Collins' inspired, clever progressions and patterns were a vital part of such records as "Get Up, I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine." The group became the House Guests after departing the JB's, until Collins joined Clinton's Parliament/Funkadelic empire in 1971. He co-wrote "Tear the Roof Off the Sucker" with Clinton and Jerome Brailey and established himself so effectively that Clinton urged him to form his own band. Bootsy's Rubber Band emerged in 1976, a spirited ensemble that included Collins' brother Phelps ("Catfish"), as well as fellow James Brown bandmembers Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker, Joel Johnson, Gary Cooper, Rick Gardner, and Richard Griffiths. (Collins also featured his alter egos "Bootzilla" and "Casper, the Friendly Ghost" as part of the stage act.)
Collins recorded as both a solo artist and with the Rubber Band in the '80s. He also did some special projects, such as a 1984 collaboration with Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads — using the name Bonzo Goes to Washington — that produced "5 Minutes," featuring Ronald Reagan declaring nuclear war on the Soviet Union over a skittering rhythm track. In 1988, he returned on Columbia with the appropriately named What's Bootsy Doin'? In 1989, Bootsy was a member of the Bootzilla Orchestra on Malcolm McLaren's album Waltz Dancing. One year later, he became a featured guitarist and bassist with the dance music trio Deee-Lite, signed with 4th and Broadway, and also toured England with a group co-led by Parker and Wesley.