NME - 26th January 1980
Blondie for end-of-year return tour - THEY TELL NME
BLONDIE intend to return to Britain in a year's time, at the very latest. That's the message they gave NME readers as they flew back to the States, at the end of their triumphant 1979-80 tour. Said Chris Stein, when I caught up with the group at the AIR studios in London's West End: "It could be less than a year, but we had such a ball here this Christmas that we're already thinking in terms of another visit over next Christmas and New Year period."
He added that next time they come they'd like to concentrate on stand-up venues, playing a string of dates at each one.
"Much as we appreciated the reception we got on this trip, we think we're more suited to the intimacy of having the audience clustered around us, rather than the more formal setting of somewhere like the Hammersmith Odeon," he observed.
Any chance of their coming back earlier, maybe to play a summer festival? Debbie Harry clearly didn't welcome the idea. "Our experience in the States is that they're usually a rip-off, and the chances are the weather's terrible. And we've been conditioned against them because, back home, so few people are going to open-air events on account of the petrol shortage."
So it's looking like late autumn again - though, admittedly, their 1980 schedule is flexible. In fact, to be honest, they have no firm plans at all for the year.
"Our first priority is to look for a suitable film project, with Debbie starring and me providing the music," explained Stein. "And I'm also getting involved with producing other acts, like The Lounge Lizards."
"I wanna spend some time working with young artists," chipped in Debbie. "We'll also be involved this spring in helping to compile the official authorised Blondie book. But apart from that, we don't have anything specific coming up. You could say it's going to be a year of experimentation, rounded off with another UK visit."
Although Blondie topped the 1979 NME Chart Points Tables in both singles and albums, and could conceivably repeat their singles achievement in 1980, there seems little chance of the band heading the LP list this year. Because at present they have no plans whatever to record a new album.
"Why push it? There's no hurry," said Stein. "I think you'll find that the gap between 'Eat To The Beat' and the next album will be considerably longer than the gap between 'Parallel Lines' and 'Eat To The Beat'. But we'll certainly get round to another LP some time this year."
There's also talk of a live album, and they already have tapes of their January 12 concert at Hammersmith. Which is why they were at the AIR Studios - editing and mixing those tapes for use on America's ABC network. "Some of this Hammersmith material may also turn up as B-sides of future singles," revealed Stein.
The next official single is expected to be 'Atomic' from 'Eat To The Beat'. Apparently, when it was originally recorded, it ran about seven minutes and had to be edited in order to fit on the album. But a somewhat longer version is envisaged for the single, plus a full-length 12-inch.
The follow-up single will probably be 'Call Me' - the title track from the new Giorgio Moroder movie, which Blondie perform over the film's opening credits - though this is dependent on exactly when the picture is released in this country.
As far as other films are concerned, Debbie's non-singing showcase Union City should open in February or March - and according to Stein, there's a chance that it may be premiered first in London, rather than New York. Then there's The Roadie starring Meatloaf, and featuring Blondie as themselves in a 30-minute guest spot (including their interpretation of the June Carter standard 'Ring Of Fire'), as well as guest appearances by Alice Cooper and Roy Orbison, among others - that's due out in the spring.
But the main object, as far as movies are concerned, remains the finding of a creditable musical vehicle - either for Debbie, or for Blondie as a whole. And they'll be devoting much of 1980 to this aim.
Around November time, we can also expect to see the advent of a 'Greatest Hits' album - which could prove to be a shrewd move, as they should have the market pretty much to themselves. After all, practically everyone else released their compilation albums last autumn!
So now they've gone, after an incredible tour - during which some tickets changed hands for as much as £80 apiece, irrespective of the panning their concerts received from certain critics (including two NME writers). But as Chris Stein commented with a wry smile: "We've learned to accept the fact that, at every show, there's always someone who's right while 3,000 others are wrong."
Afghanistani Angela Rippon: "What do you think of our country, Senator?" Visiting US big knob: "There's too many goddam miserable Russian bastards for my liking, missy." Well, thank God he's not in politics. It is, of course, the loveable American entertainer Meathead being interviewed by a well-known blonde pop singer in a hilarious scene from the forthcoming rock movie millstone The Roadie. Funnily enough, this is just one of many films not mentioned in this week's Rock'n'Role featurama (pages 21-25). Pic: Neal Preston.