Mirabella - March 1999 - NO. 95
Photo by Nitin Vadukal
FADE AWAY AND RADIATE: AFTER A SEVENTEEN-YEAR HIATUS FROM BLONDIE, HARRY SAYS SHE IS "MUCH MORE FOCUSED THAN I'VE EVER BEEN, AND IT'S VERY PLEASURABLE."
A DECADE BEFORE MADONNA DISCOVERED PEROXIDE, DEBORAH HARRY'S CAREER HAD ALREADY GONE PLATINUM. NOW FIFTY-THREE, THE LEAD SINGER OF BLONDIE HAS REUNITED WITH THE BAND AND INSTRUCTS BRUNETTE BRANTLEY BARDIN ON
If I said that, with Blondie, you were the Marilyn Monroe of punk -
[Interrupts] I would love you forever!
Well. you were, and since, after seventeen years, Blondie's back together with a tour and a new album, No Exit, it appears that you will be once more. But tell me, Deborah: How, at fifty-three only a couple of years younger than the very well-worn Messrs. Jagger and Dylan - do you look so damn good?
I don't know, genes? And, anyway, they lie about their age. I don't.
So you've accepted getting older?
I guess so - I mean, I haven't gone out the surgery window yet. Though I have done little tweakings here and there, my dear. But I'm sort of content with my imperfections. I think I was blessed with an interesting face and [embarrassed laugh], well, I really can't say more than that, can I?
But we can say that you're a survivor.
I'm not dead, so, yeah. I believe in longevity, and I have a natural tenacity to my personality. So you're stuck with me, hon.
Why - especially since you endured three not particularly successful solo albums before this reunion - did and do you keep plugging away?
I ask myself that question several times a day. But don't we all ask ourselves, "Why aren't I living in a little shack somewhere eating cans of beans and not competing in this big, disgusting world of lunatics?"
Yeah, but what's your answer?
I don't know how to do anything else! [Laughs] I mean, I've always liked working on technique, and I've gotten myself to a level where I really understand what it is I'm doing. So why would I develop myself to this point and then stop doing it?
Well, you know, Grace Slick says that "old people" shouldn't be onstage.
She does? Well, to each his peach. But, hey, what about George Burns?
Was it hard to keep going when you weren't selling?
It has been at times. But I can rationalize and say to myself, "Well, you are doing this," and there's adventure in that. It's a little scary, and I like that because it gives me some adrenaline and teaches me something.
So adrenaline and fear teaches?
Sure does - it gets you to climb that tree! [Laughs]
Well, you can come down from the tree now because No Exit is an amazing Blondie record. I was impressed it doesn't pander to "current taste."
Meaning it doesn't sound like a bunch of old panderers happy to be pandering again?
Um... well, since you put it that way, tell me, are you happy to be pandering again?
Yes. And we will pander until we die.
Probably. I'm a slut.
Speaking of which, does sex help the single girl get through the long haul?
Oh, absolutely - it keeps you ferocious and on the prowl.
Do you feel as sexy as you did in your "Heart of Glass" days?
Probably more so - and I can't explain why. It's like, once you learn to like it...
I can finish that sentence myself. So, Ms. Harry, it's 1999 and, having gone the distance, Blondie's back. What do you -
[Interrupts] Yeah, but who knows what the distance is? What I really want to do is follow the sun, get a big glob of that white stuff on my nose, and learn to surf. So if you think a fifty-three-year-old should not get up onstage, then you should really not see a fifty-three-year-old on a surfboard. And, honey, that's what's next.