Blondie Drummer Calls Deborah Harry A Superstar And Equal To Bowie Or Morrison

The drummer Clem Burke recently joined an interview with Johnnie Walker from BBC Radio 2 and looked back on his career with Blondie. He opened up his initial desire to be in a band fronted by a name like David Bowie or Jim Morrison, adding he achieved this with a superstar like Debbie Harry.

Blondie was formed by the singer Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein in 1974. They were considered the pioneer of the mid-’70s new wave scene in New York. The year after their formation, the band’s sound developed further with the participation of the drummer Clem Burke.

Burke became a key figure when Harry and Stein started considering disbandment as they could not achieve the desired success. After the bassist Fred Smith left the band, Burke enrolled his friend Gary Valentine to fill the space. Valentine contributed to the band as the bass guitarist and a songwriter.

The bassist shared the songwriting duties with Debbie Harry in the debut single ‘X Offender‘ from the self-titled first album. The band, accepted as an underground act, changed its fortune with the ‘Parallel Lines’ album. The record became a commercial success reaching number 6 in the US. In the following years, they succeeded with hit songs like ‘Call Me’ and ‘Atomic.’

Recently, Clem Burke revealed they did not have a big audience and barely stood on the music scene during their earlier days. As he mentioned in a recent conversation, he brought his friend Gary Valentine who helped them to write the first single, which would provide them make the first record deal.

The drummer stated that he always wanted to be in a band fronted by a star like David Bowie or Jim Morrison and said he actualized this wish by being Debbie Harry’s bandmate, as she is also a superstar. He added that a band always stands out with its front person, and that is why he does not care about not being under the spotlight.

Clem Burke said the following when asked what he thought about Debbie Harry’s taking all attention:

“At the time when we first met up, other than the music, there wasn’t very much going on as far as the following or as far as even the whole band became what it became. At that time, it seemed like we weren’t in a place to continue, and I brought in my school friend Gary Valentine who co-wrote the single ‘X Offender,’ which kind of got us our record deal. For me, that’s kind of the genesis of Blondie, but the main reason I was there was to answer your question; of course, I knew Debbie was a superstar.

In my mind, that was the whole deal, as I said. I wanted my front person to be someone of the caliber of Bowie or Morrison, and there you have it with Debbie. Obviously, I was proven right. We were all out to make a name for ourselves, but you have to really realize that the front person, regardless of Debbie Harry or Jagger, or whoever, is going to have the most attention. So, that’s kind of a given.”

You can check out the interview below.