As icons go, Deborah (less of the Debbie, please. She’s not an Eighties Jewish housewife from Leeds…) Harry is, quite possibly, our favouritist. And we got to chat to her AND EVERYTHING. Quite possibly in a pool of wet wee. This is what she had to say about a whole bunch of stuff. Enjoyeth…
As someone who’s been there, done that, done a lot of people! – what do you think of the fast-track nature of fame these days, what with talent shows and the like?
Well, talent shows are very entertaining – and I mean that in the most vicious way! I feel sorry for the contestants – it must be really hard for them – but maybe they’re getting what they want from it. Maybe they just don’t have the confidence or imagination to do it any other way. It takes a lot of confidence to do it that way.
Looking back to when you were trying to make it, living in scuzzy flats, do you think, yeah, a talent show would’ve been an easier option?
No, because then I was totally immersed and obsessed with what I was doing and I was living the life. To me, it was hard work and it was scary and chancy but also thrilling and wonderful and perfectly in line with being a ‘starving artist’ or a bohemian of some sort. I really fitted into my vision, I suppose.
Did you ever worry you’d end up working in a diner in Cleveland?
The one thing I worried about and used to say was, “Oh God, I’m going to end up being a bag lady on the street!” In our country old people really are at risk. It’s sort of a tragedy and it’s always struck me that older people really suffer.
Did you really worry about sinking that low?
I think that would be my lowest point. And Chris (Stein) would go, “Shut up!”
Romance-wise, are there many men out there who feel up to going out with Deborah Harry?
I’m really so easy and so nice, it’s funny! I can’t imagine what people think.
But who feels they can live up to a beauty icon of our times?
I don’t know! It’s not my problem (laughs).
Do you have shagging outfits?
Of course! It would be something that made me look beautiful and sexy. I don’t know if there’s anything specific; it would just depend on my mood and where I was going. If I was going to some rock ‘n’ roll thing it would probably be some really hot-looking boots and pants and probably something low.
What’s your secret to looking so great?
Good surgery. And I’m lucky, I have Scottish skin. All the Scottish girls I know have incredible skin.
You’re really big on the gay scene – do you still go out to gay clubs?
A fair amount. Not as much as I used to, and the scene’s not quite what it was in New York now – since 9/11 really. And of course Jackie’s closed down, which is very depressing because I just adored going there. But there’s a great gay club called Mr Black, which is so much fun.
Being older and wiser, do you care what happens to the records or are they just fun to do?
When I do something I want the most to happen from it. I’m a very optimistic person so my dreams are always very big. It’s not like I can throw something out there and say, “Whatever happens, happens!” I’m fully involved with going through the process – I don’t think it’s worth going through unless you’re committed to it.
Not to arse-lick too much, but the new album (Necessary Evil) is really great…
Thank you! A friend suggested I work with these new guys called Super Buddha, who were amazing and it was such an enjoyable process. We were like, “Well, if we write some more then it can be a solo project” so that’s what we did.
How are the Blondie guys when you do a solo project? Do they get pissed off?
We’ve always gone off and done our own projects, we all do and I think it’s good for the band. But I certainly like it when we get back together. That’s my comfort zone.
And now there’s the musical based on your back catalogue. Did you jump at Desperately Seeking Susan when they brought it to you or was it like, ‘Erm, I don’t think so!’?
They’ve been working on it for two years or so. When they came to us with the idea we weren’t sure at first, but I love the film and it’s such a fun thing and I think the songs work with it. And they were so enthusiastic and so professional. We’ve heard a run through of it in New York, and it’s really great!
Do you feel like the ‘grande dame’ of pop?
(Laughs) Ah yes, une grande dame…! It’s like I’ve become this reference or turning point for a lot of people. I guess in a way that’s double-edged. If I dwell on it I think, “Oh God, I’m so old!” I mean, we all have moments. And other times I’m terrifically and wonderfully satisfied and proud.
You said that the older you get, the better you feel about things – is that still true?
It’s true, absolutely. I’m so much happier doing what I do and I feel like I’m so much better at it.
You were in your thirties in your heyday – how did you look so good?
I don’t know! Just my genetics I guess. Either that or I’m totally retarded!
Deborah Harry’s album, Necessary Evil, is out on Monday. As in 10th September. We approve, highly.