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Iggy Pop, KFC and Basquiat: Blondie rocker’s memoir like a classic greatest hits record


By Larry Getlen – 8th June 2024

Chris Stein’s new memoir, “Under a Rock,” chronicles tales of NYC before and during Blondie and so much more.

In the late 1980s, Blondie stars Debbie Harry and Chris Stein were dining at a fancy Times Square restaurant with Iggy Pop when Jean-Michel Basquiat walked in with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Basquiat pulled out some weed and began rolling a joint when Iggy, of all people, asked him to stop.

As Stein writes in his new memoir, “Under a Rock,” (St. Martin’s Press, out June 11), Basquiat became “performatively annoyed and started a beef with Iggy,” which Stein found hilarious.

“Iggy arguing for the rule of law was somewhat absurd,” Stein writes, noting that the two yelled at each other before Basquiat acquiesced.

Stein and Harry began dating in 1973, when they played in The Stilettoes.

They formed Blondie, named after a trucker’s cat-call of Harry, the following year.

When they opened for Iggy Pop, David Bowie served as Iggy’s keyboardist.

While Stein and Harry were famously a couple, this didn’t stop Bowie to casually ask Harry, “Can I f*** you?” She merely replied, “I don’t know, can you?”

More dangerously weird were their interactions with music legend Phil Spector, who they visited at his mansion in Alhambra, CA.

“Phil came to the door with a bottle of Manischewitz wine in one hand and a presumably loaded model 1911 .45 automatic in the other,” Stein writes.

Spector and Harry sang a few Ronettes songs; then Spector “stuck the .45 into the top of Harry’s right boot and said, ‘Bang, bang!’ which he obviously thought was hysterically funny.”

While Stein wrestled with addiction for years, a sense of rock and roll weirdness permeated his life even when he was clean.

During his first time at Burning Man, in 2000, he was so unprepared for the desert that he cut arm holes in a sleeping bag and wore it as clothing.

Walking into a makeshift Burning Man radio station in his sleeping bag attire, he was asked if he had anything he wanted to say on the air.

“I said, ‘Can I plug my band?’” Stein writes.

“The DJ asked what band and when I said Blondie they thought I was crazy and threw us out.”


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