Q Award win­ners Deb­bie Harry and Chris Stein hand down their 10 Com­mand­ments.

The iconic new wave pi­o­neers and win­ners of Q’s Out­stand­ing Con­tri­bu­tion To Mu­sic gong, Deb­bie Harry and Chris Stein, re­veal their golden rules for liv­ing.

Q (UK) - - Contents -

BLONDIE

PLAY THE FOOL

Chris Stein: My favourite thing that I of­ten tell peo­ple is some­thing Deb­bie told me: “You can never make too big a fool of your­self.” It’s some­thing everyone should take to heart, be­cause some of the most pop­u­lar peo­ple in the world are com­plete idiots. Deb­bie Harry: If you can’t re­ally laugh at your­self, then you’re in re­ally big trou­ble.

DON’T HITCHHIKE (ES­PE­CIALLY WITH SE­RIAL KILLERS)

DH: Never hitchhike [ be­fore join­ing Blondie, Harry ac­cepted a lift from no­to­ri­ous se­rial killer Ted Bundy]. I was re­cently read­ing Car­sick: John Wa­ters Hitch­hikes Across Amer­ica and his ad­ven­tures were so un­be­liev­able that I walked away won­der­ing if he made the whole thing up. But I would def­i­nitely say don’t go hitch­hik­ing. Do I look back and think, “What was I think­ing?” No, I knew ex­actly what I was think­ing but I just got lucky. CS: Well, you got in the fuck­ing car! She got in the fuck­ing car any­way!

TRUST NO ONE

CS: What have I learned from being in Blondie for over 40 years? Trust no one! You need your in­ner cir­cle like the God­fa­ther had. Never tell any­body out­side the fam­ily your busi­ness. DH: It did get frus­trat­ing when peo­ple thought I was Blondie. At one point, I did say to everyone in the band that we should all bleach our hair and it shouldn’t just be me, but no­body was in­ter­ested. The only one who ever bleached their hair was Chris. CS: Yeah, but that was later on when my hair had all turned white any­way so I just wanted to even it out [ laughs].

GET LAWYERED UP

CS: If I could go back and give one piece of ad­vice to my 19- year-old self it would be: get a lawyer. If you’re deal­ing with some­thing where you have to sign some­thing you need to un­der­stand what the fuck it is.

DO WHAT YOU LIKE

CS: Which is what we were do­ing in Blondie. It was never based on what other peo­ple’s ex­pec­ta­tions were, it was just what we were at­tracted to. DH: We al­ways started that way. We liked a lot of dif­fer­ent styles so we just em­braced them all.

EN­THU­SI­ASM ONLY GOES SO FAR

CS: When I’m talk­ing to young peo­ple about do­ing mu­sic I al­ways tell them, “En­thu­si­asm is not enough.” You have to do your work also. A lot of peo­ple are just go­ing on adrenalin, which is part of the equa­tion, but you need to be able to master other things that might be more bor­ing. DH: Hard work, un­for­tu­nately. As they say, “[ puts on se­ri­ous voice] You have to pay your dues!” I of­ten hear kids who are only just out of school call­ing them­selves “ideas peo­ple”. Yeah, OK, 10 per cent of what you have to do is hav­ing an idea, there’s an­other 90 per cent!

AVOID MEM­ORY LANE

CS: New York is get­ting pretty cleaned up these days, but nostalgia is a trap too. You have to be able to move for­ward and em­brace what’s go­ing on as well. DH: I’ve been com­plain­ing about nostalgia for­ever. Who wants to walk down mem­ory lane? We’ve al­ready done it, why would we want to do it again? CS: I don’t know any­body who wasn’t at some point [ in the ’70s] com­plain­ing about how mis­er­able ev­ery­thing was. Ev­ery­body was al­ways bitch­ing about how dirty and shitty ev­ery­thing was. But still, it was nice hav­ing all the de­cay.

HAVE IN­TER­ESTS OUT­SIDE THE DAY JOB

DH: When you have other in­ter­ests it gives you room for in­spi­ra­tion. Sometimes you get into a lock­down frame of mind and it short­ens your vi­sion so hav­ing an al­ter­na­tive loosens you up. It could be any­thing – Chris had a great in­ter­est in wrestling at one point. CS: Was I com­pet­ing? No, I was just a fan but we used to go to the matches and all that stuff.

GET YOUR ASS KICKED, THEN WIG­GLE YOUR WAY THROUGH

DH: I re­cently read both Ron­nie Spec­tor’s and Iggy Pop’s 10 Com­mand­ments in Q magazine and thought, “Well, gee, I feel the same way!” You get to a cer­tain point in life where you get your ass kicked here, you get your ass kicked there, and you kind of fig­ure it out and you wig­gle your way through. That seems to be the way it is – if you’re de­ter­mined to sur­vive, then you will!

“Whowants down towalk mem­ory Er,wedo! lane?” Deb­bie­and Chris­back in 1977.

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