Blondie Back Together To Record And Tour

New-wave pioneers return to the studio after 15 years to create new album, No Exit.

What started for Blondie as an offer to do a greatest-hits record has turned into

full-fledged plans for the new-wave pioneers to put out an album of new

material and to follow that with a tour.

Continuing a recent trend that has seen contemporaries such as the B-52's

reunite and record again, four of the original members of pop-punk pioneers

Blondie are in a SoHo, N.Y., studio working on the album, their first in 15 years.

"The band had always remained close," said band manager Ed Thomas. "And

after getting back together, they discovered they had a lot of pent up ideas that

could be translated to songs."

The LP, No Exit, which is due out in September on the Beyond Music

label, will coincide with the band embarking on a world tour that would continue

into early 1999.

The current lineup includes four original members: singer Debbie Harry and

guitarist Chris Stein -- who together wrote most of the band's music -- as well as

keyboardist Jimmy Destri and drummer Clem Burke. Leigh Foxx will take over

on bass for the band's last bassist, Nigel Harrison. Guitarist Frank Infante, who

joined the band in 1976, will not be participating in the reunion.

Band manager Thomas of the Left Bank Organization said the band -- best

known for its influential 1978 album, Parallel Lines -- had been asked

initially to compile a greatest-hits record. However, after convening in their

SoHo studio, the members soon decided to work on an album of all new

material with producer Craig Leon (Ramones).

"They decided they didn't want to put out a greatest-hits album," Thomas said.

"They wanted to make a record that doesn't feel like a comeback record, they

wanted to make an album that sounds like a Blondie record taken to the next

level, the next chapter."

The new-wave act emerged out of the New York club-scene in the late '70s and

made a name for themselves with Harry's sensual soprano vocals and a genre-

bending style that fused pop and punk. Blondie released six albums over eight

years before disbanding in 1982. In that time, the group enjoyed several #1 hits

along the way, including the smash "Heart Of Glass," "Rapture" and a cover of

John Holt's "The Tide Is High."

Former Ramones singer Joey Ramone, a longtime friend and musical contemporary of Blondie, whose band was also playing the New York scene in the '70s, said he was excited about the reunion. "When a band like Blondie reforms, you wish them the best," Ramone said. "Because they were a great band and there's so much shit out there, you hope something good comes of this thing."

Ramone, who said Blondie member Stein has asked him to come to the studio and sit in on some sessions, recently taped a segment for an upcoming VH1 "Behind The Music" special about Blondie slated to air this summer.

Thomas added that, while nothing is final, it is likely that Blondie will play

several dates on this summer's Lilith Fair, after the completion of No Exit

and prior to their full tour.