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northjersey.com - Monday 18th June 2007

Hawthorne's Debbie Harry continues to record and wow audiences


Call me she did, right on schedule. 

You might think Debbie Harry would sound a little, well, harried these days, what with a full concert schedule this month, a planned European tour with Blondie in July, and her sixth solo album due out on Aug. 7. But the iconic blonde seems remarkably placid.

Could her soon-to-be-released "Necessary Evil" really be her first solo effort in 14 years?

"I guess so," Harry says. "I hadn't really figured it out." 

And what about its many different styles? The songs on the new album have everything from a dance-floor beat to sock rock feel to a slick rock sound. (A few are posted at myspace.com/deb bieharry.) There's even a song called "Paradise," written from the perspective of a female suicide bomber.

Did Harry set out to be so eclectic?

"I think it just sort of grew of its own," she says. "I worked on it slowly. I had no intention of really putting out an album, but I met these nice producers and really enjoyed working with them, and we starting recording and writing songs together. Eventually, I had this body of work. It was very relaxed, actually."

Harry, who grew up in Hawthorne, expected to perform about a half dozen of the new songs on this month's True Colors tour, which stops at Radio City tonight. She joins Cyndi Lauper, Dresden Dolls and Erasure for this tour, which is designed to raise public awareness about the issues facing the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Each concert lasts more than five hours, and one dollar of every ticket sold will benefit the Human Rights Campaign. 

"I think that's a lot of the money that's going to be donated to these gay organizations, and I personally feel like gay rights ... it's really a part of our culture," says Harry. "The only people I know who are anti-gay are the extreme religious right."

She is, of course, best known as lead singer of the group Blondie, which achieved fame in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with four No. 1 hits in the U.S.: "Heart of Glass," "Call Me," "Rapture" and "The Tide Is High." The group disbanded in 1982 but reformed in 1998 and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

Harry, 61, will be touring with Blondie in the U.K., the Netherlands and Denmark in July. Talk about a killer schedule.

"It seems kind of normal for me," Harry says. "Usually, bands tour in the summer. Blondie's been touring a lot over the past 10 years."

Just two more questions. 

What about those reports that another Jersey girl, Kirsten Dunst, wants to play Harry in a movie about Blondie?

"That's a rumor that's been going around that's sort of ridiculous," Harry says. "There's all kinds of possibilities, but there's nothing guaranteed."

And finally, did growing up in Hawthorne have any influence on Harry's choice of career?

"No, not especially," she says. "I think I was just a small-town girl growing up. I always wanted to be in entertainment. Somehow, I was very attracted to being an artist. Whether it was in graphic arts [or music], I had an artistic leaning."

Link: northjersey.com - Monday 18th June 2007

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