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winnipegsun.com - Saturday 20th October 2007

ENTERTAINMENT MUSIC

Singular sensation
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Blondie singer Debbie Harry is back with sixth solo effort

By JANE STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

Debbie Harry is fabulous-looking, funny and still feisty at age 62, just don't call the formidable Blondie frontwoman a music pioneer or icon. 

"It's funny, all I can think of is one of those bonnets and a big long dress and a gun -- yeah, pioneer," joked Harry, in Toronto this week to chat about her first solo album in 14 years, Necessary Evil, an '80s-inspired electro-pop collection. 

"Icon's even worse probably. Icon makes me think of a kind of frozen, wooden thing with gold paint on it. Believe me, I'm not criticizing it. I sort of think it's all funny in a way." 

Still, Harry's status as a superstylish, groundbreaking female artist was further solidified last year when Blondie -- New York's reigning new wave-pop band of the mid-'70s and early '80s -- was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. 

'GREEDY' 

However, Harry's always despised looking backwards, which explains why she continues to release solo albums -- this is her sixth -- almost 30 years after the first Blondie record. 

"I want more. Maybe I'm just greedy," she said seated on a couch in a hotel meeting room and dressed casually in a green T-shirt which showed off her similarly coloured eyes. 

"I want to keep learning things and I want to keep experiencing things and I want to get better and better at what I do, which foolishly I think I am. I mean, why would I want to keep walking down memory lane. I keep bumping into things I don't really want to bump into. I mean nobody's life is perfect and we all have regrets, we all have made mistakes. I try not to dwell on that stuff. I learn from it." 

But the large gap between Necessary Evil, mostly produced by the New York production team of Super Buddha (Scissor Sisters, Rufus Wainwright) and her last solo effort, 1993's Debravation, has to do with Blondie's recent resurgence. 

"I don't really know if I have a real reason other than being busy. Since putting Blondie back together (in 1999), I've been really focused on that." 

In fact, Blondie guitarist and Harry's ex-flame Chris Stein produced two of the 17 tracks on Necessary Evil. 

"Chris gave me a couple of tracks, he was his usual supportive self," said Harry. "He's one of my favourite people, if not the favourite person in my life. He's a terrific guy. I think the guys in the band really want to make a Blondie album but we don't have a record contract. Making a Blondie album is quite a bit more complicated of an undertaking than just me going off and writing an album." 

'RELATIONSHIPS' 

For the most part, Harry tries to keep her solo career and Blondie separate 

"It's better for the identity. It's better for the project. It's better for legal situations. It's clear. This is Debbie Harry solo. This is Blondie. One is one and one is the other." 

Harry, who never married or had children but is godmother to Stein's two kids, describes herself as single, although she has "a dog, and a cat and a few boyfriends. The dog and the cat come first -- just kidding." 

Turns out most of Necessary Evil is about relationships. 

"Most pop songs are about love, finding love, keeping love, losing love, getting laid, getting drunk, maybe," she said. 

Harry claims to have no expectations for how the disc will do but seems confident in her own abilities. 

"I'm not a marketing expert," she said. 

"I write songs. I can do shows. I know how to dress well," she added with a laugh.

Link: winnipegsun.com - Saturday 20th October 2007


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