conducted by Sir Norin Rad (The Intruders Crew / Germany)
on July 9th, 2017
Norin Rad: "Where did you live at when you started going to Kool DJ Herc's parties? I mean in which street and which part of the Bronx did you live at?"
James Bond:"Well, I lived at 183rd street and Walton Avenue."
Norin Rad:"Alright and which part of the Bronx is that? The West Side?"
James Bond:"No! That's like the East Bronx."
Norin Rad:"So Kool DJ Herc was your first exposure to a Hip Hop DJ rocking a party, right?"
James Bond:"Ok now...In the beginning I never heard of Kool Herc! I wasn't even a B-Boy then..I heard of a party. It was a party at this famous club called The Twilight Zone which was on Jerome Avenue and Burnside. Kool Herc was giving a party there. So I never knew Kool Herc I just heard this is a party you gotta go to. I'm like 15 years old. I'm like,"Yo, me and my friends we're underage but we wanna get to this party!" So me, my friend Vinny and my friend Tony we went....because The Twilight Zone is walking distance from my house on 183rd and Walton Ave... it's maybe five blocks from there. That even made me wanna go more 'cause everyone was talking..You're young and you hear everybody talking, "You gotta go to this party!!!Kool Herc!!! Blah blah blah! Kool Herc!" So we went to the party! So I get into the party...go up the stairs 'cause it was a ballroom but you had to go upstairs to get to the party. Me and my friends we were amazed! I had never been to a club before..I'm 15..I'm looking around and I'm like,"Oh my God!" I see the strobe lights, I see people breaking. I'm like, "Holy Cow!!!" Like a kid go to a club, you know your first time and like,"WOOOW! (laughs) We're watching the people dance cause really you know we're pretty shy, we're young and I see this guy Bobo. Bobo started breakdancing and I was sooo taken by his moves!!! I was like,"This guy is amazing!" I didn't see The Nigger Twins yet, I didn't see Clark Kent but I seen Bobo. And I couldn't stay late 'cause we were 14, 15 years old. I had to leave early but I know I got into that party! So I started talking to Bobo... I told him,"I want you to teach me how to dance!" He was laughing 'cause he was amazed that somebody was so into his moves, you know?! He was like, "Yeah, I teach you!" We became friends, he gave me his adress and everything. And he lived around the corner from DJ Smokey but he used to go to Kool Herc's parties. Now I was from what is considered Uptown.. I was in like a middle class, not upper middle class but like a good neighbourhood. Where Bobo and The Twins and Clark Kent and all those guys...they lived in a more rougher area.. the South Bronx side."
Norin Rad:"I heard that was called The 9, right?"
James Bond:"The 9, right. They lived down there by The 9. Bobo lived on the Concourse but he lived Downtown on 168th Street. So that was pretty rough, too, at that time back then comin' up. I lived all the way Uptown on 183rd which was pretty nice. My parents wasn't playin' me goin' out, they was stayin' on me for school.. So it was like, you know, different because they were going to Kool Herc's parties before me, you understand? Because they were younger, they were badder, they were, you know, their parents weren't like on top of them in a good neighbourhood like they were in a bad neighbourhood, you understand what I'm sayin'? So anyway Bobo and me became friends and I started going to his house. Now Smokey lived around the corner from Bobo but in his apartment was like a hang out apartment. He had DJ equipment and people would go up there and he lived on Grant Avenue & 169th. And they would dance there and practise and that's where Bobo taught me his moves!!! So Smokey taught me his moves and I started learning so I got it down pad and then I was pretty good at the moves. So now I'm ready to go to Kool Herc's parties and make a name for myself. I know it sounds funny but as a young kid everything is exciting, you know?! The girls they love the B-Boys. It's a big thing! Everyone could get recognition, people know you. You're like a celebrity in the Bronx."
Norin Rad: "So Bobo taught you the basics of breaking at Smokey's apartment, right?"
James Bond: " He taught me everything! I learnt everything from Bobo. Now Bobo was a B-Boy but Bobo was into criminal stuff. He was robbing people so he didn't really get to be a Kool Herc B-Boy because he was always in jail. I started dressin' like him. People said we looked alike. So I just took over from Bobo. Bobo was pretty bad, Bobo was a baaaad dancer then (laughs)! So yeah, he taught me everything at Smokeys house."
Norin Rad:"Do you recall the first time you would go off at a Kool Herc party? Was that also at the Twilight Zone?"
