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No coastal rivalry between tour mates Blondie and X

@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

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Unlike rap, no East Coast-West Coast rivalry really existed in the world of late 70s punk and New Wave rock. So this year's bill featuring Blondie and X -- to groups that share the distinction of having female lead singers -- is not exactly a showdown.

"I don't really know those guys (in X) that well," says Blondie guitarist Chris Stein. "I don't even know that we've hung out, but I'm looking forward to it. I don't really know how much of that whole East vs. West coast is being emphasized in this excursion. I don't know how much attention they even paid to us.

"But I was always aware of those guys. I like their music, so it should be a pretty good time for all of us."

The trek will give Blondie a chance to preview songs slated for "Ghosts of Download," the group's 10th studio album, which is due out in November. The first single, "A Rose By Any Name," has been out since June, and the group has also re-recorded a number of its greatest hits that will also be released in the near future, Stein says.

The guitarist is also quick to downplay recent rumors that singer Deborah Harry is planning to retire.

"I don't know when she's going to give it up," says Stein, 63, who dated Harry for a time before splitting up in 1989 (he's now married with two daughters). "Last month Clem (Burke, Blondie's drummer) said something about a farewell tour and the fans were all freaking out. He said it was taken out of context.

"I don't know if that's ever going to happen, really. None of us think it's a good idea. David Bowie did seven farewell tours, I think. It can get kind of silly, so we figured we should leave it open."

Blondie and X perform Thursday, Sept. 12, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $38 in advance, $42 day of show. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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