Chrissie Hynde

By Jeremy Miles

CHRISSIE Hynde brings her band The Pretenders to the Bournemouth International Centre on Monday.

At the age of 50 she says she still loves to rock but admits she keeps the band going in memory of her lost friends - bassman Pete Farndon and guitarist James Honeyman-Scott.

Both musicians - recruited by Hynde when she first formed the band back in 1978 - died of drug-related deaths within 10 months of each other.

For American Hynde the deaths were clearly devastating.

Despite her tough and realistic protestations that "that is what happens when people are messed up and take drugs," Hynde is clearly still affected by memories of those early tragedies.

When she first arrived in London from Akron, Ohio, in the early 1970s she was, by her own admission, struggling to survive.

"I had to work out what the difference between Chelsea and Trafalgar Square was. You know I really was like a Yank with corn coming out of my ears.

"I didn't know anyone or anything so I had to find these guys to put the band together. It took about seven years to find them. Then to lose two in one year...

"It's one of the reasons my band still exists, The Pretenders. That's why I've kept it going, because we've worked so hard. It's in tribute to them."

Hynde and The Pretenders play the BIC on Monday as special guests of their old mates UB40.

The tour coincides with the mixing of a new Pretenders studio album and sees Chrissie and the boys limbering up for a whole new tour next year.

Chrissie, who has just turned 50, celebrated her birthday in New York on September 7.

"I went to see The Producers on Broadway, a friend got me tickets, but I didn't enjoy it very much and I left," she says.

"I'm afraid not very big on musicals."

She flew home to London on Monday September 10, just 24 hours before the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre.

As an American who has lived in the UK for more nearly 30 years and seen terrorist action before, she is measured in her response to the atrocity.

"I didn't find it any more horrifying than any of these other wars going on all over the planet. Of course it was shocking and it was so massively orchestrated that it was certainly attention grabbing but, relative to what else has been going on, it didn't surprise me. This has been building up and has been on the cards for many years."

© Jeremy Miles 2022