Blondie co-founder Chris Stein hears traces of his band in a lot of contemporary rock and pop, from Garbage to Lady Gaga. It’s an impressive range of influence for an outfit once considered the ugly duckling of New Wave acts toiling in the sweaty, steamy environs of New York’s CBGB back in the 1970s.
“Assuming we even have a vision, it was very much less formed in those days,” Stein said. “When the Ramones came in, they were the Ramones. When Talking Heads came in, they were Talking Heads. They were very specific about what they were doing and they were very defined. We were much less defined. What we aspired to was eclecticism.”
Blondie achieved it. Fronted by über-sexy Debbie Harry, a former Playboy bunny, the trio mined pop, punk, disco, reggae and techno for aural seductions like “Heart of Glass,” “One Way or Another,” “The Tide Is High” and “Call Me.” In 2006, it won induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Stein, 62, said he’s enamored of today’s pop world.
“I love the minimalism, the stripped-down nature. Pop music has always been 50 percent crap. It was no different in 1967 than it is now,” he said. “We’re in a new paradigm. I think we’re better off without the music companies.
“Skrillex is great — I love his approach, just saying, ‘I don’t give a fuck who downloads my music as long as they’re listening to it.’ There’s a freedom now. The fact now that two guys with a laptop can make a record for the price of the laptop is kinda great.”
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