Record Mirror - May 22nd 1982 - page 4
Written by: Simon Hills
These roots were made for working, as DEBBIE HARRY found out after four years with a platinum rince. Now a new look BLONDIE are back with a wig and a promise, as they tell SIMON HILLS in New York.
WHATEVER HAPPENED to Blondie? Debbie Harry's peroxide blonde has turned back to its natural auburn colour. And it's only a series of wigs that have stopped the group turning their name to, er, Brownie?
Over the past months there's been a silence from the group, punctuated only by rumours of a split.
Now the group are back again with an album, a book, a hit single and... yes, even a tour is promised!
So why the silence?
"I've been having an affair with Nigel, but for God's sake don't print that!" quips a quiet DH. "You know, it's got really strong and all... but just don't mention it!"
OK, Debs, we didn't. So what about the new image?
"It hasn't always been the same, it's always been a mood.
"Everyone in the band has got a better sense of everyone else's style and we are able to draw out the best characteristics, so each one has got stronger.
"I did find that people didn't treat me as a person - just a sex symbol - but that has changed now."
Debbie Harry is now accepted in the establishment rock and roll art chic circle of New York. This hasn't always been the case.
In a new book, 'Making Tracks', she traces the history of herself from the days when she was a mere punkette trying to make it big in the heady times of the early seventies. And it's helped out by the inclusion of previously unseen photographs taken by Chris Stein - her lover for eight years.
Debbie was adopted at the age of three months, and claims that she always thought she was Marilyn Monroe's child. And Chris Stein even says that she could have originated from a race from another planet.
"I felt related physically to Marilyn Monroe in the early days," she says. "But you shouldn't take all that stuff too seriously, it was really an introductory thing.
"All the material early on in the book is trying to make light of all the success and my ambition. I do have a sexual projection - and I've always known it.
"It's hard to define what it is, because it really has just reflected my mood and the mood of Blondie. So the pieces that are written in the book are a means of trying to define what the mood is.
"The book is probably both an autobiography and a history of Blondie - they are all one and the same thing as far as the last six years is concerned."
La Harry remains modest, but assured, about the group's past achievements.
"I've always had ambition, but I think the whole Blondie thing took off very naturally. My looks were part of that natural process although everyone wanted success as well."
Blondie are back in the charts again with 'Island Of Lost Souls', and this week they'll be in Britain to promote it.
Yet all that the new look Debbie really wants to do is play live again... and that's a surprise! Rumours of a split - which ran rife after her solo album - are firmly denied, while the lady is positively bubbling over with enthusiasm.
"There are plans to play live again, and I would certainly love to do it," she says.
"Having had the experience of performing in other areas - like film - I've decided there's nothing like playing music... it's the greatest!
"I think I've always thought that, but I've never had anything to compare it with before now. Playing live is an instant thing which you can't define. You do it and that's it. Being off for the past few months I've realised that I really want to play live again. There's nothing compared to getting up and performing."
She remains tantalising, aloof even.
"We haven't finalised everything yet, but there should be some news shortly," she offers.
So the "split" never really happened after all?
"I don't really pay much attention to all that stuff about Blondie not staying together," she replies firmly. "If you enjoy something you continue doing it and it seems the pieces fall together by preference. If your preference is to keep doing something then you will!"
Debbie is 37 now, yet she maintains that Blondie still have a long way to go. The group was based around her looks, some great songs and tremendous energy on stage. When asked whether she feels that Blondie are getting too old to be a credible pop band the answer is, predictably, evasive.
"That's all a big contradiction, and it needs a long discussion. It is a very big topic and you can't talk about the concept of youth in a shallow way.
"Really it all comes down to what people like, and that whole concept is very debatable."
Debatable or not, the band are back at work with a vengeance. And once again they're covering a whole range of songs for their 'Hunter' album - out soon.
While Debbie is feeling more comfortable and relaxed than ever, she's happy and able to mix in the New York scene where she's most at home, enjoying the comforts and freedom of the group's success.
The changes, and the rest, have made for a more relaxed group. Blondie have completed their own solo projects while, in-between times, Debbie has more or less been enjoying a quieter life with Chris... although she shudders at the thought of doing nothing.
Marriage and kids are as far off for her now as they've ever been, but the freedom has given her the chance to do more of her own work than before. This change, ironically, has kept Blondie together, according to Debbie.
"It remains to be seen whether people stick with us," she admits. "But 'The Hunter' is just a continuation of what we've been doing... it's a kind of feeling. I think it's the best thing we've done, it's the most interesting to me, and I think it's the strongest.
"There are a few things on it which are more serious. They relate to the darker world situation," she adds ominously.
"There's one song which is about all the different trouble spots in the world... it was written before the Falklands crisis, though! In a sense it's a shift from what we've been doing before, because political turmoil is so prominent now. That feeling makes a very strong statement.
"And that's very unlike Blondie because we've always been so light and frivolous!"
Debbie, one feels, is glad to be back. She talks happily about the group and how relaxed they are working together. The album, she claims, has brought back original memories of working together.
"Now Blondie seems better than ever. I was really enjoyable this time! I think in a way it's more calculated - it's pinpointed - not in a negative way, but with each song we knew exactly what we wanted to do. I've been taking more chances with my voice. Over the past year I've actually been taking lessons with someone, and been trying to do more things with my voice.
"I've been practising a different kind of technique - you know, classical stuff with scales and that sort of thing. I don't think it's helped my writing but certainly in terms of putting my voice across it's been better."
While the new album has helped in other ways, as Debbie is quick to point out: "We still keep in touch as a group as well. We're always doing things together, like Chris and I both helped out on Jimmy's solo record. Far from hiding ourselves away, we've come back stronger than