THEY’VE welcomed in the New Year before a Glasgow crowd, met family members for the first time at shows in the city and played some classic gigs - no wonder Blondie love Scotland.

The New York legends return a week tonight (November 14) to play the SSE Hydro in support of this year’s Pollinator record, their 11th album.

And the gig will have to go some to top previous trips here, which included a memorable show on Hogmanay 1979, televised by the BBC.

The band were in their Parallel Lines pomp, ripping through classics like Denis, Atomic and Heart of Glass, before a piper joined the band for Sunday Girl and to ring in the bells.

“It was an electric atmosphere,” recalls Clem Burke, the group’s drummer since they started.

“I remember getting a gold drum set and a gold suit just to match it, and that was just for that gig!The build-up and the momentum of that show was amazing, it was really the pinnacle of the Parallel Lines album and tour. By that time we’d had several hits off the album and Scottish audiences in general have always really taken to Blondie, so it was great to do that show there. “

Clem has a few family ties to Scotland too, something that became apparent when the group reunited in the 1990s, stopping off at the Barrowland as their revival kicked into gear.

“When we reconvened in 1998, prior to the proper tour for the No Exit album, we played the Barrowland and that went down a real storm,” he says.

“That was the first gig we did back in Scotland after we were back together. I’ve got a few in-laws through marriage that live in Scotland, so the first time I met my wife’s gran was at that gig.”

Nearly 20 years on from that reunion and the band are still going strong, based around a core of ever stylish frontwoman Debbie Harry, guitarist Chris Stein and Clem, a drumming legend. He joined the band back in 1975, and was with them through their glory days, as they went from the New York punk scene to international chart stars, with a hit parade most groups would kill for.

Now they have collaborated with a host of names, including former Smiths guitar great Johnny Marr, pop dynamo Charli XCX and rock n’ roll queen Joan Jett, on Pollinator. For Clem, having a new album means avoiding becoming too much of a nostalgia act.

“It’s definitely the best record we’ve done in years,” he claims.

“When we got back together in the 90s we started writing new music before doing anything else, in this basement in Tribeca in New York, and avoiding nostalgia is always the number one criteria.”

When Blondie began to focus on making a new record, they wanted to recreate the chemistry of old, recording all together as a group. To do this they based themselves in the Magic Shop studio in New York, beginning work there shortly after David Bowie completed his final album, Blackstar, there.

“When we went in just before Christmas (of 2015), we were motivated knowing that he had been there,” says Clem.

“You could kind of feel his presence early on, and he had helped us really early in our career, when we toured with him and Iggy Pop around the time of our first album.

“Then we took a break over Christmas, and that’s when David died. We went back to the Magic Shop, and the feeling was obviously a little different, but just as profound. The Magic Shop is now gone because of the whole economic circumstances there, so it was all very bittersweet, with the studio gone, and David having passed.”

The album reached No 4 in the charts, their biggest success since No Exit in 1999. Boasting both swagger and exuberance, it’s the group’s best offering in years, and is packed with ideas and styles. That shouldn’t be a surprise, given Blondie have always been eager to experiment with fresh ideas.

“The inspiration for that is someone like David,” says Clem.

“He never did what was expected of him. I guess it’s like a musical food chain that goes back to the advent of rock n’ roll, where all these original rock and blues musicians were being forgotten and then you had the Stones doing Muddy Waters songs and bringing it back. I think Blondie are just continuing with that assembly of pop influences, right through to the modern day.”

Blondie, SSE Hydro, Tuesday November 14, £47.50, 6.30pm