SUPERPOP - 3rd February 1979
No. 2 - Page 8
by Janice Moir
O MANY a hot blooded buck, the name Blondie does not register as a pop group. To lots of people, it's not synonymous with a six piece band from the suburbs of New York; five blokes and one girl responsible for tight, together music.
Probably for the majority of the populous, Blondie means one thing and one thing only. Debbie Harry.
Her finely boned features have been plastered over thousands of hoardings, her face has graced miles of bedroom walls; all candy floss hair shrouding opaque eyes, smouldering down to leave as sharp an impression as a red hot branding iron in the forehead. The flesh sizzles and the heart melts.
But Blondie is not Debbie Harry alone. Neither is it Debbie and a motley bunch of backing musicians, providing a deliberately bland backdrop to emphasise the lady's considerable charms.
Blondie are a cohesive unit, a band who rely on each other for musical and emotional support.
With the resigned air of a man fed up of defending his cause, band member Chris Stein emphasised the point.
"Look, we're not Debbie's stooges. We all of us have a definite role to play within the band. I mean, I get to do whatever I want. We all do and that's the way it's always been."
Blondie first came to prominence in the early surges of the New Wave. Since then, they've gone from strength to strength, with a string of hugely successful singles and critically acclaimed albums tucked under their belt.
"Since our first album, we've obviously developed a lot more," Chris commented. "We never deliberately tried to be Punky but we sounded far more rough and raw in those days. We were one of the very first New Wave groups."
Although they've always had a very distinctive, original sound, Blondie's music had changed immensely since those days. The rawness has been washed away by a soothing balm of classy Pop.
The rough edges have been smoothed off, and in their place comes a highly polished professional act.
And Blondie didn't think they've lost out on anything in the transition.
"You always have to change," explained Stein. "You can't only satisfy the people who're into cult groups all the time. We feel fantastic about our new single. Gee, it went straight into your charts at number six. That's amazing.
"We're very happy with our English success. I love coming over there to play because the attitudes of the fans are so different.
"Here in America, the kids are so blase. I think they have too much of everything. Too much TV, too much music... too much is always right there within their group.
"But our British fans are much more exciting to play to, and therefore, they're much more exciting themselves. We always get a far more intense reaction from them.
"None of us ever had rich parents or anything like that. We never had lots of money to fling around. Maybe that's why we're right out there with our fans in Britain."
Surprisingly, Blondie aren't too well known in their own country at the moment, but Stein explained what the band are doing to change that.
"We do a live TV show ever week. We're regular guests on the programme and we act like crazy. We answer phone calls, sing a little and really enjoy ourselves.
"It's causing a bit of a sensation in New York, Debbie is beginning to get recognised now, but it's still nothing like the scenes we have in Britain.
"Our last few days over in London were great. When we were walking down the street, people would say, 'hi, Debbie', all friendly and polite. No one was ever rude to us.
"We've done four major tours over there now and I for one, never get homesick. I love it."
The band are branching out into another aspect of showbusiness in the near future.
Film-making has always interested most of the members of the band in one way or another, and Chris and Debbie especially.
Chris has always been very interested in photography and takes lots of pix of the band... especially the photogenic Ms Harry. Debbie herself has been offered many offers to star in major films.
Music is still their number one, though, but they do have ambitions in other fields. Lastly, Chris asked about the SUPERPOP competition where the lucky winner flies to New York to meet and have dinner with the band.
"I just can't wait to meet whoever wins," he enthused. "We'll all get together and have a really good time."