Blondie Releases First Album in Eight Years

'I couldn't do it unless we were dedicated to being creative and making new music,' says Debbie Harry

debbie harry blondie
Daniel Boczarski/Redferns
Debbie Harry performs recently at the House of Blues in Chicago.
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Blondie's new LP Panic of Girls hit shelves on September 13th, but it's actually been in the can for well over a year. "It took so long to get out in America because we were figuring out how to distribute it," says Debbie Harry. "For a lot of bands like Blondie, it becomes increasingly hard to get a record deal because there really are no record companies. We're doing it on Amazon here in America."

As is always the case with Blondie, the songs on the LP are very musically diverse – ranging in style from pop to dance and even reggae.  "We've always tried to do a mixture," says Harry. "I've always thought it was directly related to New York City because there's so many different things going on there. It used to be that everything was very regional. The radio down South used to be different than the stuff you'd heard in New York or Chicago or Los Angeles. That's completely changed now. I think that's one of the special things that New York has always had. All these different styles exist simultaneously."

The band's creative process has changed little over the past three decades. [Guitarist] Chris [Stein] does the music and creates tracks for me," says Harry. "Then I sort of go off and try and put together a bunch of ideas and we toss it back and forth – and then I'll just go sit down and try to flesh it all out." Most of the tracks are original, but the band did record a reggae cover of "Sunday Smile" by Beirut. "I saw them in concert and was really impressed," says Harry. "Chris had this great affection for reggae, so we put a little reggae twist on it."

Blondie reformed in 1997 after a 15-year hiatus. Unlike many reunited bands from their era, they have continued to regularly make new music. "That was an agreement we made when we put the band back together," says Harry. "I said I couldn't do it unless we were dedicated to being creative and making new music. I had no interest in being in an oldies band." They do play many of their big hits on their current tour, including "Heart of Glass," "Call Me" and "Rapture." "We're finding that the new material is mixing in well with the hits from the past," says Harry. "We're getting really good feedback, but you can't please everybody."

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