Photo by Ysa Pérez
It doesn’t matter how great you think your musical tastes are, or how often you discover some obscure postpunk band and write about it in your little cry-baby diary (or “blog,” same difference), as long as you accept one simple fact: No performer on the planet is cooler than Debbie Harry. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing her, and we talked about all kinds of awesome stuff, including her current tour with Devo. Somehow, I also ended up accidentally teaching her about bath salts, which is the part of the interview excerpted below. Sorry to burst your bubble, Debbie. You were going to find out sooner or later.
VICE: What do you think about bath salts? Like, this business of people freaking out and eating other people’s faces and whatnot.
Debbie Harry: [looks shocked and mortified] I don’t know about this.
The face-eating part or bath salts in general?
Bath salts are a drug?
Oh, man, OK. I don’t even know where to start… I’m not talking about actual bath salts that you drop in a tub of hot water. I’m talking about the other kind of bath salts, the synthetic drug that is ravaging the country and turning humans into complete zombie psychopaths who are incapable of logical thinking. It’s a neurotoxin people are taking for fun, basically.
Well, zombie-ism seems to always be popular. We had some zombies in the video we did for “Mother” [off of Panic of Girls], but I didn’t know about bath salts.
I’m sorry I had to be the one to bring this bummer into your life.
But they don’t stay like this, do they? Do they always stay zombies?
I mean, they’re not literally zombies, like with their skin falling off and stuff, and really the guy who kicked off the zombie scare was this dude in Miami who allegedly took bath salts and gnawed off some poor homeless man’s face, but later they found out the only illegal substance in his system was pot. Still, bath salts make you act like the walking dead, for sure.
Well, hey, I’ve known a few biters.
Since this is happening so often, the nerds on the internet are saying there’s gonna be a zombie apocalypse.
Where would you flee to and hide in the event of a zombie apocalypse?
I’d like to be a fly on the wall and just watch it all. I’m sort of voyeuristic these days; I don’t really know if I’d want to get out there and do hand-to-hand combat with a bunch of zombies. I don’t think I’d stand much of a chance. Can you kill them? These bath-salt zombies?
Yeah. They’re just regular people. The cops shoot them and they die. Or you can too, I suppose.
I can’t believe I haven’t heard about this! I’ve always thought that there were too many people in the world. Somebody asked me once, “Do you think that the world is gonna roll over from the weight of all these people?” It makes you wonder, can life be supported in this environment?
Well, not with zombies running around, for Christ’s sake! Whenever I had dreams about monsters when I was little, I’d always just join them so then they wouldn’t run after me anymore. We’d be together, hanging out and chasing someone else.
Well, yeah, you want to survive. I still can’t believe I never heard about these zombies. It’s like a childhood dream, isn’t it?
You’re stupid if you think we only spoke with Debbie Harry about bath salts. See the whole enchilada—which touches on making timeless music, getting abducted by Ted Bundy, and how she developed her iconic look—in a new episode of VICE Meets.
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