Blondie: Chris Stein
News about Chris Stein, guitarist and songwriter for the rock band Blondie.
vast majority of mail is very positive...
Posted by Chris Stein at 3/24/2006 09:37:00 PM
i have to say that the vast majority of mail i have been getting is very positive stuff with great attitude and funny comments so thank you all for that a lot...
when i equate our rock and roll feuding with tabloid stories i certainly dont mean to make light of any fans who care about what we do... but no matter what someone always is not going to get my intention... what must it be like as a politician trying to please all the constituents?
i do need to address (again) the complaints about us passing by people waiting for autographs... first let me assure you that for every person who doesnt get an autograph signed there are likely a hundred who do... its just impossible to do an organised signing every night after a show and depending on a great many different things we sometimes will 'do a runner' to get out of the place and get on the road to the next venue as fast as possible thereby of course disappointing fans who waited... when conditions permit and we dont have a really long drive (sometimes 10 or more hours with a show the next night) and no one is seriously ill or exhausted we will try and see as any people as possible... what generally happens is debbie will get on the bus and have people pass stuff up to be signed... i'm sorry if people feel sleighted, i know for sure i have passed by groups of fans without signing but i try very hard not to do that and get a lot more messages from people thanking us for signing their stuff than i do from people who feel they have been overlooked once again i can only say that the BEST WAY to get autographs is to send something you want signed together with a self addressed stamped envelope to a gig we are playing at... i must have written this on here like five times already
most of you 'get it'; what we do is very tough and its not always possible to stop
now beyond that how many bands have a place where you can write directly to the members and be pretty certain that what you write will be read?
i wonder if "trapped in the closet" has any relation to "the umbrellas of chrebourg" (just kidding)
the last hall of fame thing
Posted by Chris Stein at 3/23/2006 06:36:00 PM
thank you all for your comments and this is positively absolutely the last hall of fame thing i'm gonna write for a while
now the thing is history and i'm gonna request that instead of writing to me complaining that we should have served history by letting 'the boys' play that you write to brad pitt and complain about his shabby treatment of jennifer, its all the same... today at the supermarket i had a moment of horror "like diamond bullet" as the fella says, as i realized the hoopla about blondie's 'hall of fame controversy' and the bullshit in the tabloids is all the same... back in ancient days when i was the rolling stones number one fan along with a million others i was disappointed when Ronnie Wood replaced Mick Taylor but i didnt lose much sleep over it and still remained a fan for another six or seven albums after the change...
ok, i dont have a clue what Gary was thinking or talking about when he said that x-offender "got us a record deal" when to my recollection that song was recorded after we got the deal... but history is very subjective and i'm sure that Gary's perceptions are as real to him as mine are to me and neither one of us may actually be "right" whatever the fuck that is... so i wont deny having feelings about what went on and my relationship to people i used to work with back in the day but over the years of ups and downs in this band i have always made an effort to let shit go and i would urge any of you who are pissed off in any slight way about any of this to do the same...
