Debbie Harry, New York’s punk grandmother

At 75, the singer of the Blondie group curates her biography, ‘De cara’, in which she recounts her artistic and personal life in an intimate and irreverent way

D.ebbie Harry, the vocalist de Blondie, just turned 75, but still claims to be “a New York punk” in his autobiography, Face (Dome), an intimate and irreverent portrait of his artistic and personal life through which the discography of his group flows, his relationship with Bowie, Iggy Pop, Warhol, Ramones or Basquiat, hobbies such as art, reading and cinema, shared with roles in the films of Coixet, Cronenberg or John Waters, her rape when she was young, her flirting with drugs or her eternal feeling of family abandonment, since she was adopted. “Those are dark memories, but we laughed a lot,” he explains.

He never had the intellectual approval of Talking heads nor the cazurro and melodic punk congratulations of the Ramones, but Blondie is part of the triumvirate that forged the emergence of punk and new wave in the United States, New York in the mid-1970s. Coinciding with the 75th birthday of His vocalist, Debbie Harry, he releases a biography in Spanish that goes above and beyond offering an analysis of more than four decades of music, delving into his 11 studio albums, of which the band, which is still active, has sold more than 40 million records.

Harry comes face to face in the book, written without stories, in a simple and intimate way, without circumlocutions and spontaneously and irreverently narrating his experience in the punk and new wave scene, his creative process, his experience with drugs, the stories intimate and her collaborations with other artists and uncensored the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated industry and its success. A story of determination, that of a woman who understood this from childhood and who chose to “live in New York and be an artist”.

Born Angela Trimble in 1945, Harry was an illegitimate daughter abandoned by her mother who was given up for adoption and lived happily in a small town on the outskirts of the Big Apple. Dreamer, tomboy, follower of fashion, dance, television and Marilyn Monroe, she moved with 20 years to the city of dreams where she worked for the BBC, as a waitress at Max Kansas City, she was a bunny of Playboy and had “a difficult but interesting time” when she began her first musical adventures with The Wind in the Willows or the Stilletos trio, where she met Chris Stein, her romantic partner for 13 years and co-leader of Blondie.

Crazy years

Blondie’s first seven years were “insane”, writes Harry, who draws a “pure, raw and visceral” itinerary of the band’s emergence from clubs like CBGB and with a clear idea, to be a leader in a rock scene. dominated by Men. “I emphasized the idea of ​​being a very feminine woman leading a rock band. She was a blow-up doll with a very dark, provocative and aggressive side,” she admits. He did this by singing subversive songs with a pop sensibility and a clear punk philosophy. “It was the do-it-yourself attitude. I was a punk, I still am,” he confesses, though he throws a fierce criticism of his evolution. “It has evolved to become a commodity,” he complains.

“Art and business are really uncomfortable bed companions. I just needed the freedom to create,” he muses. And it wasn’t always successful, like specific episodes in blonde, especially in its first phase, marked by a “sensual but, at the same time, strangely disappointing” fame, that is, his passage to the cinema, where his roles in the disturbing Videodrome, by Cronenberg, the nostalgic and funny Hair spray, de John Waters, or My life without meby Isabel Coixet. The book makes public that he was offered a role in Blade Runner and that his record company wouldn’t let him.

In addition to the “life on the edge” of the first Blondie, This led to their downfall after selling 40 million records due to bad business choices and tax problems, the autobiography intimately tells about her relationship with Stein, the pain after their separation and the eternal love she will forever feel for. he. “I will never stop loving him and taking care of him,” she acknowledges, as she declares herself friends with her current partner. Particularly chilling is the chapter on the illness of the composer and guitarist of blonde, and his confession seems to show that if the proposal to regroup 17 years later hadn’t started with him, he would have continued his happy life away from Blondie.

Art and party

Face also serves to get to know more personal aspects of Harry, in addition to those related to music. It is particularly disturbing when she recounts the rape she suffered at the beginning of Blondie and merely writes “I can’t say I was terrified; in the end, the guitars that were stolen from us hurt much more than the rape itself.” The book, seen as “a way to say thank you” as well as an opportunity to “explore my inner space”, leaves us episodes about his interest in art and parties, which he shared with his friend Warhol.

Those who approach the book will know more hidden aspects of Harry, such as his interest in reading, photography, costumes, morning coffee, his voyeurism, or his involvement in campaigns related to the defense of natural life or against AIDS. And, of course, on its pages, among music and various drugs, Bowie, Iggy Pop, Ramones, Television, her occasional lover Harry Dean Stanton, Thompson Twins € Disappointed by the success of having brought her “lost freedoms” 75 years and after the deaths of Bowie or Joey Ramone, he admits that he experienced as “a liberation” the recognition that his periods of sadness and pain came from “abandonment” of his childhood.

Happy and icon of a rock and pop that “is not just for children”, Harry, who sees surgery “as another way to take care of myself”, tells us “almost everything” because “it is better to always leave the public who wants more “.


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