When: Sun., Dec. 27, 7 p.m. 2015
THE BONDSMEN | SUNDAY, DEC. 27
MOTORCO, DURHAM—The last time The Bondsmen played a show in their hometown of Durham, Richard Nixon was riding high in his first term. Formed in the mid-'60s by a group of junior high and high school students, The Bondsmen worked up more than 100 songs, had a regional hit and broke up under circumstances that band members have trouble remembering.
In fact, according to founding member Ken Haywood, he and his bandmates can find little consensus on key Bondsmen history as a whole. "Every time the group gets together and we're sitting around talking, someone will bring up some event or some gig, and someone else will have a totally different recollection of it," he says in a bemused tone.
The Bondsmen might have remained an obscure memory for a contingent of aging North Carolinians had it not been for Ken Friedman, a self-described music geek who got into the curating business in 1984 when he put together a compilation of 1960s regional rock bands called Tobacco A-Go-Go Volume 1. The set led off with The Bondsmen's smoking cover of Five Americans' "I See the Light." While these comps (there are now three volumes) attest to a vibrant demimonde, according to Friedman, The Bondsmen stood out.
"Making a2:30slab of fun was within the reach of many young bands," Friedman says. "The Bondsmen, in particular, had the chops, won contests and made two cool records.Fame and sales are fine, but absent that, talent is talent."
Though The Bondsmen received some late recognition among a rising garage rock community galvanized by the resurgence of specialty labels, it seemed unlikely the group would share a stage again. But that return occurred last June in Charlotte for a revue featuring acts from that distant scene. Somehow, The Bondsmen—all eight former members—were available. Turned out, each of The Bondsmen had continued to pursue music in the years since they parted, so they didn't have to work too hard to sound like their old selves. For their first Durham show in a half-century, catch another glimpse of their unfettered rockin' thrills. With Thee Dirtybeats. 7 p.m., $10, 723 Rigsbee Ave., Durham, 919-901-0875, www.motorcomusic.com. —David Klein