Testing musicians’ memories after a lifetime of abuse


You were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2006, but can you name any other artists who were honoured in the same year?
“Yeah, I think Metallica was one… Oh, hang on, I know Metallica played in place of someone, or something like that?”
Wrong. Metallica inducted Black Sabbath and performed. Miles Davis, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Sex Pistols were also inducted in 2006

Which of your songs has featured in two different episodes of Glee?
“What?! (Surprised laugh) I would have no idea in a million years. Would I care to take
a guess? ‘One Way Or Another’ or ‘Call Me’.”
Wrong. It was ‘Heart Of Glass’
“Ah, well fancy that (laughs).”

In which UK city did you kick off Blondie’s first ever European tour?
“I know it must have been in the north. Glasgow. Those were very wild days. Everyone was anarchistic and it was all pretty party-hard back then, so I do well to remember.”

You have a bit-part in the videogame Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, but who voiced protagonist Tommy Vercetti?
“That was the car thing, right? Grand Theft Auto. I worked alone on it and never met any of the other talent.
They wanted me to be the dispatcher lady at a taxi company, so I just went into a box, did my thing, and left. I had nothing else to do with it.”
Wrong. It was Ray Liotta
“Oh, I love him! I worked with him once on
a TV show years ago, possibly one produced by Michael Mann, I think. Ray is so gorgeous! He can play anyone. A fine actor.”

Can you name any of your fellow vocal contributors on Jazz Passengers’ 1994 album ‘In Love’?
“Yeah, sure. [Jeff] Buckley, Mavis [Staples]. That’s off the top of my head, I’m sure I could name them all but I’d have to sit down and think hard.”
Correct. We would also have accepted Jimmy Scott and Bob Dorough

You were once voted the ‘12th greatest woman in rock’n’roll’, but who came in at number one?
“I know it was Aretha Franklin.”
“I dunno, they confuse me when they say rock ’n’roll and put Aretha in. I’d always associate her more with R&B, but they still lump us together under this rock’n’roll umbrella.”

What are you wearing on Blondie’s 1979 cover of Rolling Stone magazine?
“Yeah, some red stuff. Y’know, red shirt and red pants and red stilettos. Those were the days!”
Correct. And you’ve still got it, Debbie
“Oooh, thank you (laughs).”

Why did London Underground bosses ban posters for your 1981 debut solo album ‘Koo Koo’ from Tube stations?
“(Laughs) Oh yeah, because it was me with some skewers through my face. I guess they considered it S&M or something and didn’t want to upset the people going to work.
I was too hardcore for commuters.”
Correct. You didn’t really have your face skewered, then?
“For the record? No. Nudity is fine, but needles are not cool.”

Which company has twice used Blondie’s ‘Atomic’ in its global marketing campaigns?
“I think it was Coca-Cola for two different World Cups. Yeah, we were very excited about that. Really cool stuff.”

Can you name the Californian heavy metal outfit who covered your song ‘Call Me’ in 2009?
“That I don’t know.”
Wrong. It was In This Moment
“Oh god, I wouldn’t know that.”
Well, for a bonus point, which British band covered the track for a War Child charity album in the same year?
“Shit! I should definitely know that one. (Long pause) Was it, um, Franz Ferdinand?”
Correct. They went on to perform it at the NME Awards that year, too

Total Score: 7/10

“Thank you! Clem Burke [Blondie drummer] should have taken this. He would have passed with flying colours. Thank you anyway, that was fun!”

This article originally appeared in the April issue of NME

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