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metro - Monday 1st October 2007

60 SECONDS: Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry is the legendary singer with Blondie, who achieved global stardom in the late 1970s thanks to Harry's good looks and their catchy choruses. Now over 60, Harry has just released Necessary Evil, her first solo album for 14 years, and has allowed the Blondie songs to be used in the new musical version of Desperately Seeking Susan.

What inspired the new album?
Itís mostly songs about love in various forms. Thereís a social commentary song on there about scandal, too. I think we all enjoy a scandalous story, we all read those magazines. It was inspired by something that happened in America where a TV journalist nearly got someone executed. I thought that was going a little too far. When it comes to the law, you shouldnít hang a person in the press.

Arenít you tempted just to put your feet up and let the cash roll in doing Blondie tours?
No, actually, Iím not. Itís better to be creative and keep using your wits than rest on your laurels. Thatís dull.

Are there any songs you get sick of performing?
Iíve been sick of all of them at one time or another. We have some nice versions now. Itís fun to do them Ė we donít stick to the original version. The melodies are the same but weíve changed them around and modernised them to keep them fresh. We play some faster, slower, change the lyrics a little bit and change instrumental parts.

Is there any particular song you hate?
Yes, there are different songs from different eras I donít like. Iím not going to tell you who the bands are though, ha ha.

When did you first realise you were famous?
There wasnít a particular moment, it was quite gradual. There was a period in New York when my picture was everywhere. My picture was being used as the face of the music scene that was going on at the time. That struck me as: ĎOh well, this means something nowÖí It didnít freak me out, I just got on with it.

Youíve been a huge influence on people. Whatís it like being a living legend?
[Sarcastic] Woohoo! Being a living legend is so wonderful! No, itís all disproportionate. If you stick around long enough and keep on doing what youíre doing and either turn enough people on or off, you become a legend.

It must be nice to have so many people say such nice things about you.
Yeah, sure, it doesnít hurt. A lot of musicians have said theyíre fans. Iíve been more surprised by some actors who have said they were fans. Whoís that nutty Australian actor guy whoís really great? Russell Crowe! Him. Heís a wonderful actor and said he was a fan and David Caruso said he was a big fan too, which threw me.

Has being so good-looking ever caused you any problems?
No, I donít think so. Other than sometimes meeting up with jealous girlfriends. That can be a bit unpleasant. There werenít really a lot of girls on the music scene when I first started Ė but why dwell on negative experiences?

Theyíre reopening legendary punk club CBGB in Las Vegas. Will you be going?
No. Hopefully thereíll be clean toilets in the new one. I missed CBGB when it first closed because it was a shock it was going. We all sat around and had a good drink over the end of CBGB and reminisced about our memories of the place but I donít miss it now. Time marches on. 

What bands do you like at the moment?
I have a list; Klaxons, MIA, Smashing Pumpkins, Bat For Lashes and Calvin Harris.

Would you like to team up with one of them for a single?
Sure, why not? Iíve been collaborating for so many years with different writers and musicians that Iím used to the idea. Itís really fun. People who are used to working with other people, rather than holing up on their own, make for a good experience. You have a laugh.

Whatís the worst job youíve ever had?
Working in a shop. Long hours. It was a housewares boring shop in the suburbs back when I was in high school. It was very boring.

Link: metro - Monday 1st October 2007

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