now... with all of this junk i have forgotten to mention something i saw that amused and amazed me; it was R Kelly's "trapped in the closet"... this long rap video is one of the weirdest things i have encountered in a long time... our close friend John the NYC firefighter had been carrying on about it for some time but i didnt get it until he brought us a copy to 'experience' might be the best way to put it... 'trapped in the closet' is like unto a david lynch on acid film... even without the midget i couldn't help but make the comparison, just one of the all around strangest bits of media... the music is as strange as the images, one might think that in writing an almost hour long rap song one might think of some variance in its composition, not so in 'trapped' and the repetition adds to the strangeness... totally as crazy as the thing itself is the commentary by Kelly which consists of him smoking a cigar while sitting and watching 'trapped in the closet'... he explains it in the simplest terms as if we were all total idiots... any of you who are fans of the weird should check this out, i guarantee it will be regularly viewed on the blondie bus this summer
saw V vendetta which i liked, it is a sad thing, it is a sad thing that the voice of liberalism (not to mention that the terms liberal and conservative have both drifted far from their actual meanings) in this country is these days relegated to the realm of humor and entertainment... V is a too close metaphor for todays headlines, but its message is softened somewhat by the vehicle... in the same vein "Goodnight And Goodluck" is harrowing when one considers how far television has fallen away from the promise that Murrow and others of his time saw for it... i presume that Murrows final speech of the film in which he predicts that television on its current path is nothing more than "a box with lights and wires", a glorified light machine, is verbatim... i recall a bit of what tv was like back in those days... i was moved by the finale of V, as barbara said too "because it wont happen" that way... V is simplistic but its all there, for me 'goodnight' is the really scary film especially after experiencing the power of tv first hand last week... when i was a little kid i knew that 1984 was about right now: the screen controls us
i have a bit more to say for now
Posted by Chris Stein at 3/17/2006 09:06:00 PM
i have a bit more to say for now and then i'm gonna let it go... this shit will never go away, BLONDIE has had so many ups and downs its just another in a long list of... i'm not sure what
i got one or two messages from irate supposed fans... one goofy letter: "i'm a fan but cause you didnt let these guys play and debbie was so mean to them i'm not a fan any more and all my friends are never going to buy your records bla bla etc"
i had two reactions; my first feeling was of course that this person really isnt a fan they just found a good opportunity to take a pot shot... reading stuff that i get from the masses opens me up to all manner of dumb abuse, and as i've mentioned in the past, i may get a hundred messages of praise and still react to the one negative thing in spite of how stupid it is...
but then i realised today that a lot of people are JUST READING reports of what went down at the award ceremony and that makes a huge difference to their perception... beyond that some of these reports are taken second hand from other reports... so i can see that someone reading that the poor guy asked to play and debbie callously (a lot of editorializing goes into these things) told them 'she already had a band' might be taken at surface... just watch the damn show...
if those guys really had wanted to play with us the first thing they might have done was to call one of us and ask... of course this never happened... do you know what did happen?
a person from our managment pulled me aside and said:
"you're not gonna believe this..."
"what?" i said
"...the old guys from the band?"
"they called and said that they have a girl singer and a lawyer and they want to play blondie songs..."
"yeah so? thats weird but fine with me." i said
"WAIT WAIT! they called the hall of fame and said they wanted to do it on the show... the people from the show went ballistic!"
so this conversation really took place... i dont know if any of it is true or not or much care... but i really mean it that if one of them had tried to speak to me in person... well i dont know what i would have thought even then but i certainly wouldnt have been mean to them or told them to piss off... debbie said the same thing... any of you who are pissing and whining about us playing without nigel gary or frank, just get this through your heads: none of them ever asked any of us if they could play with us at the event! that would have had to have happened as a first step... none of us was going to call any of them and ask them to do it i will say that... playing music is a very personal thing, any of you who have been through a divorce know the kind of intense shit that goes on... frank wasnt in the band for the last year of blondie before we broke up back then, we did two albums and had number one hits all over the world before frank or nigel joined bla bla bla... our real fans know the deal... i dont know what the hell else i can say... no matter how much any of us go over how we feel about the whole thing or what we think the 'real story' is somebody will disagree so ultimately my advice is to find something better to worry about maybe like events in the real world that have a more direct impact on our survival... feuds in the entertainment industry are just that: entertainment
no Ric is not singing with the 'new cars' its Rundgren... do you think they'll have that new car smell?
and thank you so much doctor Laura, at least one person gets it...
oh yeah in the middle of all this "Dreaming" and Bill Burroughs on the Sopranos!!!
MAYHEM AND CONFLICT AT THE HALL OF FAME!!!
