WET - July/August 1979 - Issue 19
The Cover - Deborah Harry photographed by Larry Williams
Pages 27 & 27
Lead Singer of Blondie
WET: What is an outlaw?
D.H.: In the old days it was different, of course, but nowadays, I think an outlaw is somebody who, because of society or social situations, doesn't stand a chance; and the only thing to do is to become a criminal. I think "outlaw" is an antiquated term anyway. This is the age of specialization. The outlaw is an antique. There's still the bomber, the bank robber - and they're criminals - but it's different to conceive of a general outlaw.
WET: Are there any rock bands that you consider outlaws?
D.H.: No, are you kidding? This is a commercial business. Maybe as part of the entertainment, as part of the show - everybody likes that. The Dead Boys are probably a good example of that among the New York bands.
WET: Describe a real crime.
D.H.: Three-Mile Island. Son of Sam.
WET: How about in your line of work?
D.H.: Every day, they happen all the time in this industry. I was so disenchanted at one point in my life, when I was very young and idealistic, that I quit the business for seven years. The record industry is really a beat. Artists have to be very careful.
WET: Describe your work. How important to you is your work?
D.H.: It's everything. It takes up 98 percent of my time and thought. I'm constantly trying to write things, and to thing of things to write.
WET: Like what? Describe what you write.
D.H.: Just songs - pop songs, rock'n'roll.
WET: If you were going to be executed for your most cherished beliefs but were given a chance to defend yourself publicly, what would be your defense?
D.H.: I wouldn't have any defense. I would just say, "Shoot me quick." No defense because if anyone were going to shoot me for my beliefs, then there would be no point in defending myself anyway.
WET: Have you ever been attacked or persecuted for your beliefs?
D.H.: No, I've been very cagey about being philosophical and political when it comes to my business. We've all been that way, and have avoided taking any stands. I have, however, refused to model jewelry in an advertising campaign for a South African diamond, and they offered me plenty of money. I thought it would bring me bad karma. I thought of all those black hands digging diamonds out of the earth; all the suffering for those jewels is really a big drag. They need pairs of shoes - they don't need diamonds.
WET: You sound very persuasive now. Are you sure you'd say nothing to avoid death, to defend your belief?
D.H.: I have very nice beliefs, I'm a humanoid. I don't believe in the laws that bend people's minds around, in the restrictions and moral codes that are total bullshit.
WET: What sort of society do you seek out?
D.H.: I mostly hang out with other musicians, writers, filmmakers, people like that.
WET: People that share your beliefs?
D.H.: I don't know because I don't really get into those kinds of discussions with them. I'm with them because they enjoy the same kinds of things as I do. I'm very social, I like to hang out, to have people over and drink beer and stuff. Sometimes I like to go to clubs, although I'm beginning to like it less, though I still like it somewhat. Clubs change quickly, and because of the changes I can't just hang out without being hassled by someone. Now, because it's so IN and it draws a lot of strange people that really don't know me, people approach me in a weird way and I don't feel comfortable anymore. I don't feel like it's my hangout. My privacy is the issue. Why should some total stranger come up to me in a rock'n'roll hangout that I made famous, press me against the wall, and try to indoctrinate me, or accuse me, or come on to me in some weird way? There are a lot of sickies. They're crazy. They all work for the phone company.
WET: What advice would you give a protégé?
D.H.: I don't know. I don't think I could give anyone advice, except for music business problems. If I were interested in someone artistically, they would have it all together anyway.