Clement "Clem" Burke (bornNovember 24, 1955 ) is an American musician who is the drummer for the band Blondie. Recruited by Chris Stein and Debbie Harry when they were first forming Blondie, Burke remained with the band through its first stage and later returned for its late 1990s reunion and then its extensive 2009 tour.
Life and career
Burke's early experiences behind the drum kit began in the late 1960s and early 1970s as one of the founding members of Bayonne's premier cover bands, Total Environment and Sweet Willie Jam Band. Burke also gained percussion knowledge from his stint as a drummer in the famed Saint Andrew Bridgmen Drum and Bugle Corps in Bayonne. Following a failed audition for Patti Smith's band, he joined Blondie in 1975. He was a key figure in keeping the group together after Stein and Harry considered disbanding, following the departure of original bassist Fred Smith, and recruited his friend Gary Valentine to play bass. His style of playing was influenced by Hal Blaine and Keith Moon.
During the 1980s and 1990s, when Blondie was disbanded, Burke played drums for the Romantics (for whom Burke was the regular drummer between 1990 and 2004), Pete Townshend, Bob Dylan, Eurythmics, Dramarama, the Fleshtones, Iggy Pop, and Joan Jett, amongst others. He went on to record with the line-up of Chequered Past in 1983 with Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, former Blondie bandmate Nigel Harrison, musician Tony Sales and singer/actor Michael Des Barres.
In 1987 he stood in as drummer for the Ramones (under the name "Elvis Ramone") for two gigs, on August 28 in Providence, Rhode Island, and August 29 in Trenton, New Jersey, after the sudden departure of Richie Ramone. On October 8, 2004, he once again played under the name "Elvis Ramone", when he joined Tommy Ramone, C. J. Ramone, and Daniel Rey in the "Ramones Beat Down On Cancer" concert. He has recorded and played live with Wanda Jackson and Nancy Sinatra. Burke also played on the Go-Go's member Kathy Valentine's solo release, Light Years in 2005. He was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.
He now is a member of Slinky Vagabond with Earl Slick, Glen Matlock, and Keanan Duffty. Slinky Vagabond played their debut concert at the Joey Ramone Birthday Bash in May 2007. He is also currently a member of Magic Christian (Dirty Water Records), along with former Flamin' Groovies guitarist Cyril Jordan (on guitar) and Plimsouls lead guitarist Eddie Munoz (on bass).
As of November, 2010, he plays drums with the Hugh Cornwell Band.
In July 2011, it was announced that he is to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Gloucestershire, due to his drumming project that analyses the physical and psychological effects of drumming.
In December 2011 he formed the band The International Swingers with Sex Pistols bass player Glen Matlock, guitarist James Stevenson of Generation X and singer Gary Twinn of Supernaut.
In April 2013, Burke appeared on the Little Steven song "All I Needed Was You" along with Scott Kempner, Barry Goldberg, Gregg Sutton and Tom Jr Morgan on the Carla Olson album Have Harmony, Will Travel.