In 2014, Blondie celebrated its 40th anniversary with an ambitious double album, with one collection of new songs and another of new versions of the band’s greatest hits.
That sounds like the kind of set that could act as a career capper, a proper farewell en route to retirement.
But Debbie Harry and company are not done. Only weeks after a sold-out run of solo shows at the Café Carlyle, Harry is hitting the road with Blondie again, playing with artists including Morrissey, Joan Jett and Melissa Etheridge before coming home and heading back into the studio to record new material.
In the midst of this, Harry set aside time to talk with amNewYork about Manhattan, staying current and, of all things, YouTube comedians.
After more than 40 years as a collective, how do you find more to say?
We’re interested. I get inspired by what a lot of the younger bands and newer musicians are doing. I don’t think I should exclude any of that from my present-day world. I hear from some people that they don’t think that what’s going on today is very good or exciting, and I disagree completely. There’s a lot of great music, and I want to be a part of that. I don’t want to live in the past. I feel fortunate to have a great past, but maybe I’m just greedy — I want more.
Could Blondie have developed in the Manhattan of 2015?
It’s hard to say. I think there’s a chance — there’s always a chance — but I think it’s kind of difficult today because of the prices and the cost of living has gone up so much. We were sort of lucky to be scrounging around when the city was in bankruptcy and a lot of buildings were abandoned. Rent strikes, garbage strikes, transportation strikes — it was a different kind of atmosphere. I think [the cost of living] is why Brooklyn has become so important, and sort of a heartbeat, as it were.
Who is it that you see out there who has the same spirit of Blondie?
I think that we’re very entertained by The Gregory Brothers, who do those comedy things for YouTube. I love the fact that they make fun of everything. It’s in the punk vein. I mean, look at the Ramones’ lyrics, they’re really making fun of a lot of things.
IF YOU GO: Blondie plays with Morrissey at Madison Square Garden on Saturday at 8 p.m., 4 Penn Plaza, 212-465-6741, $35-$150.