Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde Has No Time for the Past

Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde Has No Time for the PastEXPAND
Jill Furmanovsky
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Update - Wednesday, March 20: The Fillmore Miami Beach announced that the Pretenders show was canceled "due to illness." Full refunds are available at the point of purchase.

Asked when she first fell in love with music, Chrissie Hynde, the lead voice of the Pretenders, replies testily, "I'm 65 years old. I've gone over this thousands of times. Ask me another one."

What will she play at her show at the Fillmore?

"Some old songs and some new songs."

Is there a method to keeping the old songs fresh?

"They're fresh every time because we're playing them in front of a new audience."

She is one lousy interviewee — truly a punk rocker. She's slightly more open about vegetarianism, though (it's easier on the road than it was in the '80s), and the revitalization of cities across America (she approves).

Hynde is an American hero. She was a student at Kent State at the time of the 1970 shooting that Neil Young sang about in "Ohio." She worked at Malcolm McLaren's London clothing store, Sex, where she palled around with the band he managed, the Sex Pistols. She was also in early versions of the Clash and the Damned. She had a child with the Kinks' Ray Davies and another with Simple Minds' Jim Kerr. But most impressive are her own accomplishments with the New Wave band the Pretenders. Founded in 1978 under the debris from the explosion of English punk, the band scored hit after hit through the '80s. Singing future classics such as "Back on the Chain Gang," "I'll Stand by You," and "Brass in the Pocket," Hynde was heard everywhere.

But none of that past matters to her now. She's happy to have a headlining date at the Fillmore while on a break from a tour opening for Stevie Nicks. "We get to play a lot of the new songs." Those new songs are from the Pretenders' tenth album, Alone, which was released last year. Produced and including guitars by the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, it features the punk-rock attitude Hynde has displayed throughout her career and in this interview.

With some new songs in their formative stages, it's evident why she doesn't want to talk much about her past. Asked whether she wants to receive a copy of this story, Hynde replies with a last bit of punk attitude: "Oh, no. I can't ever read those things about me."

9 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, at the Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7300; fillmoremb.com. Tickets cost $49 to $69 via livenation.com.

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