James Bond:"I'm comin' to that now (laughs)....Okay, so now I learnt the moves, people have started to say that I'm good. So now Kool Herc gives the famous block parties he gives...he gives the block party around his sister's way on Sedgwick Avenue. I'm gonna tell you the names of all the original B-Boys, okay? Trixie was a close friend of Herc and he used to dance. He wasn't all that good but he was good, you know? If Herc said your name over the microphone then you you were supposed to be pretty good. But anyway Trixie had a sister named Kimmy who used to breakdance and it was Trixie, Kimmy and Rossy..they all in the same family. But anyway Kimmy was dancing with the guy 'cause now when you're a Herc dancer people wanna challenge you 'cause they wanna be a B-Boy. So, you know, you gonna get challenged constantly, you understand what I'm saying?? You gotta be practising and I'm talking we practised!!!! I used to be at Smokey's house almost everyday, goin' downtown to see Bobo
and he's teachin' me different moves and this and that. Now my friends Vinny and Tony they would stay up in the neighbourhood in 183rd and I used to travel downtown by myself. So anyway we at this block party and it's packed. Kool Herc is tearing it up, it's rocking!!! I'm talking like maybe 300, 400, 500 people there and Kimmy started dancing with this guy and he started burning her. So I jumped in and I burned him!! I did one of my favourite moves that you drop on the ground, you turn around, then you act like you're masturbating, then you come up and you put it in his face...anyway, the crowd went ballistic!!!! We were dancin' to James Brown "Give It Up Or Turn It Loose"The crowd took me in the air! The first time I ever experienced this as a kid!!! And they were chantin' my name, "James Bond!!! James Bond!!!"
It was unbelievable!!! I can remember this just like it was yesterday...Herc recognized me, he saw that people started knowing James Bond...because when you're a B-Boy the people wanna see you dance.... but the main glory is Kool Herc to say you're name over the mic! So that was like the GOD thing right there! If that happened you were like GOD and thats it!! And then Kool Herc started sayin' my name, I started goin' to all his parties...I got to meet him. He started sayin' my name, "James Bond is in the house!" And that was it!"
Norin Rad:"So where did you get that name James Bond from? Was it given to you? Or did you choose it?"
James Bond:"I think Kool Herc gave it to me because my name was James, my real name. So I guess he just added the Bond 'cause James Bond was very famous with the movies and that's how the name stuck with me. James Bond is in the house, yo!!!! Now the original B-Boys in this order is how I'mma call it out to you from Kool Herc! Number one...but I'm having a debate on the number one.. I think Clark Kent was number one but they always used to say that Sasa was number one. Clark Kent was number two. The Nigger Twins was number three. James Bond number four. El Dorado Mike number five and then Bobo....because he was always in and out of jail so you know? But those were the five original Kool Herc B-Boys..in that order!!
Norin Rad: "Ok, but..."
James Bond: "Go ahead!"
Norin Rad: "I see you're leavin' Trixie out of that list. Why is that?"
James Bond:"Trixie was tryin' to be a kool guy... at a turning point. Like some guys felt like dancing on the floor and gettin' your clothes dirty.... they was starting to feel like they was gettin' to old for that. They was starting to see the kool girls, you know? The kool people liked to see us dance but they was starting to grow up. People were like, you know, trying to be mature. So they was like the upper class. The B-Boys wasn't the low level we were just into something different. 'Cause we were still kids, you understand?! These people are starting to turn 17, 18, 19 so they are seeing different things in their lives. But we still like 14,15,16..we still kids, we're having fun dancing and it was popularity. We would go to different places and people would know who you are..."That's James Bond!!!!! That's the Nigger Twins, yo!!!"I'm talking from Manhattan to the Bronx! So now Kool Herc moved up. He started giving parties at The Executive Playhouse. These are all on Jerome Avenue but now The Executive Playhouse is down by 174th street and Jerome Avenue, the Twilight Zone is on Burnside that's close to the 80ies (streets). So now Kool Herc is giving a big party, you know, and Kool Herc when he was giving his parties he would give it like every two months. So everyone couldn't wait for his parties to come. Everyone is saving their money and getting their outfits ready! It was like,"Kool Herc is giving a party on August 15th!!! Yo, don't forget August 15th!!!"So everyone would talk about it for months. So then we was at The Executive Playhouse.. I was a B-Boy, El Dorado Mike, all of us would be dancing over there.. Now the Twins and us we used to battle a little bit but we became friends because we was all dancing for the same DJ. So it was really like different people trying to become a B-Boy battling us. So it really wasn't too much of us dancing against them like me against The Twins or me against Clark Kent...it was more like a nobody trying to get up and dance against one of us. We were constantly fighting for our reputation to keep it. So now this guy from Uptown where I live named Crusher he wanted to battle with me. So they put on the music...and Crusher is dancing with me and he has on a white turtleneck and I have on whatever...I can't remember but the reason why I'm saying I remember his white turtleneck is because I did a Get Smart Routine on him. 