Debbie Harry: I think Gaga has probably been more influenced by Madonna than me.

There have been several platinum blonde singers in popular music: Madonna, Gwen Stefani and Lady Gaga, to name a few. But one woman started it all: Debbie Harry. Her band, Blondie, which is appearing at Stubb’s Bar-B-Q this month, was one of the most influential new wave groups to emerge in the late ’70s with hits like “Call Me” and “Heart of Glass.” With the band’s 40th anniversary coming up in 2014, the group announced it was putting out its 10th album, Ghosts of Download, later this year. At 68 years old, Harry still feels like a rock ‘n’ roll rebel.
What can you tell us about your new album?
We wanted to make a slightly more dance-oriented collection. The Blondie albums traditionally have a wide frame of reference, different styles of music we try to incorporate. On this record we did a lot more collaborating with outside people. It’s kind of textured and interesting in a different way for us.
How do you feel about new female artists who are inspired by you?
I’m sure that they’re lots of girls out there that I’m not aware of. I think that we all build on what we see and what we hear around us. You choose the things that you like and the things that are more instinctive for you. I think Gaga has probably been more influenced by Madonna than me, but then Madonna has said that she was influenced by me. It really is a layering and a building process.
What keeps you inspired to make new music?
I just don’t like living in the past. I really am curious, I guess. I feel comfortable hearing things that I love, but I like being turned on to something new. It’s exciting to me. I don’t always want to be in my comfort zone.
What do you like to do when you visit Austin?
We always try and see the bats come out from under the bridge. I like walking around going to all the vintage stores. I used to play at the Armadillo, and that was always outstanding. I think one of my favorite memories about Austin was the first time I saw Bob Marley and his whole entourage perform in Austin. Everyone was so into Marley and he put on a great show. It was really a long time ago, like in the ’70s.



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