreeing to keep things strictly professional from now on.  "Dude will come crawling back," Salem believes, "when that Serna slut opens her legs and all the men she's shagged before him come tumbling out!" "Salem!" Bree reproaches. "Shame on you! You're no vestal virgin yourself, you know."

In April, The New Archies begin working on their second album. The process is less democratic this time: Sabrina mandates an album concept! “We’re going to cut songs by ‘60s Pop icon Tommy James,” she announces, “but only from his early ‘70s song catalog. These tunes aren’t as well known as 'Mony Mony' and other standards Tommy wrote, but they’re very commercial. I think they’re a perfect fit for this group, and I predict you’ll score several hits.”


The band members decide which songs from Tommy’s 1970s catalog to cut, but that’s the extent of their input. Bree imposes heavy-handed production values on this second outing: “She’s doing everything but actually singing and playing the songs!” Ninja complains. None of The New Archies are happy with these working conditions, but they can’t argue with the high quality of the material or the finished masters. “I sound fantastic,” Garcy beams. Dee Dee corrects her: “Don’t you mean we sound fantastic?” “Oh, honey, you sound OK,” Ms. Briseño replies condescendingly. Donna Dante feels her temper rising until she sees a smiling Mal Hypster wink at her and smile. Chi is a natural peacemaker; he has a way of smoothing out the rough edges of a volatile situation. An exception: His strained relations with Toby Maxx!

Along with Rikki Ninja, Mal Hypster is also one of Sabrina’s closest confidants; both have known her since they were teenage session musicians. At lunch with the two of them one day, she wonders aloud if it isn’t time to divulge her secret to everybody in the band. “That you’re pansexual?” teases Ninja. “No, smart ass! I'm sure they already know that” she scolds. “I want to tell everybody that I’m a sorceress. Do you think they’re ready for the truth about me?” Chi considers for a moment, then says: “I think they’ll all be cool with it, except maybe for Toby Maxx! Dude is so damn conservative, there’s no telling how he’d react.” Bree decides to chance it; after all, if Toto reacts badly she can always use magic to wipe her revelation from his memory!

At the next-to-last session for the band’s Tommy James tribute album, she “comes out of the closet”! Fuji chuckles: “So that’s it! We knew something about you was different, the way you interact with animals like you’re having conversations with them.” “We do have conversations,” Bree admits. “Witches can communicate with any species.” “Besides,” Dee Dee adds with a shudder, “the ghosts, vampires, zombies and other assorted ghouls that fall up in this studio are too real to be props!” “Oh, don’t mind them,” Bree smiles. “They’re all old friends of mine!”

Garcy shrugs: “You’re a witch . . . so what? Me and Chi are Gay, and Ninja is Transsexual. Everybody’s got something, honey!” Toby Maxx chimes in: “I’ve got something, too, but it’s not something groovy like being LGBT. I wish it were.” Pulling an AA ID card out of his vest pocket, he reveals: “I’m an alcoholic! You’ve probably guessed from seeing me sh*t-faced all the time. But I’ve finally decided to do something about it!” The studio breaks out in cheers and applause, Bree kisses Toto, and Chi surprises him with a big bear hug! Being so close to his secret crush urges him toward complete honesty. "By the way,” the heretofore closeted sax player adds, “I’m Gay, too!” More cheers erupt.

Red-Bird 2009
Mama Can’t Buy You Love*/Things I Should Have Said
*from the film Horndog Millionaire
(Bell, James)/(Barri, Sloan)
The New Archies featuring Mal Hypster
Produced by Bree Spellman
#17 Pop

Many Pop acts record at Witch Queen Studios, but its bread and butter is soundtrack sessions; filmmakers from all over the world come to Boston and cut their movie music there. Sabrina convinces an Indian director to dub a performance by The New Archies into his new film; she’s always looking for ways to promote the group! For the forthcoming sex comedy Horndog Millionaire, they cover Elton John’s classic “Mama Can’t Buy You Love” with Mal Hypster singing lead. Shortly afterward, Bree books Chi and his bandmates for the Riverdale Rock Festival, scheduled for mid-May. When they take the outdoor stage in color-coordinated outfits reminiscent of the Bay City Rollers, the audience applauds politely. Most people aren’t even aware that they’ve put out an album.


