Debbie Harry reveals the crucial advice Iggy Pop taught her
Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop are key figureheads from the punk movement who smashed through glass ceiling after glass ceiling during their dynamic careers which they continue to do all these years on.
Their friendship has been burning bright for close to fifty years and, along the way, they have helped each other no ends over that time with Iggy’s words of wisdom on one occasion providing the perfect antidote that the Blondie leader needed to hear.
In 1977, Blondie got their big break when they were invited to open up for Iggy Pop who had enlisted the assistance of a little British artist who went by the name of David Bowie to play keyboard for him. This was a potentially life-changing opportunity for the New York punks that would end up being rewarding in a plethora of ways on and off the stage.
“There was a certain amount of improvisation in their performances,” Harry said of watching Bowie and Pop during the tour to Rolling Stone. “It wasn’t robotic, and the passion was there. Mr. Pop is passionate. It’s pretty obvious he’s kind of a wild guy, but he has standards; he has a controlled madness, and this is what it’s really all about.” Asked if the road trip changed her, Harry replied: “Probably. Experience is everything and I was sort of in an odd position as being a woman in a man’s band, and I tried not to be too coy or too cute — other than the fact that I was cute — but I tried to bring other elements into it. Whether I always achieved that is another story.”
There is perhaps no greater way to learn about the intricacies of performing live than watching two of the greatest to ever do it every single night. The opportunity to pick their brains was just as important as watching them slay it on stage.
Two particular nuggets of simple advice that Mr Pop gave stuck with her, she recalled, “his favourite answer to a lot of things was, ‘Well, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.’ I was very disappointed about that because we were being taken out to lunch a lot, but I understand the underpinnings for that. And then the serious best advice that I got was to get good legal advice.”
“I’m not a trained businesswoman, and there are some real complexities with authorship, and publishing and recording, and the different ways that your recordings can be used or sold. So, it’s not as simple as I imagined it would be at one time,” she added.
You don’t get the longevity that Harry or Iggy have had in their careers without the ability to be able to deal with all the boring legal things that have been thrown their way. Which despite being the antithesis of why both of them got into music, knowing that there is no such thing as a free lunch is a simple thing that many of their contemporaries have seemed to forget.