Once a do-it-yourself punk rocker, always one. That’s according to founding Blondie guitarist Chris Stein, who issued the group’s adventurous new “Panic of Girls” recording digitally, then on its own imprint, then in a deluxe edition overseas, complete with poster, postcards, badges and a 132-page book – not to mention bonus tracks recorded for various versions around the world. “I have a lot of respect for Skrillex and his free-for-the-masses attitude. He just says, ‘I don’t give a damn who downloads anything, just as long as the music gets out there,’ and I think that’s terrific,” says this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, who also has launched an online Morrison Hotel Gallery exhibit of his classic punk-era photos.
Out of curiosity, are you a collector of anything?
All kinds of stuff, sure. Knives, militaria, photography, art, occult stuff. I’ve got an autographed Crowley, and I’ve got a little Austin Osman Spare collection. He’s kind of the forgotten artist of London, and he was a magician also, and was in with Crowley and all those people. There’s a book that’s just come out about him, and it’s a great dip into the London occult milieu that he was a part of.
But knives? Really?
I’ve just always liked edged weapons. When I was a kid, my father would take me to military stores and I just kind of developed a fondness for it. But these days, I have two little kids, so it’s all put away and I haven’t been adding to it. But it’s a pretty big collection.I have hundreds and hundreds. And I’ve even talked to Stallone about it. I met him years ago at a party, and he’s a big collector, so we wound up discussing knives.
I don’t trust anybody who won’t go to great lengths for at least one thing. You?
Yeah. I have a lot of weird fascinations. In Japan, it’s called otaku, the fascination with a particular subject, one’s deep involvement with whatever it is.
Any items that worry your missus?
Yeah, plenty of stuff. Like my skulls and things – all my junk like that is in the basement, put away. My wife is always accusing me of hoarding, but, hey, what can you do?
But your otaku applies to Blondie, too, right?
Definitely. I’m always fascinated by different types of music, always searching for new music. The next Blondie stuff will probably be even weirder. I’ve been writing with Jeff Saltzman, who did “Panic” with us, and I don’t where it’s going to go. But I’m listening to a lot of Latin music, is all I can say.
IF YOU GO
with Devo on the Whip it to Shreds Tour
Where: The Warfield, 982 Market St. , S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Monday
Tickets: $39.50 to $92.50
Contact: (888) 929-7849, www.axs.com
Note: The tour also stops at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Mountain Winery, 14831 Pierce Road, Saratoga . Tickets are $49.50-$129.50.