Jackie - March 15th 1980 - No. 845
'BLONDIE IS A GROUP'
A Jackie Pop Special on Blondie
PERHAPS Blondie's singles "Dreaming" and "Union City Blue" won't go down in history as the best they've produced, but for the band they marked an important step in their career. What was it about these records that made them so important? We spoke to Blondie's drummer Clem Burke and asked him to explain why he felt the single had been good for the band.
"For a while we had been taking our success for granted," he explained. "When you have singles getting to the number one spot regularly, you start to slow down and expect success.
"That's what was happening to us, so when 'Dreaming' didn't make it to number one, it shook us all up a little.
"That might sound a bit big headed, but really I'm delighted if any of our records reach the charts at all - if you start to take things for granted, you lose all the fun in them and the excitement."
Looking back on their career, what has been the most exciting time for the band?
"I think that has to be when we first started to be successful in Britain. We were in the middle of our tour in your country and we could feel that there was a buzz about us.
"That's how you should feel all the time about what you're doing.
"If we didn't still enjoy Blondie then we'd stop because there would be no point in carrying on."
NOT only are Blondie successful recording stars, they've now gone into the movies and made a film called "Roadie."
"We're in the film for about half an hour, and we really enjoyed doing it. And now that we have our union cards, we're considering doing our own Blondie film," Clem explained.
"We've been talking about various film projects over the last few months and one we have discussed would centre around the story of Blondie - although we haven't made any definite plans for it yet," Clem added.
"Debbie, of course, has also appeared in 'Union City Blue'.
"The song was written by Debbie, and it's her feeling about Union City, where she went to make the film."
Although we've all heard about Debbie and her solo projects, you might be surprised to learn that some other members of the band have also been "going it alone."
Clem is working on a solo EP which will feature some of his friends who are musicians but not members of Blondie!
"I think this sort of thing is good for a band," Clem said, "as I'm sure it will bring some definite changes in our sound. It will still be Blondie, but I'm sure our next album will surprise a lot of people."
BUT the band have had a few surprises themselves!
"When we returned to America after our first tour of Britain, we were feeling really successful. It had been a great tour, but no-one wanted to know us at all back home," Clem told me.
"Things take a lot longer to develop over there, and it wasn't until 'Heart Of Glass' was released that we started to get recognition in our own country."
As the Americans started to take to the band, Blondie discovered that they had a second hurdle to get over, as Clem explains:
"We wore badges for a while that read, 'Blondie Is A Group!'
"No-one wanted to speak to anyone but Debbie. I suppose it was our own fault for calling ourselves Blondie in the first place. We're not jealous of Debbie or anything like that, but we did get annoyed when people spoke to us without knowing who we were.
"We only wanted to be recognised for what we are doing as part of Blondie.
"Our British audiences certainly seem to know who's who, and on our last tour we really appreciated their loyalty.
"Britain has always been good to us and we hope that our pre-Christmas tour gave our fans back some of the fun they've given to us!"