L.A.-based Chicago punk Ronna Reason told us about her love for a Blondie classic.
Ronna Reason: I went to high school in Skokie Illinois, a suburb right outside of Chicago. Famous for the Illinois Nazi marches portrayed in The Blues Brothers. My brother and I actually threw eggs on them in the beginning of my protest days …but that’s another story! All the kids were listening to “stoner” music — mostly prog rock along the likes of Genesis, Gentle Giant, Fripp, and that kind of stuff. I thought it was kind of cool but boring at the same time … Then one day I was introduced to Punk / New Wave and I thought, “This is really cool and exciting!”
It kind of came out of nowhere — all these cool bands like B52’s, Talking Heads, Devo, Sex Pistols. I loved The Clash, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, The Cramps and a lot of cool English bands — so many! My friend Crown Victoria (featured on “Panic Town”) and I with a couple of adventurous Skokie girls (armed with fake IDs) would hit the new wave punk clubs in Chicago and dance all night as well as going to live shows. Neo was a favorite venue where we discovered all the coolest music. Heck, I even remember spotting David Bowie there on a few nights! He was doing The Elephant Man at a local theater and would come to Neo after shows. Fashion and art colliding together…everything was so fresh and new. Neo was magical!
If I had to pick one of my favorite records that always brings me back to that fun time of discovery in my life and still sounds fresh today it would be Blondie — Parallel Lines. I’m into songcraft and every song on that record is a hit! “One Way or Another,” “Hanging on the Telephone,” to the disco beat classic “Heart of Glass.” There are also great songs that tell stories — “Picture This,” “Sunday Girl,” “Will Anything Happen.” I would and still sing them all. Their sound is so original. A blend of new wave teen tragedies meets punky disco — everything I love!
In 1979 the album charted number 1 in the UK for good reason. Timeless songs and I love them all! A classic. ❖
Ronna Reason’s self-titled EP is out March 19 through Damaged Disco. The “Panic Town” video is out now.