OKAY, WE ALL KNOW THAT BLONDIE
is a band, not the singer, but during
the recent Call Me Invincible tour with
Pat Benatar, it’s clear that the singer
still knows how to make an entrance.
“Hey, I’m doing an interview with
Guitar Player,” says Blondie guitarist
Chris Stein, as singer/icon Deborah
Harry bursts into his dressing room at the Mountain
Winery in Saratoga, California.
“Who gives a f**k?” she says, dropping some sort
of vitamin concoction on the dressing table before zipping
back out the door.
“We’re playing all the hits on this tour,” says Stein,
rebooting without a hint of annoyance. “I think we’ll
be out in front of a lot of people who never got a chance
to see us before.”
Stein keeps his stage arsenal simple, relying on a
Marshall JCM900 head, a Vega 2x12 cabinet, his new
leather-covered Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster, and
a Dean Soltero.
“If something sounds good and it works, I don’t
mess with it,” he says. “For example, I keep the amp
clean, and just use a Tube Screamer for crunch.”
Stein is also demoing songs for a new Blondie album.
“I’ve never gone into a record with this much material
before,” he says. “I’m using Apple Logic, Native
Instruments Guitar Rig, Submersible Music DrumCore,
a Samson USB mic, and a laptop. Everything is right there,
so it’s easy to build songs. DrumCore gives you a ton of
beats, so I try to make patterns that sound like Clem
[Burke, Blondie drummer]. Debbie gets in there pretty
early, but I tend to write the melody lines on the guitar.”
When asked if it ever gets old performing classic
Blondie hits, Stein laughs, and says, “No, but I’m sure
the parts I play onstage now are way different from
what I played on the hits—many of which were ‘studio
constructed,’ and had nothing to do with the band playing
together. Check out the BBC radio show on ‘Heart
of Glass’ I posted at rednight.net, if you want an insight
into how some of our tracks were recorded in the late