Blondie back at their best
ROM Madonna to Gaga and beyond, Debbie Harry provided the template for smart, rebellious pop singers through the ages with her band Blondie.
At 67, she’s still at it. Last year, a reconstituted version of the group featuring original members Harry, guitarist Chris Stein and drummer Clem Burke, released its ninth studio album Panic of Girls.
As the band prepares to head to Australia, Harry speaks from her home in New York in between dates on the group’s US tour with Devo. Earlier this year, the paparazzi mistook you for Lindsay Lohan. Were you flattered or insulted?
I’m completely flattered. I love Lindsay. The funniest thing about it is I was at the Mercer Hotel taping this thing with Lynn Goldsmith, who is one of the most famous female rock photographers of all time, and when we came out I thought they were yelling, ‘‘Lynnie! Lynnie!’’ Did you ever get that kind of attention with Blondie?
We did, and we didn’t. There was a time in the UK when we had No. 1 after No. 1. Believe me, they have paparazzi. So we did have that kind of thing there, but not so much here in the States. How are the tours different now than they were in 1979?
The technology has made it a lot easier than it used to be. It used to be so isolating because the only communication you had was a phone, and it wasn’t in your pocket. Performing these songs after all this time, do they still mean anything to you, or are you thinking about your dry cleaning when you sing
Absolutely not. It’s always fun. If there’s a song that strikes me as being something that I can’t relate to, then we don’t do it. So familiarity hasn’t bred contempt?
I wanted to just perform the new album in our show. Understandably, audiences want to hear the songs that have a meaning to them from years past. I’m the same way. When I go see Prince, I want to hear Kiss or Raspberry Beret and I’m somewhat disappointed if I don’t hear it.
It’s so great. I’m always surprised – and sometimes horrified.
Blondie, The Stranglers and The Saints play the Brisbane Riverstage on December 13. Tickets go on sale on Tuesday.
Blondie will tour Australia in December There are some great old clips on YouTube from the times you were on and
Do you ever watch them?