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
starring
Sabrina the Sorceress
Salem the Cat     Nero the Dog
The Abominable Miss Fang
Sir Ambrose Nixon
Lyle Jason Blossom
presenting 
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).

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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.

SAY GOODBYE TO RIVERDALE SOUNDTRACK0001

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
2037
#3 Pop Soundtracks

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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!”

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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.

NEW ARCHIES AUDITIONS0002

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.

FIRST STUDIO SESSION0001

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

2038
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!

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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
2038
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.

2039
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.

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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.”

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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.

RIVERDALE ROCK FESTIVAL0001

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
Tighter/Adrienne
(James, King)
The New Archies/
The New Archies featuring Garcy Briseño
Produced by Bree Spellman
#9 Pop

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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)****
Tighter!
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
2039
#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.

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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
2039
#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

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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. 

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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.

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Sabrina's zany cousin Ambrose returns in