Posted by Chris Stein at 3/16/2006 09:07:00 PM
MAYHEM AND CONFLICT AT THE HALL OF FAME!!! AHHHH!!!! BLONDIE AND SEX PISTOLS GO CRAZY!!!! ETC!!!
first i love it all...
second what we have here are some valuable life lessons, for me the most intense about the chaos of media... i have seen so many versions of the events of the other evening its mind bending and my main reaction is 'what the fucking fuck happens to the real news?' now any one who is interested in an exercise in futility, google the hall of fame deal and check all the various nasty and friendly reports of what was perhaps three minutes worth of activity then watch the actual thing on this coming tuesday and maybe it will blow your mind to the extent mine is... the New York Times provided a really good account of what went down as far as i'm concerned... but generally in this case the media seems to be like an absurd game of telephone with its garbling of facts... you gotta believe me i've seen some really weirdass misquotes, reports etc etc... what is left of the 'real news' after the media gets done with it?
now i wanted to get this up on the site days ago but we have been doing rounds of press; radio and tv spots hyping the tour and talking about the HOF event... the one thing i've been saying to the press is "...if you want to know why we didnt want to work with this guy just watch the video." hopefully frankies antics wont be cut from the show and all of you will get to see it as well (there are clips on the web of it all)... i dont know really what the hell he thought he was doing but when i have a chance to be on tv in front of millions of people as well as a huge cross section of the music industry, i try my best not to act like a whining cranky eight year old... sadly its how i remember him... i thought debbie handled it as well as she could... i didnt really hear what was going on, debbie had left the podium and come over to me and we spent a few seconds debating if she should go back and thank paul, leigh and kev whose names had been left out by both of us, at that moment frank started speaking and she returned... from my position i couldnt hear much and when i later saw it on CNN i was amazed and amused... i sort of feel bad for nigel cause i dont think franks outburst was at all planned, nigel is a dignified cat and in spite of our differences i cant help but like him... i thought frank begging debbie to play was totally insincere, his tone was just mocking and i think he was more interested in being mean to debbie than in actually playing... if frank and nigel hadnt tried to sue us we might have considered having them play...
again the media: that this small non-event was inflated to the proportion of... god knows... the germans invading poland, whatever, its nuts...
the event was really quite draining in spite of what a cool deal it was to be a part of... i was very glad when it was over... playing in front of a crowd thats composed of some of the greatest musicians in the world, guys from the industry who have spent the last 40 and more years listening to every major act as well as producing them... its pretty daunting and any of the screwups in the show are due to intimidation and stress factors...
many high points as well... after getting the awards the 'inductees' would go back for a full blown press conference... barb and i watched the Sabbath conf which was really funny, on the marx brothers side... Ozzy looks great... Elvis C. was very gracious and told me that he had many of the same reactions i did, tension with one of his band mates, his wife having to keep him in his claustrophobic seat etc... there were times i just couldnt make sitting at the table and had to hang in the 'green room' with the troops... i was really touched by Shirleys speech... we sort of tied with the pistols without trying... Jan Wenner had a great moment reading the infamous "letter" that was originally put up on their site, funny, we all of course had wondered how they would deal with the whole thing, to me just the reading and his telling them that "the awards would be in Cleveland if they wanted them to have or smash to bits..." seemed a better solution than i had anticipated anyone would come up with
so watch the thing on tuesday night on VH1, hopefully we wont come off too awful... most of us anyway
then the tickets are going on sale for the blondie/new cars tour... i haven't heard them yet but debbie says they sound good... so regardless of your sentiments about the cars, we will be in most major and various lesser US markets this summer, for those of you who think its a great idea, well good you'll have a better time than those of you who hate it but show up anyway... i gotta pay the rent too
baby Val is starting to walk, Akira got to go to the HOF sound check for a bit...
i also saw a rough cut of our BBC documentary which they are threatening to have done by the end of the month... its pretty cool a lot more personal than some of the previous things... i'm still looking to get a full length thing going sometime, this will be an hour tv show though... more on it later, i'm looking forward to you all seeing it
so there's a lot going on right now... i survived the last week nicely thank you
i'm starting to get messages about the HOF...
we are musicians... we should not be forced to work with people we dont want to work with... i'm very pleased to be in the hall of fame but i would be much more pleased if i had been voted in by fans... if you want to complain write to the sex pistols
more than that i am hoping that the US upcoming tour is a success and we are able to bring it over to the UK and Europe...
we had intended to stop for a while after the last UK leg but all of this hall of fame stuff came up and we are gonna do this next thing now...