'Cause you know when you're practising you're always trying to learn a different routine..'cause you always gotta upgrade your moves 'cause you can't do the same moves every party... you know then it gets like boring or the people that you're battling know what you gonna do and they'll do something to counter react. So you always got to think of some new script to do. So I was dancing with Crusher and it's packed! I'm talking Kool Herc got this place packed..he went like, "Here comes the B-Boy James Bond!" And now I'm out there dancing doing my thing and Crusher is dancing with me and he did some old funny thing and then I went into my routine..I went down, I slid on the floor... I had my sneaker untied so I took it off like I was dialing a telephone like Get Smart and then I got up... I'm doing The Robot walking towards Crusher and I hit him on the turtleneck with the sneaker but I didn't mean to put the sneakerprint on his shirt but the sneakerprint came on his shirt and the crowd went wild!!! He wanted to fight. They broke it up 'cause you know I had a lot of people, my mens and everything.....but the sneakerprint..the people will never forget that day that I put the sneakerprint on Crusher's shirt...'cause he had to leave the party afterwards 'cause I guess he didn't want to walk around with a sneakerprint on his shirt for the whole night (laughs). But that was amazing and people went talking about it all over the neighbourhoods of the Bronx and Manhattan. "James Bond did The Get Smart!"
Now the difference with me was I would go to Smokey's parties, The Twins would go to Smokey's parties but like some B-Boys from the West Side wouldn't go. Now we gettin' older now this is like maybe a year and a half, two years later now...There was DJ Smokey, there was DJ Grandmaster Flash, there was DJ Afrika Bambaataa...those were like the main DJs in the Bronx and of course DJ Kool Herc. Now I use to dance at all their parties. Like The Twins.. a 169th Street & Washington Avenue...they had like a little problem with the people from Bronx River and that's where Afrika Bambaataa was. Like The Twins and Clark Kent wouldn't go over there to their parties but I would go over there and dance. I was gettin more popular that's why people would say, "James Bond is popular!"
Norin Rad: "From what I've heard back in the early days doing routines while dancing on top was an important part of breaking . Could you please like two or three routines that you did besides The Get Smart Routine?"
James Bond:"Yes..okay..so The Get Smart I did at The Executive Playhouse...Another move that's very famous that Bobo did was like The Rubberband....Now I never did..like The Twins would go on the ground and spin. They were famous famous for that but I didn't do that. I had other moves that were equally powerful but not that. Because they [The Twins] were little they could do it better, you understand? When you're short..they're like 4 feet something both of them... it's easy for them to go on the ground and spin on the bottom. I had a move called The Get Smart, then I had a move called The Rubberband where I would like..I can't explain it but I used to lift my leg up, jump up and then I would land on the ground with my leg outward and then I would do like a masturbation thing and then I would jump up spin around with my hand on the brim of my hat. That was my signature move right there!
Norin Rad:"So that was called The Rubberband?"
James Bond: "To me that was The Rubberband. Bobo taught me that and I used to say, "He looks like a Rubberband! How can he move like that???" I said, "I want you to teach me how to do that!"It was like your body was limp...What else I did ? I try to remember..Some of them I didn't have names for but I would just make them up as I was going along. 'Cause when you're dancing and you start dancing constantly you think about something else to do, you understand what I'm sayin'? But those two..put down those two!! I was well known for being a crowd pleaser and the better part about me was. you see the other guys grew up in th ghetto..El Dorado Mike, The Twins, Clark Kent they grew up in the ghetto so they didn't really have clothes. Me I grew up Uptown and my parents cared about how I looked..So I would always be dressed pretty nice, you understand what I'm saying? So people see me..on top of being a B-Boy I was pretty sharp!! So it made everything look like, "That's James Bond!" (laughs)"
END OF PART ONE.....