Paris Visone is a documentary photographer based out of Boston that recently finished touring with and photographing the legendary punk/new wave band, Blondie. Read our interview with Paris and find out what it was like to hang out with Debbie Harry all day. Jealous? We are.
First off, how did you get the opportunity to go on tour with Blondie?
Weird story. When I was 16 I went to a Papa Roach show. My friends and I somehow ended up on their tour bus and one of my friends started talking with their manager at the time. Long story short, she married him. He was following my career, I was following his (which was the start of the company Ground Ctrl), and one day our careers collided. Next thing I know, I am on a plane to California.
Explain to us what the name “Endangered Species Tour” meant to the band:
When I first heard it, I thought it was humorous. They are touring veterans. But after being on the road with them, and comparing them with the newer acts out today, I realized the rockstar is truly a dying breed. The concept of “celebrity” has been very skewed. This band has been the real deal for over 30 years.
Give us a little run down of what you did on a daily basis:
In addition to being the photographer, I was also the meet and greet coordinator. Blondie fans are like no other. Most of them have been fans of the band for decades. I loved hanging out with them, hearing their stories and taking their picture. Other than that I was constantly taking photos of everyone and everything. There was also catering everywhere I went. So I ate a lot.
Even-though Debbie Harry is in her 60′s, Does she still kick-ass on stage?
Absolutely. I watched the whole show every night. She’s got the moves. Her outfits were also awesome. They are coming out with a new album titled “Panic of Girls” and artist Chris Berens did the artwork for it. She dressed up as the character he made of her for the album. It was really cool looking. Also, watching Clem Burke on drums is insane. The man is an animal.
What is the coolest thing that happened while you were on tour with Blondie?
We had a day off in Detroit so Debbie, Chris Stein (guitar) Matt Katz-Bohen (keyboards) and I rented a car, drove around and took photos of decaying buildings. Chris is also a photographer. He has taken legendary photos of Blondie’s career. So it was awesome to go out and take photos with him.
Since Blondie has such an extensive photographic history, how do you feel about being a part of it all?
I am honored to have had this opportunity. It is especially cool because Blondie has been associated with legendary artists such as Andy Warhol and Shepard Fairey. Art has always surrounded Blondie and has further added to the bands myth and legacy. To be a part of the mystique, even if just a little bit, is very exciting as an artist.
I know everyone is probably wondering so I have to ask, what is Debbie Harry really like?
She is a badass. Example: One day during sound check in Nashville, TN, the band is taking a little break. I am taking pictures and she walks up to me and says, in a very serious voice, ”Paris…(pause) You really need to stop leaving your underwear around.” and then looks over at a gigantic purple bra hanging on one of the microphones.
If you had the chance to go on tour again which band would you choose and why?
Cheap Trick, A good chunk of the Blondie tour was with them. They are the coolest guys.The Donnas, because I wish I was them. Hanson, because I promised my younger self that I would photograph them. It was basically what got me into photography. I wanted to meet Hanson. So it would be a dream come true for 11 year old me.
See the rest of the photos from the Endangered Species tour and check out more of Paris’s work at her website and facebook page: