FEATURE ‌ Why Clem Burke is the coolest of the bunch 

Blondie drummer Clem Burke, 50, is among the great rock drummers who never got the respect and admiration they deserved. He stands out as the coolest member of this whole Blondie/New Cars tour entourage. Here are five reasons why:

• He’s sounded super-cool from the beginning: Burke deserves a big trophy for those triplets in “Call Me,” those dense tom rolls in “Heart of Glass,” and those tasty flams in “Hanging on the Telephone,” among other great Blondie tunes.

• He’s looked super-cool since the beginning: Burke has maintained the same “mod” haircut for over 30 years. And he wore different colored Chuck Taylor sneakers with his black suit on the cover of 1978’s Parallel Lines.

• He has credibility and consistency: From his years in the punk scene at CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City through Blondie’s pop/disco phase and his career as a sit-in drummer with the cool alternative groups of the ’80s and ’90s, Burke maintained his playing style and never changed the configuration of his classic drum setup … or included electronic pads or samplers.

• He was a dedicated fan of Keith Moon. On the week of the Who drummer’s passing in Sept. 1978, Blondie played the huge Knebworth Festival in England. After their set, Burke kicked over his red sparkle Premier drum kit, crying out, “That’s for Keith Moon!”

• Debbie loves him: “Ever since I’ve known him, Clem has been dedicated to rock ’n’ roll and being a pop star and musician,” Harry said recently. “That’s really all he ever wanted to be. It’s his dream. He’s worked for it, and now he’s done it.”


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