By: Rotten
Tribute Bands - What an excellent thing they are, bringing people's heroes back from the dead, or giving people the chance to see a classic band that never tours much or whose prices are so inflated you have to re-mortgage your home to see 4 dots on a stage. I cut my musical teeth in Sex Pistols tribute bands, and we played shows with many others, but my good friend SUZIE D. RAMONE bought an absolutely stunning recreation of Blondie to my attention.

BOOTLEG BLONDIE offer a unique tribute to Blondie, from the roots in the New York punk scene, to Blondie's global domination and chart stardom, and while all the band are excellent musician who re-create the music perfectly, the main focal point of the band is DEBBIE HARRIS - not only a dead ringer for Deborah Harry, but most impressively, she has the vocals and attitude to match. Being the only Blondie tribute band to play the Legendary CBGB's club, this event led to the real Chris Stein and Deborah Harry getting in touch with the band.

I have seen and heard the band, and can thoroughly recommend them for a great show and spookily one of those "stand at the back of the room and it IS Blondie" moments.

To get the lowdown, lets talk to the woman herself, the great DEBBIE HARRIS.....
Punk Globe: firstly, thanks for taking the time to do the interview. Now, How did BOOTLEG BLONDIE form, when and why?
Debbie Harris: We were in an originals band for a while, we recorded a couple of singles, pressed them ourselves and played some live sessions on GLR, Capital Radio and Radio 2. We also recorded a couple of tracks at Acid Jazz for Eddie Pillar for a compilation. Then under the pseudonym Granny Takes A Trip we recorded 'Become Like You' for the Small Faces tribute album 'Long Agos and World's Apart'. We always used to play some Blondie covers in our sets and people kept asking for more, so we decided to form a Blondie tribute band. As my name is Debbie Harris, it was kizmet! We put it together at a friend's party in Greenwich in 2001. We haven't looked back!
Punk Globe: How easy or hard did you all find it to first re-create the sound and vocals of such a Legendary band?
Debbie Harris: It wasn't hard it was a pleasure!!! We have always loved Blondie. The music still stands up today and Debbie Harry's lyrics are so cool. Clem Burke's drumming is exceptional and Chris Stein's guitar licks are luscious!
Punk Globe: Did you do any special research into the different era's and costumes of Blondie to get the show right, or did you just start with one era and work up to a full show?
Debbie Harris: We gathered everything we could find and went from there. Even now we are still collecting old and new video footage of the band, live bootleg recordings, people even send us things over from America! Our loft is jam packed with Blondie. We love collecting the old original bits, fan club newsletters, silk scarves, badges, pictures, posters etc. I make most of the stage costumes myself.
Punk Globe: What have members of Blondie and their peers said of BOOTLEG BLONDIE's performances, or have you heard feedback from them?
Debbie Harris: We had a lovely message from Debbie Harry wishing us good luck with our show when she heard we were playing CBGBs in 2006. She and Chris Stein also signed Andy's guitar and our favourite Blondie album Plastic Letters. She even signed our BB flyer's and nicked our pen! Clem Burke Blondie's drummer has been amazing. We've met him a few times. He arranged to see us before a gig and signed our drum skin, which we use all the time. He also threw us a drum stick at a Southend gig and after the show we went back and he signed it for us! One of our drummers is a good friend of his and when Tony played with us this year Clem actually asked him how his gig went with Bootleg Blondie!!!! Tony said it was harder work than he had thought it would be and Clem replied 'Yes that's how it was when I played with the Ramones'!!!!!
Punk Globe: Which songs were the hardest to get right?
Debbie Harris: Love At The Pier - tempo change, Detroit 442 - intro, the end of Kung Fu Girls. We like a challenge!
Punk Globe: Do you ever feel like doing your own or other material and do you still listen to Blondie as much now even though you are performing it?
Debbie Harris: Sometimes we play our favorite 70s and 80s New Wave/Punk songs as a support to our Blondie set and yes we are still listening to Blondie. We were given a recording of Blondie performing Studio 54 (written by Duran Duran) which was never released and we have been including it in our set recently. I'm now looking forward to their new album Panic Of Girls out soon.
Punk Globe: If offered, would you front the real Blondie if asked, or would you stay with the Tribute?
Debbie Harris: Of course I would go for the real one as long as the dates didn't clash with Bootleg Blondie dates ha ha!
Punk Globe: What has been your best and worst show to date?
Debbie Harris: Best show? CBGBs New York City! To be on that stage and say 'Hello CBGBs 1234!' Worst show? No such thing!!!!! But the worst sight was going back to New York and seeing that CBGBs had turned in to a designer clothes shop! What a waste!
Punk Globe: What has been the bands biggest achievement - given the limits of tribute bands?
Debbie Harris: Again playing CBGBs, the original members of Blondie giving us their blessing and meeting people who come to our gigs from all over, some who've seen the real Blondie past and present and love what we do.
Punk Globe: What else would you like to achieve?
Debbie Harris: A bigger changing screen for my fast costume changes and a bigger van to fit them in!
Punk Globe: Where can people find out more about BOOTLEG BLONDIE?
Debbie Harris: You can visit our website: www.bootlegblondie.com. We also have sites on Facebook including a Fan Club run by the lovely Suzie D. Ramone and another on Myspace.