Singer Deborah Harry of Blondie says the pioneering new-wave band is prepared to prove itself all over again. The group will launch its first North American tour in 16 years next month.
"I guess that you always have to prove it," Harry said Tuesday (April 6).
"Some of the promoters have not been especially responsive in booking us.
They say, 'Oh no one's going to come and see a Blondie concert.' You're
always having to prove it, some way or another. I guess it keeps you alive."
The first leg of tour dates will begin May 15 in Boston, the band announced Tuesday. The four original members of Blondie -- which had four #1 singles in the late 1970s and early '80s -- reunited to record the album No Exit
(RealAudio excerpt of of title track),
which was released in February. They've already toured behind the album overseas and performed single dates in New York and Los Angeles.
The initial 13-city outing will take the band -- which also includes guitarist Chris Stein, drummer Clem Burke and keyboardist Jimmy Destri -- across the continent and then back East, to the group's hometown, New York, for a June 10 show at Madison Square Garden. A second tour leg is planned for July.
Harry said the reunion was partly inspired by the idea of "proving we could," and the same incentive remains for the tour.
Fans can expect to hear such Blondie classics as
(RealAudio excerpt) and "Call Me" on the tour, along with several songs from No Exit.
"We've got about five of the new songs worked in the show; maybe we'll have a couple more worked in by then," Harry said, naming the soaring pop single
"Maria" (RealAudio excerpt), "Forgive and Forget," "Screaming Skin,"
(RealAudio excerpt) and "The Dream's Lost on Me." She said "Under the Gun" is one possible addition.
"We've been doing all the crowd-pleasers, we're giving them what they want," Stein said later Tuesday. "I think everybody's just interested in seeing the band and seeing Debbie. We'll have some video screens and stuff -- but no dancing girls or hydraulics or flash pots or anything to that effect."
Yet the guitarist joked that if he had his preference, Blondie would move as far away from the traditional rock show as possible. "If it was up to me, I would have a bunch of Moroccan musicians and it would be more of a tribal thing, without a stage, probably -- have like a big bonfire in the middle of an open field."
Guest artists may turn up at select shows. Stein named Coolio -- who
rhymed on the album's title track -- and members of Wu-Tang Clan and
Mobb Deep as possible guest performers. "If those guys are around ... we
would certainly consider doing it," Stein said.
Blondie emerged from 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, punk and later, hip-hop. They
released six albums in as many years before disbanding in 1982. Their
#1 hits were "Call Me," "Heart of Glass," "Rapture" and a cover of
reggae singer John Holt's "The Tide Is High."
"We worked our asses off," Harry said. "I mean, our pace was incredible. If our reputation has lasted, it's because we really were insane."
Stein said the band's reunion has given it a newfound credibility. "We always had a cult status, even though we had #1 hits," he said. "It's kind of strange and ironic now to suddenly have everyone telling us we're icons."
Tickets for all shows will be available via www.blondie.net and
www.atomicpop.com starting Friday and through local ticket outlets
starting this weekend.
Blondie North American Tour Dates:
May 15; Boston, Mass., Orpheum
May 16; Toronto, Ontario, Massey Hall
May 18; Philadelphia, Pa., Tower Theater
May 19; Baltimore, Md., The Pier
May 23; Detroit, Mich., Fox Theatre
May 25; Denver, Colo., Fillmore Auditorium
May 27; Las Vegas, Nev., The Joint
May 28; Los Angeles, Calif., Universal Amphitheatre
May 29; San Diego, Calif., Open Air Theatre
May 30; San Francisco, Calif., Warfield
June 1; Seattle, Wash., Paramount
June 2; Portland, Ore., Civic Auditorium
June 10; New York, N.Y., Madison Square Garden