looming pomposity. There’s grace in
Harry: laud her
Deborah Harry would seem to have it all: a successful solo career and a dog that bit William Burroughs.
Gavin Inglis wanted to know more.
‘I wouldn‘t go as far as to say any of it was particularly great! Staying alive. being happy . . . I think that's enough.‘
A rather downbeat way of answering a question about your greatest achievement, but then Deborah Harry is philosophical these days. Blondie's atomic career was arrested in 1981 when her co-writer and lover at the time. Chris Stein. was taken seriously ill and she took time off to care for him. They’ve since broken up. though they still work together. and in recent years her solo career has taken off.
Being the face of a legend is something that tends to haunt you. but she shrugs this off. still convinced Blondie was a good thing for her. ‘Oh yeah! Fantastic. I don't know if it was the greatest thing ever. but it was a great experience for me. I don’t have any regrets about it. That would be a waste of my time. Shuddawudacuda.‘
‘Should I. would I, could I? It doesn‘t make much sense tome.‘
Unfortunately. other people love to make comparisons. After she played a low-key gig in a London club at the end of September. the British tabloids took great delight in putting her beside the
Debbie of l977. Reaction varied wildly; the whole range of clichés from ‘she can still turn it on' to ‘her stomach was showing‘.
‘What can I say? I guess it‘s inevitable that all kinds ofopinions are voiced. Anyone who becomes a public ﬁgure puts themselves on the block, so to speak. I don‘t always agree with it, but I certainly can cope with it.‘
For quite a while in the 80s. she kept mostly out of the public eye. Does she enjoy being a celebrity. as such?
‘I think my primary objectives are . . . world domination, so ofcourse I enjoy it. Don't be silly!‘ , Deborah laughs offa previous interview in which i she said a basic animosity towards the rest ofthe human race was what kept her going. ‘It must have been one of those days! I'm not responsible for that.’ 5 She does keep going. whatever her reasons. and not i just musically. On celluloid, she’s worked with ! directors like Martin Scorsese and John Carpenter. " Who could forget her smouldering part in Videodrome? Nor can she be accused of not keeping up to date, ; when you consider her collaborations with the likes ‘ of cyberauthor William Gibson and Swiss artist H. R. Giger (whose eerie paintings were the inspiration for the look ofthe creature in Alien) on her last album Debravation (Gibson co-wrote a song. Giger did an uncredited keyboard solo). The resulting track. ‘Dog Star Girl‘, is one of her favourites, and she claims to have no problem in finding fresh ideas. ‘There are so many sources of information , nowadays and so much culture. world culture, that we can all be richer for. Once you start getting involved with that it's a son of endless process. Also I think the more you work, the better you get at what you do. You make better choices, you become
1 technically more competent. It all contributes.‘
So this is the grown-up, mature Ms Harry we’re finally seeing?
‘Some nerve! I've become more of an adult. I think it would have been probably better if I became an adult earlier, but it's happened now, so . . . I can live with it.‘
Finally. would anything cause her to put down the
microphone, tojust stop for good?
‘l guess when I get to that. everyone will know, and
I‘ll know, and . . . tomatoes, i guess. Two rotten
I Deborah Harry plays Glasgow Royal Concert Hall 5 on Friday 26.
Raw sex .
‘lt’s that time again when I lose my friends, go walkabout, I've got the bends from PBESSURE.’ ‘All this FHUSTRATIOll, I can’t meet all my , desires.’ ‘I’m so ALONE tonight, my bed I feels larger than when I was small.’
If the opening lines of ‘Gold Mother’, ‘ ‘Seven’ and now ‘Laid’ hold any significance, then the major label 1 James, or at least the major label Tim l Booth, are troubled souls. As the sales 3 increased, the momentum increased, and the band were swept along, caught up in a crush of angst and overblown rock music.
At least now, with their sixth album, James have opened up to their inner tunnoils and outer traumas, and acted quickly to close down any signs of
them thar angsts. ‘Almost all of the
songs on the album are first or second takes, live in the studio,’ says violinist Saul Davies. ‘That’s where the fragility and the openness comes from. On ‘Seven’ we overcooked everything, we wanted everything to be perfect . . .’
Colorado after one-and-a-half rehearsals, and we were shitting it basically because we had no idea if we’d get away with it. And the response from the audience was fantastic. And that day we realised there was more than one way for James to perform. It was wonderful!’ In stepped Brian ﬁne, the master
Two rock grandees were pivotal in Jarnes’s rebirth nine years after first forming. Last year, lleil Young invited the band onto his acoustic tour of America. ‘We got onstage in front of 12,000 people at lied Rocks in
craftsman, forcing James to be James again, jamming around, lmprovislng, going with the flow. In six weeks in Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios, they had the sparse triumph that is ‘Laid’, plus 25 other tracks, to be released as an album in February. ‘It was partly a deliberate process by ion to keep us away from the songs on ‘Laid’,’ reckons Davies, ‘to keep us from getting bored and going, “Oh I just wanna do a bit more guitar!” But they let it lie, and James are all the better for finding favour in faults. let’s hear it for the raw and the undercooked. (Craig McLean)
James play the Barrowland Glasgow on Vled 1.
The List 19 November—2 December 1993 27