But sh*t starts jumping off when Chi, Garcy, Dee Dee, Toto, Ninja and Fuji launch into “Boys And Girls”, a Jeff Barry number popularized by the original Archies. Then they proceed to turn the Festival out; they just destroy the place! Dee Dee and Garcy drive the crowd into a frenzy trading Punk Rock guitar and bass licks. Fuji lays down a relentless dance beat that gets them all on their feet. Brandishing his portable keyboard like a machine gun, Rikki Ninja channels ‘70s glam rockers David Bowie and Gary Glitter; and the oh-so-Conservative Toby Maxx kicks off his boots, lays down on the stage and rolls across it while making his saxophone talk dirty!

Ladies in the audience go wild for Toto and Ninja, and Mal Hypster’s raw-edged Country Rock vocals appeal to all the good ol’ boys. By the time Garcy steps to her microphone and transfixes the crowd with a stunning version of “Lady Jane”, another number from the original Archies’ songbook, The New Archies have become the act to beat at the Festival. Nobody even comes close!

Carmen Serna is one of the other acts Sabrina has booked; when Garcy Briseño stops the show with her Rock ballad, she stands in the stage wings scowling. Turning to Alexandra Cabot, one of the Festival conveners, she asks: “Do you think they’re going to record that song?” “Oh, no,” Xandii assures her. “Garcy did want to, but Bree told her it wasn’t commercial enough. Besides, even though the audience seems to like it, I don’t think that’s a woman’s song, do you? Jughead sang The Archies’ version. Anyway, I’ve seen the album track lineup, and ‘Lady Jane’ isn’t on it.” Carmen seems relieved.

However, Garcy doesn’t give up easily when she bonds with a particular song; neither Hell nor high water will stop her from singing it! One week after the Riverdale Rock Festival, she convinces Sabrina to cut “Lady Jane”. Surprised at how good it sounds on playback, the Rock ‘n’ Roll sorceress adds the track to her already finalized lineup for Tighter! The New Archies’ forthcoming album. Like all the other songs, it was penned by Tommy James, so it fits the concept.

Red-Bird 2027
(James, King)
The New Archies/
The New Archies featuring Garcy Briseño
Produced by Bree Spellman
#9 Pop


When “Mama Can’t Buy You Love” breaks for a hit, Carmen Serna realizes her curse has been broken. Every evil spell must contain, for lack of a better term, a deactivation button! The curse Carmen cast on the band’s recorded output was unbreakable unless they remade a hit from the original Archies catalog. It was the last thing she thought they’d ever do; but just as she feared at the Riverdale Rock Festival, “Lady Jane” makes The New Archies viable again as recording artists. When released as a single in early July, it goes straight into the Top Ten, but it’s preceded there by the new album’s title track, cover of a 1970 smash by Alive ‘N’ Kickin’.  With The Magic Circle (Dee Dee, Chi and Garcy) joining forces on such a soulful tune, even Carmen’s black magic might not have been enough to keep it off the charts!  (The Archies cut a different song with the same title for the flipside of "San Francisco", their chart-topping 2030 charity single.) 

Red-Bird QUAD 7505
Tighter (James, King)*
Nothing To Hide (James, King)**
Love Song (James, King)***
Adrienne (James, King)**
Forty Days, Forty Nights (James, King)*
Meet The Comer (James, King)**
Bits And Pieces (James, King)****
Tell ‘Em Willie Boy’s A-Comin’ (James, King)***
Lady Jane (James, King)**
Dark Is The Night (James, King)***
Light Of Day (James, King)*
Church Street Soul Revival (Cordell, James)****
The New Archies
Sing the Tommy James Songbook
*Trio Vocals by Donna Dante, Mal Hypster
and Garcy Briseño
**Lead Vocals by Garcy Briseño
***Lead Vocals by Mal Hypster
****Lead Vocals by Donna Dante
A Witch Queen Production
Music Supervision: Salem Saberhagen
Arranged by The New Archies 
Conducted by Nero
Produced by Bree Spellman
Recorded @ Witch Queen Studios, Boston
Sound Engineer: Yvonne Remy
#10 Top Albums

