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An Interview with Chris Stein of Blondie by MCB's Jeff Howitt

"We want to get thrown out of the pawn shop!"An Interview with Chris Stein of Blondie by Jeff Howitt for MCB

I was fortunate enough to be able to chat it up with Chris Stein, co‐founding member of Blondie with Debbie Harry, just as he was packing up to slip away for
one last holiday with his family before the bands "No Principals Tour" tour started on September 5th in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. It winds down in Mexico City
on October 12th. Chris is busy yet not in the busied/hurried sense. But in motion while remaining inspiringly calm. Even with a photo exhibit spanning his cultural
and professional beginnings and compiling a book of same to follow for next year he isn't nostalgic. He knows where he has been and what he wants to do or more so
what he is willing to do. Throw in a dash of intelligent irreverence and wink of candor and you can see how a band can stay together for 40 years and still be
discovering themselves inside the story.
Catch Blondie along with X at the Royal Oak Music Theatre this Thursday September 12th 2013
Get tickets here

MotorCityBlog: So hey, you're playing Detroit on your way to Riot Fest in Chicago.How does it feel to have Blondie so highly regarded in the line up?
Chris Stein: I'm all for it. The more the merrier. We're not really in the "A" list. We've always been, I don't know… a cult band… Whatever the hell you want to call

MCB: I guess I'm looking at the bill. The Pixies. The Violent Femmes. Those bands are kinda along that same line too. Maybe ultimately more influential than
commercially successful even with some radio hits...
CS: We are the bigger (light hearted chuckle) of the underground acts.

MCB: What is it about Rock 'n' Roll that keeps Blondie as a collaborative band interested in itself after 40 years?
CS: Well, ya know it's just what we do. It's just momentum. Of the things I do in life music is one up there with the top three or four things. So, it's just it. With the way
the music business is… the decline of the music industry. Now it's just so weird. God knows if there'll be another time when there are acts that are around for 40 years. I
mean, who knows maybe later Lady Gaga will be around in 30, 40 years, I don't know. Who's to say?

MCB: Reminds me of that interview with Mick Jagger where he says he can't imagine himself singing "Satisfaction" at 40 years old.
CS: I always reference that. 50 years! Jesus Christ. He's been singing that song for 50 years! That's how they've been going. They started in '64. What was that song from
'65, '66? A long damn time.

MCB: It really does seem like uncharted territory. I mean even looking at Riot Fest with Rocket from the Crypt or someone more recent like Devotchka. It really is an
iconic time but it's hard to know who'll stick it out…
CS: We are in a culture of ADD. Where everyone has got this attention deficit. It's a constant turnover of everything. Entertainers now that are always on to the next
thing. Immediately. So how many bands have you seen in the last twenty years that have one or two songs and you never hear from them again. They have great songs
ya know but that's it.

MCB: Blondie has a pretty solid run on road into October. Almost no days off. What are your plans going into the winter?
CS: Actually we're laying low. I've got my Family life and other stuff but maybe work on the music. We're really trying to get music out a little more regularly without
these… several years. This new stuff is going to come out in November.

MCB: Is some of the music you are making available with the ticket sale, is that going to all be on the record?
CS: I think five songs with the tickets then we have thirteen uh, songs on the… (ha) We are in the street and we just passed the Google car. Yeah, there is going to be
thirteen songs on the record and sixteen tracks all together. So there's a bunch of stuff. We also worked on new versions of all the old hits. Which are similar. Ya know
a rerecord. Lot's of business reasons but also for how we sound now.

MCB: You just made public a selection of your private photo collection. It kinda reminded me somewhat of Allen Ginsberg's casual shots of all the Beats before they
made their names...
CS: Mine are a little less casual. Maybe a little more formal. But I was lucky enough to be in the midst of all this stuff as it was happening. Next year I have a book
coming out. I'm just working on that now.

MCB: I was wondering if when you're looking back at old photos if it's hard to choose which ones. Like is it the image or the context?
CS: The book, trying to collect whatever, two hundred or so images and make it cohesive. Have an arch maybe. That's a whole other ball game I've been working on.
MCB: Do you guys remember the first time Blondie played in Detroit or perhaps in a band before that?
CS: Naw I can't. Ya know people always ask me "What are your memories of" this and that and playing here and really after thousands of gigs it all blurs together. In
fact I remember more of Detroit the City and the streets, ya know more than I do avenue. When I get back to venues we played before then it does come back. Pulling it
out of my head is a whole other ball game.

MCB: I guess I was just curious if you had come to Detroit before you blew up let's say and played Bookie's or anywhere like that?
CS: Naw. I can't remember… It probably was right around '77, certainly… Oh ya know what? I remember it was a fucking Iggy gig with The Idiot tour, which was a
huge deal. That's what I remember. Shit! I did a couple other Detroit interviews and I forgot about that. That was a… Yeah that was a huge homecoming thing for him.
That was exciting. That was '77.

MCB: Thanks for the exclusive scoop! (laughter) Again we're really excited for you to come through town and your bringing X. That really is a great combo. Did you
know them before this tour?
CS: No, I didn't know them. I didn't hang out with those guys. I don't know, East, West Coast thing. But yeah it'll be good. I'm looking forward to it. Always have been
a fan certainly.

MCB: Listening wise do you find yourself on the tech savvy side or do you still prefer vinyl?
CS: No, no. I'm all… (ha) I'm not a Luddite. I believe in all the butter! Hey. Look. Let me say this. Michael Angelo. da Vinci. One of those two guys always used the most
modern equipment you could get your hands on, ya know? So if he was around now… if da Vinci was around now he would be using Photoshop.

MCB: Well maybe we'll see ya down at UHF, the record shop right down the road from Royal Oak Music Theatre.
CS: We want to go to that uh,… (laughing) We want to get thrown out of the pawn shop! (in reference to Hardcore Pawn)

MCB: (laughter) We'll see you in a few weeks.
CS: Yeah. Try and say hello.

MCB: I will. Thanks again for chatting it up with MOTORCITYBLOG!