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.