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APP.com - 6th June 2008
Deborah Harry gets back to her roots
By ED CONDRAN Correspondent June 6, 2008
Images of Manhattan usually come to mind whenever Deborah Harry's name is mentioned. As the face and voice of Blondie, Harry made a name for the pop-rock act at such legendary clubs as Max's Kansas City and CBGB in mid-'70s New York City, where she was a regular at Studio 54 during that disco venue's much-ballyhooed glory days. The sultry singer epitomized the cool glamour of the Big Apple.
"I've always enjoyed New York and fit in well there," Harry, now 62, said.
But Harry also has always enjoyed New Jersey, where she came of age during the '50s and '60s in Hawthorne before moving to New York in 1965.
And thus her confession:
"I'm a Jersey Girl," Harry said. "I love this state and I know this state.""
Harry proved her knowledge of New Jersey was up-to-date when she recently pulled her car over in order to give this interview.
"I don't want to get a ticket," she explained by cell phone after tooling around the Red Bank area, where she lives. '"I know you'll get one for talking and driving."
The new-wave icon has been splitting time between Monmouth County and Manhattan over the last few years. She said she enjoys the different world she experiences across the river — that's the Navesink River in this case, not the Hudson — from Gotham.
"It's the opposite of my "normal' life when I'm here," Harry said. "I visit my sister and her husband, who own the Lincroft Inn. It's good to be here since I have my quiet time."
It won't be staying quiet for long. This month, Blondie is scheduled to perform two "homecoming" shows of sorts: Sunday at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson and June 17 at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank.
"It's going to be dynamite," Harry said. "We love amusement parks. It's going to be great to play (Great Adventure)."
The bottle blonde won't just be performing on the Six Flags' Northern Star Arena stage. Look for her on some rides as well.
"I love roller coasters," Harry said. "I love the parachute drop. I like the thrill rides." Not surprisingly, Harry also loves to bungee jump.
"I was smiling for days when I tried it a few years ago," Harry said. "It was totally exhilarating."
But that feeling of exhilaration can't compare to turning on capacity crowds with a long list of catchy Blondie favorites such as "Call Me," "Heart of Glass" and "One Way Or Another."
"It was always a blast for me to perform, and it still is," Harry said. "That's why we still do this." Blondie — including guitarists Chris Stein and Paul Carbonara, keyboardists Jimmy Destri and Kevin Patrick, bassist Leigh Fox and drummer Clem Burke — is touring to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the band's classic "Parallel Lines" album.
"I can't believe that it's been that long and then, I can believe it," Harry said. "It's nice to have this kind of longevity, but we love playing songs like "Heart of Glass.' That never gets tired. We just get up there and have as much fun as possible."
Harry, one of rock's great characters, is still tuned into the music scene. A huge fan of New York indie rockers TV on the Radio, she's bummed out by a homogenous scene filled with rock bands that fail to connect with crowds live. "I would like to see more personality and eccentricity in the arts than we have seen over recent years," Harry said. "I want the full seven-course dinner when I go to a show. Unfortunately, all you usually get these days are appetizers. I would like an album that can fulfill me like a great dinner."
Perhaps Harry and Blondie will revisit the kitchen, er, studio, for another album.
"I can't say for sure that will happen," Harry said. "But I do want to make more new music."
Harry toured behind her sixth solo album, "Necessary Evil," in 2007. "I would love to have another hit," she said.
Charting isn't easy for those over 40, but it can be done. Blondie hit the Top 40 a decade ago with the infectious single "Maria."
"That was so much fun," Harry said. "It's always great having a hit. I like having hits but I'm just pleased that I'm still out there singing solo and with Blondie. I'm just happy to be alive. The thing that amazes me is that when I look back, half of the people I hung out with during the '70s are dead. That's crazy. But I'm still alive and doing what I want to do."
That includes spending half of her time in New Jersey.
"It's a wonderful state and just a great place for me to be now," Harry said. "When I was young I just couldn't settle down here. I needed to discover things and get out in the world. I did that and now I spend time in New Jersey and now I even get to play a few shows here."
Blondie also will be appearing tonight at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood and June 22 at Nokia Theatre Times Square, New York City.
6 p.m. Sunday at the Great Northern Arena, Six Flags Great Adventure, 1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson Admission included with amusement park ticket purchase (732) 928-1821 ALSO: 8 p.m. June 17 at the Count Basie Theatre, 99 Monmouth St., Red Bank $49-$100 (732) 842-9000
APP.com - 6th June 2008