New York’s block parties beginning in the late ‘70s birthed many of NYC’s club legends, and DJ Bonds came up alongside these greats playing at events and clubs as the crossover between house, disco, electro, and hip hop gradually took different turns for different artists. Early experiences at Adam’s Apple, Baseline, and Copacabana led to bigger events featuring A-list hip hop talent like MC Lyte, KRS-One, Slick Rick, and many more, while hip hop and house music remained mutually relevant. After earning the respect of Grandmaster Flash, Red Alert, Professor X from X Clan, the great Bobby Davis of S.U.R.E. Record Pool, and others, Bonds went on to work with RuPaul and Larry Tee, Ralph McDaniels, David Bowie, Blondie, Public Enemy, Terence Trent D’Arby, and more and earned a residency at the legendary The World club. He became good friends with Larry Levan during these heady days, but the closure of the Paradise Garage in 1987, hip hop’s drift into hardcore away from its disco and funk roots, and the departure of friends like Levan and Robert Owens signalled changing times. Following the 1989 Happy Lands fire and the closure of The World and other clubs he played at the time, Bonds left for Detroit.
Motown initially proved underwhelming after New York, then the unquestioned club music capital of the world with unparalleled infrastructure and technology. An early meeting with Al Ester led him to Ken Collier on Robert Owens’ recommendation: seeing Collier at Heaven finally compared to his NYC expectations. Ester introduced him to Norm Talley: the three have been friends ever since, but practical matters took precedence as he earned his audio engineering degree at the Recording Institute of Detroit, raised his family, and recovered from serious health issues that left him nearly blind for a time. In the 30 years he’s known Ester and Talley, they’ve produced their own parties and kept DJ Bonds abreast of new music through his semi-retirement. Since 2020, he has played alongside Norm at Motor City Wine in Detroit, rebuilt his studio and again began producing his own music, while remaining dedicated to the vinyl ethos he learned from his heroes Grandmaster Flash and Larry Levan. Combining four decades of DJing and studio experience from two of the most important cities for dance music, as an original house music influencer DJ Bonds is returning to his first love with veteran experience and undiminished passion looking towards the future.