As a young music collecting kid, I undoubtedly came across the sixth studio album by Blondie, The Hunter, in the cassette selection of a retailer like K-Mart or Ames. “Neat!” I probably said while snapping it up in 1982, little realizing that the band already had broken up and this likely was their last album.
Flash forward to 1997, and I’m living here in DC, so I get to go the HFStival at RFK Stadium, where Blondie stage an unlikely reunion to play their first public show in 15 years. Wow! And then the band awakens to put out a few more albums before continuing to tour for many more years.
Recently, the band has surprised me yet again with another burst of creative activity, releasing the calypso-flavored Panic of Girls in 2011 and now returning with a new album, Ghosts of Download, to be released this fall. The first single, “A Rose By Any Name,” featuring The Gossip’s Beth Ditto on guest vocals, is a welcome dance number with nu disco flourishes. The album reportedly holds quite a few tracks influenced by today’s electronic dance music (EDM) movement.
Joined by Los Angeles glam punksters X, Blondie’s “No Principals Tour” starts today in New Hampshire before hitting the 9:30 Club Monday. Perfect timing for a town that has returned to work from a long Labor Day holiday. And perfect timing for classic Blondie members Debbie Harry, Clem Burke and Chris Stein, along with new additions Leigh Foxx, Tommy Kessler and Matt Katz-Bohen, to visit town. Lest you think the new members might not have anything to add to such a hallowed band, I point you to powerhouse guitarist Kessler, who I caught ripping up the classics and adding subtle nuance to new songs with the band last year. His energy alone reinvigorates a stage show for material that already has maintained its shine for more than 30 years.