Interview: The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde Alone At Last
Chrissie Hynde threatened to kill my dog.
Yes, PETA-endorsing, animal loving, Obama-voting-for rock legend said, “I would kill your dog if it came after me.” Of course, she was kidding… I hope.
Rock legends seem to want to create an air of stardom around themselves, and are guarded in their opinions. They bring entourages, avoid controversial topics and don’t want to alienate their fan base.
“I’m not trying to get any bigger” is a phrase that was repeated both during and after the interview. Even after the interview, we spent time chatting about a couple of things she’s currently loving, namely underground hip-hop artist Lil Ugly Mane, the Argentinean film Bombón: El Perro, and Let The Right One In: A Novel, the Swedish book on which the classic vampire film was based (and which Hynde paid tribute to in her 2010 video “If You Let Me”). Unlike many rockers of her stature in album promotion mode, she was equally interested in talking about other artists’ work as her own.
Not to say she wasn’t interested in herself. Over an hour-long discussion, Hynde discussed her first solo album, Stockholm, out June 10, and whether or not it will spell the end of the Pretenders. The conversation also offered her a bit of redemption for a particularly harsh review of Al Green’s “L.O.V.E.” that she wrote for NME in her younger days. And we also discussed animal rights. I’m pleased to report that my greyhound is still alive and well (and I’m sure she and Ms. Hynde would get along swimmingly given the opportunity).
Break Up The Concrete was the last Pretenders album; in the years since, you did [the 2010 album] Fidelity with J.P., Chrissie and the Fairground Boys. Did that project make it easier for you to take the next step and do a record on your own, without using the name “the Pretenders?”
Well I’m not on my own, actually. This is more of a collaboration than Pretenders albums have been. I’m not comfortable coming out on my own [as a solo artist] and I never intended to do it, it’s just that the guys I made this album with in Sweden weren’t prepared to come out and be in a band with me, so that’s how it worked out. I’ve defended myself as a person who works within the format of a band for thirty years while people have told me, “Yeah, but it’s just you!” And I’m actually bored with that now.