cover image Redbone: The True Story of a Native American Rock Band

Redbone: The True Story of a Native American Rock Band

Christian Staebler, Sonia Paoloni & Thibault Balahy. IDW, $19.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-68405-714-6

The origins of Redbone, a Native American rock band, is recalled episodically in this forthright, largely upbeat chronicle, anchored by interviews with one of the founding members, Pat Vegas. The story opens in 1962, as music manager Bumps talks Los Angeles–based Pat and brother Lolly Vasquez into anglicizing their last name to Vegas, because “white guys like to stick together.” Later, with the encouragement of Jimi Hendrix, the duo instead embraces their identity and welcome fellow Native American musicians Tony Bellamy and Pete DePoe into the fold. Redbone gains popularity, culminating in their 1974 million-selling hit, “Come and Get Your Love.” They also perform overtly political songs about Wounded Knee and become vocal about the grim conditions of Native American reservations. This political awakening is balanced with lighter episodes and trivia, such as when Pat accidentally calls the Queen of England “babe.” Though Redbone breaks up in 1975 due to a combination of internal tensions and music industry politics, the brothers soon retool and continue to play on. Throughout, Balahy’s loose, energetic drawings; imaginative layouts; and playful use of color make everything pop. It all adds up to an entertaining, enlightening history for music fans. (Sept.)