Two iconic groups of New Wave rock, Blondie and Devo, have paired up for a late-summer tour. The bands perform Friday, Sept. 7, at Chateau Ste. Michelle, in Woodinville.
Taking advantage of the last days of summer, Blondie and Devo have teamed up for the “Whip It to Shreds” tour, a less-than-month-long New Wave-a-thon that opens Sept. 7 at Chateau Ste. Michelle and finishes up Sept. 26 in Chicago.
For Blondie, the tour follows a whirlwind of activity since the release of the group’s ninth studio album, “Panic of Girls,” last year.
“When we released the album, we did an extensive amount of touring and worked all last summer right up until Christmas, so we were maybe overexposed,” Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry said by phone from New York. “So we decided to wait and maybe get a later start this year.
“And then this Devo thing came along and we jumped at it. We loved the idea. We thought it would be so cool.”
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The still-glamorous 67-year-old singer (a former waitress and Playboy Bunny) was the most visible member of Blondie, a pioneering New Wave band that burst from the New York City underground scene in the late ’70s with the release of “Parallel Lines” and such hit singles as “Call Me,” “Rapture,” “Heart of Glass” and “One Way Or Another” — songs that mixed pop, disco, reggae and even rap. Before they found national fame, the band was a fixture at such legendary clubs as Max’s Kansas City, CBGB and Studio 54.
Harry has also enjoyed a long solo career, as well as a stint with The Jazz Passengers in the ’90s. But she is surprisingly low-key about her role in New York’s punk scene.
“Whether you like me or not, I’m an influence,” she said. “Humbly speaking, that’s it. You’re stuck with me. But, of course, I’m very flattered that young girls were listening to me and that what I was doing was making sense to them.”
Among the young girls Harry influenced — years after her rise to fame — was Lady Gaga, who interviewed Harry last summer for Harper’s Bazaar. The two pop icons from different eras hit it off.
“There’s a mutual admiration and understanding and respect,” Harry said of her interview with Lady Gaga. “Anybody who can climb to that degree of success, they’re really open to a lot of criticism and a lot of jealousy. And I think that she somehow has remained herself and remained creative. I also think that she’s truly a musician. As opposed to all the showbiz-y, shtick-y things that we all do to some degree.”
Gene Stout: firstname.lastname@example.org