Red-Bird 2032
Love Song/Ball And Chain
(James, King)
The New Archies featuring Mal Hypster
The New Archies featuring Donna Dante
Produced by Bree Spellman
#22 Pop

Red-Bird 2044
Lady Jane/Forty Days, Forty Nights
(James, King)
The New Archies featuring Garcy Briseño/
The New Archies
Produced by Bree Spellman
#5 Pop

The Tighter! album goes Platinum, a flurry of high-profile personal appearances ensues, and The New Archies earn a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Album, which will be announced in the spring of 2040. Even while they’re caught up in a whirlwind of acclaim, relationship drama continues: Garcy Briseño and Rikki Ninja are forced to admit that their romance isn’t working out. One night, after yet another unfulfilling sexual encounter, they lay side by side in bed feeling frustrated. Mutually, they agree to break it off. “It was my fault,” Garcy admits. “No,” Ninja insists, “it was mine.” “Whosever fault it was,” she says, “I’ll be devastated if we can’t be friends anymore. I’ll quit the band!” Ninja hushes her and holds her tight. “You’re staying in the band,” he states firmly, “and you’re staying in my life! You’re a very important person to me.” Garcy laughs through her tears. “That’s a great lyric! In fact, I think I recorded it (she did . . . it’s from the song “VIP”, found on The New Archies’ first album).” As years go by, these mismatched “friends with benefits” will get endless fulfillment out of a friendship without any; at least, not the sexual kind!

As one romance ends, another begins: Mal Hypster and Toby Maxx try to hash out their personality conflicts over dinner at Chi’s favorite tapas bar. Predictably, the dinnertime chat deteriorates into a heated political argument! They continue to argue in the car as Toto drives Chi home; by this time, the sax player is fairly tipsy. They both knew he shouldn’t have drank those daiquiris, but damn! That bar serves the best in town; and besides, who can eat paella without some wine to wash it down? Walking to his front door, an exasperated Chi turns to Toto and snarls: “You’re from Sweden! What the f*ck do you know about our American political system, anyway?”

Furious, Toto draws back a fist to punch him in the nose! Chi catches the intended blow in his own fist. Toby Maxx is immediately remorseful. “I’m so sorry,” he sobs. “I’d rather die than hurt you!” Chi is also crying. “I’m to blame,” he declares. “I should have stopped you from drinking, and I didn’t.” Five minutes after they start apologizing, their fists are still clasped together; neither one wants to let go! Ten minutes later, a trail of their discarded clothing leads upstairs to Chi’s bedroom.


By morning, tears of joy have replaced the previous night’s tears of regret. When Sabrina sees them acting snuggly with each other the following day, she pulls Chi aside. “It’s about time you two got together,” she grins. “I thought I was going to have to stir up a love potion!” As Mal Hypster tells her the juicy details of his first date with Toby Maxx, Salem the Cat overhears. “I’ve always found that boning a partisan adversary in the ass is an ideal way to soothe hurt feelings after an argument,” he drawls. “You’ve never boned anybody in your life,” scoffs Nero the Dog. “You know damn well that you’re a ‘bottom’!” Bree rebukes both of them sharply!

By June when The New Archies’ second album drops, Frankie Fujiyama finds himself missing Donna Dante. He reconciles with Dee Dee, even though Carmen Serna is still on his mind. After Carmen lands a record deal with the Red-Bird label (also The New Archies' recording home), the New Orleans-born sorceress hires him to play drums on an extended-play album celebrating the music of Fats Waller. Not telling his bandmates, Fuji flies to New York City for the recording session. When it ends after dark, she invites him to her Jersey City home for “something to eat”. Dude doesn’t stop eating panocha until the wee hours of the morning!

