The rhythm-maker behind the great Blondie bleach--
by Raquel Bruno
It all started with a 50th birthday party/tribute for one of the most glamorific and heroic rock stars of the '70s, Marc Bolan. A special celebration was put together by Joe Hurley with an all-star-studded and incredible "manic panic" hodgepodge. Everyone from Tony Visconti, the legendary producer of T. Rex and David Bowie, to Tish and Snooky (the Manic Panic Originals) and Richard Lloyd made appearances for this momentous occasion. I had tried desperately to get tickets to this event at Fez in New York City but failed due to sold out nights. Luckily, the show was in full demand and a third night was added to the roster. Bang a Gong!!!
The event was mind-blowing with incredible performances from Lloyd Cole's Mystic Lady to Lunachicks' Theo and her rendition of "Lean Woman Blues." It almost felt as though a Max's Kansas City or CBGB's reunion was accidentally planned. The basement of Fez had that same raw VFW rocknroll cabaret-cave feel to it. What brought it all back to the '70s was the jet black, early-Beatles-cut, Keith Moon antics, high-topped, doe - eyed - punk - turned - disco - turned - rock - turned - one - of - the - most - influential - drummers - of - all - time...CLEM BURKE. Nothing has changed†his drumming style still makes new and old musicians stop, stare and cry at his effortless rhythm sticks that most people call arms. His arms are just an extension of his beat, his rhythm, and his soul.
As the show was coming to a close, I knew that time was limited and I had to make the proverbial introduction. Feeling like a opportunistic stalker, I waited for Clem outside the bathroom and started my introduction. He was very gracious and almost shy (who wouldn't be after being bombarded?). After a drink and my life story, I humbly asked for an interview. Since he is now admittedly bi-coastal and I had a business trip on the way, our numbers were exchanged. That's when the moment when almost any pop culture enthusiast would have fainted for (and I almost did): Larry Mullen Jr. from U2 joined the conversation. Yes, I thought the same thing: "What in hell am I doing in this talent whirlpool?" But before I could even ask that question, an Aquatulle moment was born. Larry said, "The '80s are making a strong comeback" '80S EUPHORIA! U2 to Blondie. Come in Blondie. Is the alarm going off? Someone....pinch me....now?!? Tangents aside, two drummers, two incredibly influential bands.'Nuff said!
Flashforward a few months: L.A. Farmers Market. The meeting place of LA's more entertaining minds, and this was no exception. Before my conversation with Clem began, I had to preface it with "I know you've heard all of this before." Meeting a drummer of his stature, as well as one of my favorite bands, can be damn intimidating, but I gave it my best:
You can see read the entire interview in the Printed Edition of Aquatulle!