Few people would dispute the fact that one of the queens of rock & roll would have to be Debbie Harry, so when the phone rang as it does most times when someone wants to hire me to play drums for them the voice on the other end says, "Are you available for these dates ? xx/xx/xx" sure... and xx/xx/xx?" This one I'm not sure about.... VALENTINES DAY! (sH!t... My girlfriend's going to kill me!) This one I'll definitely have to get back to you about. By the way who is it with anyway? Oh!.. (short pause) Deborah Harry and Chris Stien... Yeah, I think I can make ALL those dates: ) ya' got anymore?
Well, I was pleased to say the least remembering my pre-pubesent days sitting in front of the tv watching "Solid Gold" (the dancers) and being totally captivated seeing the "Heart of Glass" video for the first time. This was long before I picked up a pair of drum sticks or MTV was even a concept!
When I received the tape I was pleasantly surprised to see the diversity of styles that we were to perform ranging from reggae to afro/cuban all the way to the expected Blondie material. Little did I know but Deborah (as she was calling herself to differentiate this project from Blondie) was a real talent and could hang with the best of them. It seems Blondie had just finished recording their new record "No Exit" and were searching for a major label to pick it up. In the meantime Ms. Harry and Chris Stien were keeping their chops up by doing side projects like "the Jazz Passengers" and this one called "House A'Fire".
I show up at the first rehearsal and most of the musicians already knew each other from previous musical situations, but I hadn't played with any of them. Being the new guy people were friendly to a point but with some reservation.. Deborah was coming a little later and we were to work up some tunes beforehand. So, I kicked off the first number an afro-cuban 6/8 thing and it smoked! After we finished all were silent..... then suddenly the keyboardist / band leader stands up and says, "Wow! now that we know you can play... What was your name?" needless to say things went smoothly from then on.
Deb and Chris showed up and came over to introduce themselves (nice down to earth people without a hint of their prior accomplishments : ) and we rehearsed just like I had been doing my whole musical life. We were all creative working musicians none better or less important. We all knew who just finished the new Matthew Sweet album and was to do the tour to follow or who had just finished the score to and opening on broadway next month etc. but all especially Deb were ordinary people who just happen to make their living in a unique and sometimes highly public way.
I did learn some interesting things about Ms. Harry one of which was that she formed Blondie in her early thirties and didn't have a hit single until she was thirty three!
Well needless to say shortly after meeting and performing with Chris and Deb the album got picked up by BMG and the single "Maria" took off on the charts. All I can say is Ms. Harry if Clem ever gets food poisoning and you need a sub my number is................