Willard is the youngest was of four kids – brother Hal, and sisters Cathy & Caroline. His father, Harold, was a big country music fan and enthusiast; as a lad in northern Ontario, his brother played guitar while he called square dances. His mother, June, did not play but enjoyed what she liked and was supportive of the clan's interest in music.
By grade 7 Willard had developed an intense interest in building model tank kits until his brother Hal, who was in high scholl and playing in a Kiss cover band, informed him, "Will...Chicks don't dig guys that build models. You have to learn to play guitar." And so with his life savings of $197 – which had been earmarked for plastic Panzers – Willard purchased his first guitar, a Gibson SG, which had previously suffered a broken neck.
Guitar lessons followed as did two years in band class playing trumpet. In Grade 8 Willard formed his first band, Beelzebub. After performing with Beelzebub on the final day of Grade 8, Willard was hooked. He picked up other instruments as well: piano, (which his parents purchased “around” but not “for” his 15th birthday), French Horn, and String Bass. This then led to a stint with the Guelph (ON) Youth Orchestra, as well as a 7-piece jazz ensemble.
Then Willard discovered gear. A part-time job at K-Mart for the duration of high school funded his “gear needs”, which eventually included a 4-track reel-to-reel. “The concept of recording my own creations at my own house by myself was huge for me, and continues to be so to this day. I finished my first full-length home demo before the end of grade 13; by then I had an 8-track, which was a rather big deal. A long hard summer on construction made that possible.” Willard eventually produced five full-length basement tapes on his mighty Tascam. These proved an invaluable education.
Will's father passed away shorty after Will's 20th birthday. A few months later he landed his first recording studio gig. After the 3-month apprenticeship ended, his mother sent him to Chillicothe, Ohio for a condensed recording studio programme. Upon returning to Canada he secured a longer-term job at Elora Sound where he met folks like Loreena McKennitt, Daniel Lanois, Blue Rodeo, Rush, and Freddy Stone.
“I continued to make music at home, but at a much slower pace - its tough to work on my music after 12+ hour days working on someone else's.”
Elora Sound was later sold to Magnetic North in Toronto; Willard followed and began working in audio post-production. This change in focus to non-musical audio allowed him “more energy to create my own music again.”
Bond recorded and released his first professionally-recorded album "Men In the Moon" in 1991. Another first was a music video for the song "I Hope You Know" in 1993, which which was picked up by CMT Canada and put into heavy rotation.
Willard's mother passed in 1999 and sent him on a journey of another sort. “I spent 6 months living with a NY-based Kung Fu master learning high-level self defence. This included 4 weeks training with the US Marine Corps presidential guard detail, among many other interesting things. I spent my off-hours writing and recording demos. Dozens of them.”
Some of these songs would become "The Youngest Man in the World" (2009) and make up more than half of the of "The Happy Trail" (2011).
Willard began performing live again in the fall of 2010 to support the release of these two records. He also has an EP in the works for late-summer 2011 in support of our troops, with studio time booked this fall/winter for another full-length studio project with veteran producer Rick Hutt.