In a matter of full disclosure I will admit to having liked Blondie. Their debut LP had just come out and they opened for the Ramones at the Whiskey, It was my first punk related show. While the Ramones definitely had the advantage music-wise, style points were won by the undercard. Blondie as a band never looked sharper. Gary Valentine had not left the band and the world was still safe from Nigel Harrison's Jheri curls. Clem Burke was still in his psuedo mod phase, Jimmy Destri and Chris Stein were both in skinny ties (before they became de rigueur for lame new wave bands). I don't remember what Debbie Harry was wearing. Really. Unlike many guys my age, I never really thought of her as all that hot. But I liked the style of the first LP era Blondie. That lasted about one album.
Long story short, they deviated. Still, I have a special place in my heart for the band, particularly Stein, Harry, and Burke. Burke because he;s a great drummer, and he's added a bit of legitimacy to just about every band he's been in since, and there have been many. He is also the main subject in what is known as, I shit you not, The Clem Burke Drumming Project. It's not a joke. It is described thusly, "Physiological tests included the measurement of heart rate, oxygen uptake and blood lactate in rehearsal tests and monitoring heart rate and blood lactate during live stage performances." Alright then.
I like Chris Stein and Debbie Harrry less for their musical contributions than their taste in stuff other than their own. I don't even remember specifics, but there were associations with Jungle Records, the Gun Club, the Screamers, and Tav Falco. And Joan Jett, Andy Warhol, Iggy Pop, and James Chance. Wait. James Chance? What the hell?
Because I appreciated them, but am not crazy about them as a band and haven't really listened to much of their stuff in years, not to mention my ambivalence towards Harry's supposed hotness, or lack thereof, I feel qualified to say that her voice pretty much sucks. But it always sounds like Debbie Harry, so there's that. Here's two oddballs to illustrate my point. The video above, Harry covering James Brown's "I Feel Good", backed by James White and the Blacks. Who knew? Below is her with some Argentinian ska band, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. Really. Doing "Strawberry Fields Forever". Gulp. Both of these, like most Blondie related things, probably looked good on paper. But, that's why I like them. It seems like relaxed scheming, kinda half-assed in execution. I can relate.
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