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Blondie guitarist Chris Stein fears he won’t play again

The Sunday Times

By Patrick O’Donoghue – 19th November 2023

Chris Stein was diagnosed with prostate cancer and says the excesses of his younger days “didn’t help” – SCOTT SHERRATT

Chris Stein, the co-founder of Blondie, has said that his ill health may prevent him from returning to the stage with the New York rock band.

Ahead of an exhibition in Dublin that will feature some of his photos of Debbie Harry, he said he regretted the drug use of his youth.

Blondie, whose poppy punk hits include Heart of Glass, Atomic and One Way or Another, will perform live with Sting in Cork and Belfast next year. Yet Stein, who has prostate cancer, said living life in the fast lane had left him feeling “a little fatigued”.

“I miss it a little [playing live] but it’s a lot of work and I did it for 50 years, I kind of got it out of my system. It’s doubtful I’m gonna do more shows at this point,” Stein told The Sunday Times, adding he was still very much involved with the band’s studio recordings.

Stein, 73, said his cancer was not severe but he has not toured with the band since 2019. “All this stuff caught up with me in my old age. Don’t do drugs, kids, is all I can say. All that shit I did over the years didn’t help,” he said.

The musician raved about Irish audiences, however. “I remember doing shows during the Troubles in Belfast with all that craziness when there would be barbed wire and gates around the hotel. It was heavy duty but the fans were always great,” he said.

Stein is still close with Harry and the rest of the band – RON GALELLA/RON GALELLA COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES

The guitarist and producer remains creatively invigorated, forward-looking and optimistic about the future of music and the arts.

His Instagram account, which has 75,000 followers, is a treasure trove of his style of photography. “I like Instagram, there’s a lot of great street photography on there, and historical. A lot of my followers want to see the old nostalgic band stuff but I have a lot of young followers too,” Stein said.

His 1980 pictures of Harry, showing the singer in body art by the Swiss artist HR Giger, will be at GalleryX in Dublin on December 1-23 and January 9-13.

Under a Rock, Stein’s memoir, comes out next year, with “crazy” tales about fame and his doomed romance with Harry. “There’s a lot of stuff in there I didn’t make up that actually happened that seems really weird,” he said.


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