Blondie on Blondie at the Forum, Hatfield
SOMETIMES, when people ask me what I do for a living, I don’t get the sort of response I’m hoping for.
“Local journalism” seems to conjure up an idea of endlessly writing about cake sales and village fetes, and while I personally like cake sales and fetes, I get the impression other people don’t think its very cool.
But like most jobs, you have good days and bad days. Like the other day, when I get a phone call from New York telling me Debbie Harry, the iconic singer/songwriter from new wave punk legends Blondie, is on the other line and waiting to speak to me. Pretty cool, no?
I’m speaking to 64-year-old Debbie shortly before Blondie arrive on these shores to begin their new tour, which kicks off next Wednesday at The Forum, in Hatfield.
“We’re all pretty excited about it,” says Debbie, in that distinctive, New York drawl of hers. “We’ve a bank of new material, which is brilliant and so long overdue.”
Ah yes, the new material. Seven years on from their last album, The Curse of Blondie, Debbie and the boys (original guitarist Chris Stein and drummer Clem Butler are among them) are back with Panic of Girls, their 12th studio album to date.
Clearly, the injection of fresh songs into a set-list spanning some 36 years is something of a relief to Debbie. I ask her if she gets bored of playing Atomic, and she replies: “It’s always rewarding when the audience knows the song and sings it back to you; that’s the best feeling in the whole world – well, one of the best.
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“We try to change the songs and freshen them up, which helps. But if you play a song for that many years, it does get tedious I guess.”
But fear not, Blondie fans. Debbie knows you don’t last through five decades and sell more than 20 million albums without belting out the classics.
“We are going to be playing our strong songs,” she says. “But I hope people find some interest in the new material.”
And what of the new material? I ask.
“I believe in it,” she says. “I don’t know if there’s anything completely unique about it, except it’s us; it’s Blondie.”
So if you’re a fan and want to hear the new stuff, or just want to sing along to One Way or Another, your best bet is to head to Hatfield next Wednesday.
I might go along myself – all part of the job, of course.
Blondie play The Forum on June 9. For tickets, visit www.forumhertfordshire.co.uk
They are also appearing at the Cambridge Corn Exchange on Thursday, June 10.