Icon records Dukes song on new al­bum

South Waikato News - - ENTERTAINMENT -

It is fair to say that Christchurch mu­si­cian Matt Barus is a bit over­whelmed. Blondie, aka Deb­bie Harry, has cho­sen to record a Dukes song on her up­com­ing al­bum.

‘‘Dukes sup­ported Blondie and the Pre­tenders on their 2010 New Zealand tour,’’ Barus ex­plains.

‘‘Over three shows we got the chance to meet them and on the Waipara show they watched from the side of the stage. Chris Stein, their orig­i­nal gui­tarist, came up to us af­ter our set and said he loved our songs and asked if we’d be in­ter­ested in writ­ing some for their next al­bum. I thought he was just be­ing nice as mu­sic is full of nice peo­ple and prom­ises.’’

Barus said the group’s man­ager, Lor­raine Barry, kept in touch with Stein via email and Barus stud­ied up on Blondie classics, just in case.

‘‘I pretty much pulled out Par­al­lel Lines and tried to come up with a few songs that might fit that feel. My wife Lau­ren [LA Mitchell] came up with a killer bridge and off went two songs. Pretty much I didn’t hear from them for over a year and I thought that was the usual story.’’

Out of the blue, a lone email ar­rived that said Blondie’s band was work­ing with the Killers’ pro­ducer and they had worked up one of the songs, Wanna Drag You Around.

‘‘ Again, we didn’t

hear any­thing for ages and then we re­ceived an MP3 file on email that said ‘don’t play this to any­one’. And it was the vir­tu­ally un­touched ver­sion of my song but with Deb­bie Harry on vo­cals. So I knew it was real then.’’

Barus isn’t sure why that par­tic­u­lar song ap­pealed to Harry and jokes that he likes to think he nailed what it’s like to be in the head of a 60-plus new wave icon.

‘‘As for the pro­ject, the first we’ve heard is from an in­ter­view Blondie did in Lon­don where she sang our song in the in­ter­view and namechecked us. Wowee.’’

Barus says he got into mu­sic by go­ing to see live mu­sic at Dux Live and ‘‘hav­ing his head opened’’ by see­ing bands like Chameleon, Pump­kin­head and Jeremy Tay­lor’s ‘‘ amaz­ing’’ Cin­e­matic.

Barus’ first band was Deluxe­boy.

‘‘We begged Ross at the Dux to let us sup­port some­one. We were a Cin­e­matic wannabe band.

‘‘We had my brother, Jo, on bass, Adrian Palmer from Zed on drums, Devin Abrams from Shapeshifter on sax and me on vo­cals and very bad gui­tar. Prob­a­bly quite hor­ri­ble.’’

To­gether with wife Lau­ren, Barus has a new band called Ter­ri­ble Sons which fea­tures Lau­ren on vo­cals and pi­ano and Barus on acous­tic gui­tar and vo­cals, with per­cus­sion and oc­ca­sional dou­ble bass.

‘‘We’ve got an al­bum in the can but Lau­ren has to add vo­cals and her grand pi­anoplay­ing skills yet. It’s some­where in the vicin­ity of Si­mon and Gar­funkel, Peter, Paul and Mary, Serge Gains­bourg and Dr John.’’

Barus is firmly com­mit­ted to re­main­ing in Christchurch.

‘‘It’s a choice re­gard­ing pri­or­i­ties and my peo­ple here are fore­most, more than mu­sic. That’s scary to say be­cause ev­ery­thing de­mands us to be more, it seems like ca­reer sui­cide but we don’t subscribe to ‘ca­reer’. You choose your val­ues at the end if the day.’’ Fair­fax NZ

BLONDIE: Sings for Christchurch.

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