Cash For Questions
Feature: Jay Bowers
Photograph: Camera Press/Perou
the bits where readers ask the questions by email
How has time changed Debbie Harry and the band Blondie?
Eric Bryant, Canada
DH: Well, we’re a lot older than we were. And for the most part we’re better at what we do technically. We’re more competent as musicians.
Will there be another Blondie album to follow on from The Curse Of Blondie?
Tuan Huynh, San Francisco
DH: It depends on the state of the music industry. The industry’s really torn up with downloading from the internet. The Curse… took a while to get out – our record label collapsed and we had to find a new deal, which didn’t happen overnight. We finished just before 9/11 happened, then the whole thing sort of got sidetracked. At one point the tapes disappeared. In the end it took an inordinate amount of time to bring it out.
I’m hoping that we’ll do another one. I haven’t written any material for it, but I’m planting those little seeds and hopefully things will start building up.
What did you think of Atomic Kitten’s version of the Blondie single The Tide Is High?
DH: I thought it was interesting – it had a real Europop sound to it. John Holt of The Paragons wrote it originally and we found it on a compilation album. His version was beautiful. Ours was more calypso, while his was more reggae. So it was a cover version for us, too.
When you look back over your career, is there anything that you’d change?
Tracy Thomas, Birmingham
DH: I guess, in the long run, there isn’t anything I’d change. Of course, one always thinks: ‘I wish I hadn’t done that,’ but I’ve always been pretty stubborn about things. Whether I’m right or wrong, I have to stick to my guns.
Do blondes have more fun?
DH: I think that myth came from an advertising campaign put out Clairol or someone, which was very clever. Fun is something you should be prepared to have. Fun is a great benefit of life that you have to be aware of and you have to be ready to have it.
What would you say to people who think blondes are dumb?
Gina Kyriacou, Coulsdon
DH: That’s a ridiculous concept. Next question.
What’s your favourite thing about the UK?
Rebecca Hobbs, Derby
DH: Oh God, I don’t know. If there’s one thing, it’s the musical nature of the British. In America people don’t sit around in bars and sing, but I’ve been in pubs all over the UK where people just break into song. British people are very musical. It’s a great tradition.
Is it true that you went skydiving naked?
DH: I did a bungee jump at the end of a very long and stressful tour. I bungee-jumped topless and it was completely refreshing. It was in Auckland, New Zealand, and it was big. I’d probably do it again if you got me in the mood, but I wouldn’t say it was the most sane thing I’ve ever done.
Are you single?
Alison Hill, Sutton Coldfield
DH: I try to keep that part of my life really private.
You got rave reviews for your role in the film My Life Without Me. Which do you find more rewarding: acting or music?
Sharon Wilson, Farnborough
DH: That’s a tough question which I’ve been asking myself for a long time. I have to cherish the amount of time I get to work as an actor because I don’t get to do it a lot. I think a lot of actors are wannabe singers and vice versa.
When are you going to dish the dirt and write your autobiography?
Sharon Wilson, Farnborough
DH: I think that would take some time and I don’t have any at the moment.
Have you ever thought about adopting children, having been adopted yourself?
Wayne Fitzharris, Lancashire
DH: I’ve thought about it, but I don’t know if I’ve thought about it seriously enough to go out and do it. I haven’t ruled it out, but I don’t have enough time right now to devote to a child. I travel so much that it would be unfair, especially with an adopted child who needs to be made to feel that extra bit secure and really wanted.
You gave your legendary Heart Of Glass dress away to Sharleen Spiteri. That dress was over 20 years old – do you hoard lots of memorabilia?
Sharon Wilson, Farnborough
DH: I haven’t given the dress to her – I loaned it and I’m hoping to get it back! She was going to wear it in a video. I thought it was sweet that she wanted to wear it. Oddly, Stephen Sprouse, who designed the dress, recently passed away.
I’ve saved things that I feel are part of my career. It’s heart-warming to have them around and when I see them the memories come back. If I did write an autobiography it would be fun having that stuff around to help me.
In the early days of Blondie, did you deliberately lie about your age or was it just assumed that you were younger than you actually were?
Lynsey Short, Hebburn
DH: I’ve never said anything about being younger. I’m 58.
Do you have any beauty tips?
DH: Eat plenty of green vegetables and drink lots of water.
Do you regret you days as a Playboy bunny?
DH: It was definitely interesting, but it was a short-lived occupation. I got such massive publicity out of doing it. But I never met Hugh Hefner until Blondie took off.
The video for your solo single Strike Me Pink was visually stunning, but what was the story with the guy tied to the water wheel? Were you feeling anti-men at the time?
Barry Clark, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
DH: Anti-men? No. The guy wasn’t tied to the water wheel. It was based on Houdini’s water tank trick. I was dating a magician at the time, so there was obviously something going on in the back of my mind. I’ve dated and lived with men my entire life. There are no bitter bones in my closet.
If programmes such as Pop Idol were around in your daye, do you think you’d have made it past Simon Cowell and co?
Zoe Wade, Northampton
DH: Those things? Oh, Jesus! How embarrassing. Blondie would never pass a star search. The way I approach what I do is from a point of internal drive. I’m not a technical singer. My thing is about attitude. I’ve always worked as an ensemble. I’d be a complete failure on a show like that.
Have your fans done anything memorable for you during any of your shows?
David Robinson, Tarrytown
DH: There isn’t one thing – it’s the fact the fans have been so utterly thoughtful, dedicated and loyal over the years. It pleases me no end that people come up and say that something I did relates to them. It’s a terrific feeling.
Blondie tour the UK in June, playing Brighton, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Bristol, Manchester, London, Nottingham, Plymouth, Birmingham, Cambridge, Hull, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle. For details, call 0870 7355000 or visit www.bookingsdirect.co.uk