Parallel Lives, Blondie (Book Review)

Parallel Lives, Blondie by Dick Porter & Kris Needs (Omnibus Press, ISBN 978-1-78038-129-9)

Now THIS is a story, and while many of the revelations are not necessarily of the pleasant variety, it certainly fills in a lot of the gaps for those of us who followed the New York scene of the early 70s and early 80s so closely.

The great, long lost, rock magazine Rock Scene was the first place I vividly remember reading about and seeing Blondie. In amongst the (mostly pictorial) pages and witty one-liners dedicated to rest of the nascent “punk/new wave” scene-makers Blondie stood out as the group most dedicated to fun, 60s music and pop as art. That is not to say that they didn’t take their craft seriously, they certainly did, but Blondie was out to be creative and have a good time doing it. Maybe this is why some of the jealousy and competiveness of their counterparts crept in. Possibly Blondie just didn’t take themselves seriously enough and spout enough of the hollow clichés preferred by the “hipper than thou” set to be considered more relevant or worthy? They certainly end up suffering for their art that’s for sure! Naive business decisions, pathetic record company choices, marketing and support, and the long arm of the IRS all play their typical parts but Blondie certainly never seems to have had a problem idea wise.  Sometimes a bit of creative tension sure, and that is also part of the band’s story. They pushed the boundaries that the “punk elite” seemed to shun and while we may be grateful for it now it wasn’t always the case back then. Remember the controversy in some quarters on “Heart of Glass”? I certainly do.

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Included here as well is up to the present details of Deborah Harry’s solo career, Chris Stein’s label work and illness, and the Blondie reunion shows. Band members Clem Burke, Jimmy Destri, Frank Infante, Nigel Harrison and Gary Valentine all get their say too and, again, it isn’t always pretty but at least it comes across as honest which is something often missing in a book like this.

Kris Needs (Zigzag magazine, numerous rock bios) and Dick Porter (Glam Racket!, Trash! The Complete New York Dolls) do a fantastic job here interviewing all the relevant parties, taking us back to the seedy crusty, scummy and dangerous New York of the 60s and 70s, and introducing up close and personal into the world of one of the most iconic hit-making bands of the 70s and early 80s.

*Eyeplug says: Dick Porter was also one time Editor and Author for and Kris Needs has also written for Eyeplug so if you dig us, then support this fine publication! Best of luck with the project chaps!


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Colin -Mohair Sweets- Bryce

One of Canada’s late 70’s “punk” rock crowd and from 1997 to 2007 the fellow behind Mohair Sweets print and webzine. Currently passes the time by playing the odd gig or two, shaking his head, wringing his hands and pondering whether or not the tape vaults of the legendary Pirates are really exhausted.

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Originally posted 2012-06-19 10:12:43. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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