As Frankie Fujiyama lays sleeping next to her, Carmen admires the impressive size of his chorizote. “Donna Dante doesn’t know what she’s missing!” she smirks. Reaching for Fuji’s huevitos, the sadistic hussy grabs them in her hand and squeezes hard until he cries out: “Stop, baby! That hurts. Are you trying to castrate me, or what?” Cackling like the wicked witch she is, Carmen replies: “Fats Waller said it best: One never knows, do one? You’re mine, Frankie! You may sleep with a thousand other women, but you’ll always belong to me.”

There’s an element of danger with Carmen Serna that Fuji just can’t get enough of. He knows that if he stands too close to her flame, he risks getting burned alive; but he doesn’t seem to care!

Red-Bird 2067
Can’t Break The Habit/Wild One
(Dozier, Holland)/(Hunter, Stevenson)
The New Archies featuring Garcy Briseño/
The New Archies featuring Mal Hypster
Produced by Bree Spellman
#5 Pop

The record company wants another album on the market by Christmas. Once again exercising full creative control, Sabrina conceives an album “for the ladies”, designed to showcase the lead voices of Donna Dante and Garcy Briseño. It’s a long-overdue tribute to the Motown hits of legendary Girl Group Martha Reeves + The Vandellas.  Partially recorded at world-famous Abbey Road Studios after the group appears on British TV's "Ready! Steady! Go!" (revived after a decades-long absence from the air), Message To Martha will be Bree’s favorite of the four New Archies albums she produces. Dee Dee will be fond of it, too, even though the lead vocal she most wants to sing goes to Garcy!

“Can’t Break The Habit”, a Vandellas number that stayed unreleased for years, becomes The New Archies’ third Top Ten single. The original record never got finished, but Fuji, Toto and Ninja’s pounding rhythm and horn arrangement is straight out of mid-'60s Detroit: They tie up the glaring loose ends that undoubtedly made writer/producers Holland, Dozier and Holland shelve the track. Dee Dee shouts the infectious no-no-no-no-no refrain behind Garcy, and will always believe that her “hook” is what people who bought the single latched onto. Mal Hypster, who polished up the vocal arrangement, agrees; but of course, he’s tactful enough not to say so in front of The Divine Ms. B!

Red-Bird QUAD 7515
Jimmy Mack (Dozier, Holland)*
I Can’t Dance To That Music You’re Playin’
(Dean, Richards)**
Sweet Darlin’ (Richard Morris)***
My Baby Loves Me (Hunter, Moy, Stevenson)****
I Gotta Let You Go (Norman Whitfield)***
Love, Guess Who? (Paul, Shelby)****
I Promise To Wait, My Love
(Brown, Gordy, Johnson, Story)***
Nowhere To Run (Dozier, Holland)***
Motoring (Hunter, Jones, Stevenson)****
I’ll Have To Let Him Go (Mickey Stevenson)***
Running In And Out (Brown, Gordy)****
Tear It On Down (Ashford, Simpson)***
Wild One (Hunter, Stevenson)*
Message To Martha
The New Archies
Sing Martha Reeves + The Vandellas
*Lead Vocals by Mal Hypster
**Duet Vocals by Garcy Briseño and Donna Dante
***Lead Vocals by Donna Dante
****Lead Vocals by Garcy Briseño
A Witch Queen Production
Music Supervision: Archie Andrews
Arranged by The New Archies
Conducted by Nero
Produced by Bree Spellman
Recorded @ Witch Queen Studios, Boston
and Abbey Road Studios, London
Sound Engineers: 
Yvonne Remy and Ronnie Shelby
#16 Top Albums

Red-Bird 2074
Nowhere To Run/I’ll Have To Let Him Go
(Dozier, Holland)/(Mickey Stevenson)
The New Archies featuring Donna Dante
Produced by Bree Spellman
#31 Pop

