Earlier this year, Blondie front woman Deborah Harry said that their upcoming U.S. summer tour with the New Cars would be the band’s last.
But don’t write off Harry just yet. The iconic singer, who’s also forged a career as an actress, has a few things going on.
AP: Why is this the last Blondie tour?
Harry: We were going to end it after the last tour in the U.K. [in December] but then we got the nomination to be inducted [to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame] and then got the opportunity to tour North America again [with the New Cars]. We thought it would be nice to end here at home.
AP: What happens if you want to tour again?
Harry: A lot of people say it’s their last tour and then continue on for the next seven or 10 years. I really want to be in a group that has full participation by everybody. We’re not in that position. We have members that are not totally active. It’s not the same ensemble as it once was.
AP: What’s next?
Harry: I’m doing a play called “Achilles Heels.” I hope to do another play off-Broadway, more film work, a solo work in music. We’ll see what comes up.
AP: What did it mean to you turning 60 last year?
Harry: After I guess the initial shock of it (laughs) I just went on with my life. I’m a very lucky person and I enjoy life and I’m reasonably healthy.
AP: Coming from the downtown punk scene, how does it feel now having all these corporate tie-ins with the tour?
Harry: I think it’s a very difficult business. The nature of the business has changed radically. I’m not a merchandiser and I’m not an agent or a promoter. These people are doing business and I’m a musician and an artist. I like to stay there (laughs). I’m not a terrific businessperson. Perhaps you should ask Madonna.
AP: Speaking of which, I read an interesting quote from Shirley Manson saying that nobody, even Madonna, could out-cool Debbie Harry.
Harry: Shirley’s awfully nice isn’t she? Or maybe she’s on some awfully strong drinks.
AP: Do you agree with that, that no one’s been able to out-cool you in the pop arena?
Harry: Some days I feel that way and some days I don’t. If they only knew.
AP: What perks do you get now that you are a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer?
Harry: I found that a lot of people that normally would never say anything to me are very congratulatory and are taking notice. It’s elevated Blondie to the level of beyond being a cult band. It’s put us into a bigger margin of understanding with the general public.
AP: If you could redo any performance over the past two or three decades, which one would it be?
Harry: That last two or three decades?! You want me to remember? ... (Laughs) Nothing. It’s all a blur.
AP: How has your stage performance changed?
Harry: Now I concentrate on singing well when at one time I was much more physical and would throw myself around and was completely breathless. Now I focus on the vocals instead of all that fury.
AP: What’s the most important thing to bring on the tour bus?
Harry: My makeup! My computer. A good book ... I’m reading “East of Eden.” I suddenly realized that I had never read it and I love Steinbeck.
AP: What is your diva request that you always have to have backstage?
Harry: Throat Coat tea. Lemon and honey. I don’t think I was ever much of a boozer. I’m a cheap date.