CLEAR LAKE — One artist playing the 2013 Winter Dance Party got his stage name from a government savings program.
Gary U.S. Bonds, born Gary Levone Anderson, is a rhythm and blues and rock ’n’ roll singer.
He takes the Surf stage for the annual celebration on Thursday, Jan. 31.
Bonds was living in Norfolk, Va., in the 1950s when he began singing publicly in church and with a group called The Turks.
He joined record producer Frank Guida’s Legrand Records label and Guida changed Anderson’s name to U.S. Bonds in the hope that it would be confused with a public service announcement advertising the sale of government bonds and lead to more radio airplay.
Bonds’ first three singles and first album, “Dance ’Til Quarter to Three,” were released under the U.S. Bonds name, but people mistook it for the name of a group. So to avoid the confusion, subsequent releases, including his second album, “Twist Up Calypso,” were released under the name Gary (U.S.) Bonds; the parentheses were discarded in the 1980s.
Bonds’ first hit was the song “New Orleans” which was followed by “Not Me” and then by his only No. 1 hit, “Quarter to Three,” in June 1961.
This is Bonds’ second trip to the Surf. He played the Winter Dance Party in 2002.
The Surf crowd can expect a lot of good, old- fashioned rock ’n’ roll, Bonds said.
“That’s what we do. We’ve been doing it now for 50 years. I don’t think we are going to quit now,” he said in a telephone interview from his home on Long Island, N.Y.
Bonds said technology has changed the recording industry.
“It’s absolutely amazing now. I can’t imagine what we would have done if we would have had that back there in the late 1950s and 1960s,” he said. “When I recorded, we recorded on two tracks and now I have a 124- track in my home studio. I just go downstairs to my basement studio and do amazing things down there. You couldn’t do them back in the day.
“It’s nice to not have to travel. If I think of something, I can immediately get into it as soon as I can get downstairs.”
Bonds does about 50 shows a year.
He is not surprised by the continued popularity of music from the 1950s and 1960s.
“It’s fun music, at least what I do,” he said. “When I go into the studio, I go in with a smile and hope to come out with a laugh.
“We just have a great time doing that.”
* Surf Ballroom Museum Gift Shop, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and 7 p.m.-close.
* All-day Surf admission: (8 a.m.-4 p.m.): $5 for general public, free for Winter Dance Party ticketholders.
* Rockin’ & Boppin’ Record Show Early Bird Sales, 5-9 p.m., Best Western Holiday Lodge, 2023 Seventh Ave. N. Free admission, open to the general public. Dealers from all over the United States.
* Winter Dance Party Family Sock Hop with Denny & The DC Drifters, Surf Ballroom. Doors open 7 p.m. Tickets: $7 advance/$10 at the door (children 5-under free). This is a separate ticket from the Thursday through Saturday ticket.