Red-Bird 2091
Running In And Out/Sweet Darlin’
(Brown, Gordy)/(Richard Morris)
The New Archies featuring Garcy Briseño/
The New Archies featuring Donna Dante
Produced by Bree Spellman
#6 Pop


Even though it contains mostly obscure Vandellas tunes, Message To Martha sells Platinum largely on the strength of the third single, “Running In And Out (Of My Life)”. Garcy Briseño sounds more like Diana Ross than Martha Reeves, but her heart-wrenching vocal lands the Gospel-tinged ballad on radio playlists from New York to Hong Kong! Even though Dee Dee sings lead on the majority of selections, both she and Chi take a back seat to Garcy’s brilliant balladry. 

Mal Hypster is out front for infectiously danceable covers of “Jimmy Mack” and “Wild One”, garnering critical praise for both performances. Donna Dante rates plenty of kudos, too; just as Sabrina hoped it would, working as a session singer has honed what Dee Dee calls her "bay bay kid" singing voice into a potent musical instrument. Unfortunately, her funky and Punky rendition of “Nowhere To Run (Nowhere To Ride)” fails to meet sales expectations when released as a single.

In December, The New Archies fly back to Riverdale to take part in a Christmas charity show benefiting Riverdale Music Academy. Mal Hypster’s dad Timothy Garland (a Pop star in the 1980s) and his sister Cass fly up from Nashville to see the show. Also, Chi’s brother Jesse is the school’s CEO, so it’s like a family reunion for him.  (Chi’s other sister, Country star LaDiva Garland, can’t make it due to prior commitments). Dante Carmine Mantle directs the production, and in the audience are his dad Reggie and his two uncles, Kevin Keller and Dr. Clay Walker. When Dante's mother died, Reggie Mantle entered into plural marriage with two male friends; it was the biggest scandal of the year 2034, but since then, the trio have become celebrity advocates for polygamy.  Gino (as Reggie is now widely known) and Rikki Ninja greet one another warmly; they seem to have met before. 


As is their habit, the band performs a mix of original Archies hits with their own, along with a specialty number: “Jungle Boogie”! It features Rikki Ninja on lead. Stomping and shouting breaks out in the audience when, standing astride Ninja, Mal Hypster and Toby Maxx start Jerk and Twine-dancing to the song’s percolating rhythms! Their dance steps look totally spontaneous, but they were specially choreographed by Dante Carmine for this song. "If it looks easy when we do it," Chi later tells his dad, "that's how you know we practiced our asses off!" Dee Dee rocks the house to its foundations belting “Nowhere To Run” and “I’m In Love”; and after Garcy sings a closing medley of “Running In And Out” and “Lady Jane”, the applause seems to go on forever.

On the plane ride back to Boston, Garcy and Chi's sister Cass have adjacent seats. Friendly chat gives way to lively conversation and laughter. They exchange phone numbers. Cass, who operates a Lesbian bar in Nashville, will soon begin a long-distance relationship with Garcy.

Dee Dee and Fuji are sitting next to each other, whispering, snuggling, and occasionally kissing. “Looks like they’re 'on' again,” Ninja observes. “Maybe Fuji is finally over Carmen?” Chi scoffs: “Don’t bet money, honey! Nothing turns Frankie Fujiyama on more than a down 'n' dirty bad girl, and Ms. Serna definitely falls in that category!” Rikki Ninja feels bad for Dee Dee, especially since he’s got a secret “love jones” for her.

Sabrina poses a hypothetical question to her seat mate Toby Maxx: “What do you think about The New Archies starring in a Broadway musical?” “Fat chance!” he replies. “None of us are actors, and the only one with any kind of show music background is Garcy (the solitary high school glee club veteran in the group). Besides, it costs a king’s ransom to mount a Broadway production these days, doesn’t it? No producer would gamble all that money on us. No, Bree, it will never happen!” Sabrina smiles and turns away to look out the window. “Don't be so sure,” she thinks.


Sabrina's zany cousin Ambrose returns in