The Blondie Loft

The Blondie Loft

The Blondie Loft was a four-story building on the Bowery with a liquor store on the ground floor, about a block south of CBGB. “We went to CBGB five to seven days a week,” Clem Burke said. “It was a place to go, it was the thing to do, it stayed open late. We would rehearse at the loft and just live there, and sleep on the floor. Or sleep with other girls. Things would happen, you know, anything goes. I was a teenager. But it was primarily Chris and Debbie’s residence.” The building’s unofficial landlord was Benton Quin, whom Gary Valentine described as “a good artist, a flamboyant creative fellow, with all the eccentricities that go with that.” He rented the bottom loft floor to the bandmates and lived directly above them in a space littered with cans of urine (because there was no bathroom on his level). “Benton was a real character,” Chris Stein said. “He made a lot of cartoon-like cutout things that would get pummeled onstage by Debbie, like during ‘Kung Fu Girls.’ He also made the leather briefs that Debbie wore with that ‘Vultures’ T‑shirt in Punk magazine.” Burke recalled, “It was a close relationship with Benton and the band. It was a little micro world of our own in that loft building. Debbie helped Benton bleach his body hair, because he wanted it to be blond, and he had a lot of body hair—you know, he had all these different strange goings on.” The loft was cluttered with Quin’s large paintings, and Harry and Stein placed occult bric-a-brac on the walls. “Chris and I shared some interests,” Valentine said, “like horror films and comic books. He was keen on voodoo and pentagrams. Actually, Chris was kind of a goth in the beginning, wearing eyeliner and silver skulls.”

From Chapter 31 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore


Blondie's loft
266 Bowery, New York, NY 10012