Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Blondie Sex Kitten

Debbie Harry and Blondie

Back when this photo was taken - April 1978 - Blondie had just broken through one hurdle on their way to pop stardom. Chrysalis had picked up their debut album and their second one, "Plastic Letters." On this tour, they were headling small theatres, such as the one where this photo was taken at UC Berkeley in California. What fans didn't know was that the band would break wide open in less than six months. In September 1978, "Parallel Lines" was released, and changed everything.

However, as early as September 1977, there was a personnel change, and by this April 1978 tour, Nigel Harrison, a Brit from the glam band Silverhead had replaced original bass player Gary Valentine. Frank Infante augmented the band as lead guitarist. This would be the line-up that played on "Parallel Lines" and would have the hits, starting with Nerve Jack Lee's "Hanging on the Telephone," Blondie's own "disco song," the huge cross -over hit, "Heart of Glass," and the Debbie-Nigel penned "One Way or Another," which I still hear on television commercials in 2005!

In a prescient and pre-emptive move to preserve each band member's identity, the band made and gave away this great button proclaiming BLONDIE IS A GROUP. But it was only natural for many people to refer to Debbie Harry herself as "Blondie."

Both Pleasant and I together with the rest of the Lobotomy crew, which would be Randy Detroit and our various other LA pals had the best of times hanging out with Blondie. Jeffrey Lee Pierce was often hanging out with us too, as he was a big fan...if that isn't the understatement of the century, I don't know what is. A lot of our adventures and memories are referenced in Cathay Che's biography of Debbie called "Platinum Blonde," in which I have about five photos, and which is now available in paperback.

It is still hard for me to believe how world-famous Blondie became. Not that they didn't deserve it, but Debbie was the gal with whom Pleasant and I would go thrift shopping and we never missed a rummage sale, such as the one at the All Saints Church in Beverly Hills. Clem remains a dear and true friend to this day.

Me & Clem, 2004

Here we are at Randall's Island, August 2004.

It is just kind of strange when people you hang out with are able to break through and make it big. You get all proud, and then suddenly, there's no more time for rummage sales and stuff like that. You start to hear your friends' songs on television commercials and are glad they're making the big bucks, and then you realize you can't really talk about them as if you were talking about the person next door anymore.

Fame, its a funny thing. Maybe someone should write a song about it.

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