Debbie and I intend to keep working on music together and trying to expand... we both would like to be able to do more improvised forms of music than are possible in the blondie situation
anyway david bowie did like seven 'farewell' tours so i'm not discounting anything
upstairs in the waldorf astoria
Posted by Chris Stein at 3/13/2006 09:09:00 PM
upstairs in the waldorf astoria for the big event tonight, the ballroom is the same place that the dolls played in for halloween one year in the early seventies, in those days the room was all falling apart and funky, so funny thing is that the stage for the hall of fame event is 'atmospheric' all falling apart and funky, in a tv set way, to bring back the good ol' days or some such concept...
everyone and their mother is pouring congratulations upon us to the point where i feel i have won the election or lottery or something... its a nice thing though despite my cynicism... clem has put forth the concept that all artists want to get into a museum... i saw jimmy for the first time in a while yesterday and he is in good spirits... i'm not sure what to say for a 'speech' i wish there was a tad less pressure about the whole deal but then thats just business as usual, hopefully no one will screw up too severely... there are guys outside the hotel with crates of skynyrd albums waiting for autographs... this is second hand info i havent been out of the place for a couple of days, everyone has colds
tomorrow we are supposed to 'announce' the big tour that all of you all know about already... it is gonna be quite extensive... all of you writing about 'will you come to such and such' will likely be happy as we are gonna be all around the country...
now barbara has just come in and is reporting some "incident" here in the city... could it be sex pistol fans revolting
in other news i was confused by king kong now that i finally saw it at the hotel here... i dont get where seeing this fancy metaphor for human meanness and greed is entertaining... i heard that in the scene where brody climbs up on the roof at the end people in the theaters yell "shoot him too!!!"
my biggest objection was the painting of the jack black character as soooo evil in the original 'carl' was much more innocent... king kong was one of hitlers favorite films
we put on the tv to see if anything is going on and again its business as usual...
i'll report back after "the ceremony"
mr. rotten in a tux
Posted by Chris Stein at 3/03/2006 09:09:00 PM
i would have been disappointed if mr. rotten had shown up at the hall of fame in a tux and graciously accepted... his telling them to fuck off is in keeping with his spirit etc etc... (has it ever been suggested that 'Johnny Rotten' is derived from Poe's 'Toby Dammit'?)
as the event approaches we are inundated with media and requests thereof... i am still somewhat ambivalent... Clem met and had a nice chat with McCartney but he wasnt able to be our 'inductor', he did send us e-mails of congrats however... one of the things that has gone down recently is an interview for rolling stone regarding our rolling stone cover... as a result i re-read some of the miserable piece of writing that accompanied that particular great photo session... what happened was that we didnt hit it off (an understatement) with the 'journalist' they sent to interview us and in spite of giving an accurate portrayal of our somewhat somber mood at the time of the writing (we were going thru various legal horrors) he slanted the piece to portray us as very unhappy pissed off people... it really kind of sucks and Debbie wonders how much damage that one bit of half assed pseudo journalism did to our chances of success in the states... theres one bit where the guy describes me as telling him one of my 'radical alarmist' political theories (without mentioning what it was)... what i recall is (this was 1979) talking to this jerk about upcoming troubles for the US originating in South America... use your imagination... every now and then the subject of this story comes up in talking with someone from rolling stone and we are always told that the writer did all of two things for the magazine our cover story being one of them... anyway piss under the bridge
then i saw the don letts punk movie and in spite of liking it it just reminded me about those old days of 'in depth' ridiculous rock journalism where every little fucking thing was picked apart ad infinitum... so it still goes on all this time and effort devoted to debating who is a punk and who isnt... two of my favorite punk recordings are the first two stones albums, they are possessed of all the right nuances to more than qualify though i never see them in the lists... the lists, the lists the endless fucking lists... the hundred greatest lists of 1989