Debbie Harry has finally finished her long-in-the-works memoir, Face It, which she expects will come out in the second half of 2020. “I talk a bit about my internal functions — not biological but mental,” the Blondie frontwoman, 73, tells Rolling Stone. “It’s more personal.”
The book will “weave through” her life story, she says, and will trace the ups and downs of her band, including her relationship with guitarist Chris Stein and his struggle with the disease pemphigus, as well as how they carried on. “It’s such a long period of time, and there’s so much to tell, that I couldn’t really isolate a lot of little stories and events,” she says. “It’s an overview of the way we got through and maintained and continued and carried on through all that time from my sort of warped little perspective.”
Reflecting on her history before the band through its 1997 reunion, Harry says writing the book helped her realize that she was born with an innate drive to push forward. “I was always obsessed to do music,” she says. “That seemed like the only thing that I could do or wanted to do. It just seemed like a part of me. And then meeting Chris, and Chris being this creative force, the optimistic fool that he is; I didn’t see any real reason to stop. We were forced to stop for a while for a lot of reasons. And then the opportunity came back that we could do it again. We could weather another storm of contractual obligations and fuck-ups and get past all that shit and get creative again and be a band. We’re lucky that that happened.”
Harry says things are easier now in the band, and there are outside forces that have made it so the group could continue. “I think the industry has improved and our management was more professional the second time around, ” she says. They knew what the game was, and it became very natural in a way.”
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Looking back on the band’s earliest days, Harry says she remembers that the band seemed to be “reaching” in its ambition. “I think that may be part of what carried us through,” she says, reflecting on the band’s self-titled first album from 1976. “We weren’t sitting in a safe place musically. We were always reaching and trying to do something that was maybe beyond our skills. But it forced us to be better and to work harder.”
That said, she has mixed feelings about Blondie. “Sometimes I think, ‘Oh, my God. It’s so … oh, Jesus, that’s embarrassing,'” she says. “But then I think, ‘Wow, we were so driven. We were really just inspired.’ We were just full of it — however you want to say ‘full of it’ means.”
Beyond working on the book and planning for their trip to Cuba, Blondie are getting ready to record a follow-up to 2017’s Pollinator. Stein tells Rolling Stone that they’ll again be working with producer John Congleton.