AmeriCymru spoke to Diana Watts of Blond-E, South Wales and the UK's top Blondie tribute band. Find out more about the band on their website HERE
AmeriCymru: Hi Diana and many thanks for agreeing to be interviewed by AmeriCymru. Care to tell us a little about your musical background?
I was the 1986 international ‘Voiceover’ Champion, and the Wales and the West 1991 Karaoke Champion and have been singing on and off ever since.
AmeriCymru: How did the band come to be formed. Who was the driving force behind Blond-E?
Diana Watts: A few years ago a good friend was remixing some Blondie tracks and as he thought I sounded like her asked me to overlay some vocal tracks. He has since passed away but the idea of Blondie stuck in my mind. I asked a few friends if they were interested in forming a tribute band and was overwhelmed by their response. At the same time our guitarists were also thinking of forming a Blondie tribute band and the rest as they say is history.
AmeriCymru: What can you tell us about the other band members. How did you all meet?
Diana Watts: To be honest some of us have known each other for years but we didn't keep in touch. It was Facebook that brought us all together.
Wayne our guitarist was in a band with our bassist Marc. Our other guitarist Ade met up again with them after having played in a band with him when they were both teenagers and brought in drummer Ian who he'd played in a punk covers band in the 1980s and finally I forced Dom out of retirement - Dom was the cute older brother of my friend when we were very young but he would never speak to me. Ade and I were born on the same day of the same year and I feel that this was 'Destiny, I don't know yet'.
A clip of Rapture performed by Blond-e using old stills
AmeriCymru: I guess everyone who remembers that era has a favorite Blondie track ( mine is 'Atomic' ), what would be yours?
Diana Watts: I really like X-Offender as to me it represents what New York New wave was all about back in the day. It may be kitsch, it may be tacky but it sums up the the 1980's and is a cursory nod to the throw-away pop culture of the time.
AmeriCymru: What has been your proudest moment/favorite gig with Blond-E so far?
Diana Watts: Our first gig was in Abergavenny, we had only been together for a short while and when we arrived we found a full stage and lighting rig. I think we got away with it. We did a gig on New Year's day in Mountain Ash and we rammed the place. I have to say that every gig we do just seems to get better and better and it is really down to our hard-core group of fans that makes it for us.
AmeriCymru: Does the band have any plans to perform or record original material or is strictly a Blondie tribute band?
Diana Watts: We also perform material that has been covered by Blondie such as Get in On by Mark Bolan and we also include a few other numbers that we all like in the set. We are all also actively engaged in other bands and projects
AmeriCymru: Any live gigs in the near future?
Diana Watts: Yes, our calendar for 2012 is filling up nicely - for details of all our upcoming gigs see our website at http://www.blond-e.com
AmeriCymru: Where can people go online to hear and/or purchase your music?
Diana Watts: We have some short clips available on our site and are about to go into studio to record a few more.
AmeriCymru: What's next for Diana Watts and Blond-E?
Diana Watts: We have been asked to do a few of the bigger festivals this summer and we are also looking to record some of Blondie's back catalogue in Welsh for our Welsh speaking audience. I'm currently trying to perfect my Welsh with a New York accent - listening to John Cale has helped!
AmeriCymru: Any final message for the readers and members of AmeriCymru?
Diana Watts: Yes, we hope to be out on the West Coast some time later this year. Please check out our website and join our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blond-E/
A snippet recorded live at rehearsals. No overdubs or edits – This is Blond-E's live sound.