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Pretenders at Comerica Park, 5 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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Forty years ago Ohio expatriate Chrissie Hynde put together the Pretenders in London, fusing 60s classic rock, punk and new wave into an exciting synthesis that yielded instant -- and enduring acclaim with its 1980 debut album.

Over the years suffered tragedies (the deaths of founding guitarist James Honeyman-Scott and bassist Pete Farndon) and a procession of 18 members, with Hynde as the sole constant -- though original drummer Martin Chambers has been back on board since 1994. Hynde has released a solo album and formed a short-lived band with J.P. Jones, but Pretenders have remained a constant and now enjoys its own kind of classic status, as well as a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction during 2005...

• Hynde, 66, is not throwing any parties to celebrate the Pretenders’ 40-year mark. “I don’t really have a sense of that,” she says by phone from Cincinnati. “I don’t know how someone can even say how time feels. If I’m on tour, three weeks feels like two months. If I look back on the last couple of years I can’t remember which month I did what. The way we perceive time is very relative and constantly changing.”

• The current lineup of the Pretenders has been together for a decade, making it the longest-lived in Pretenders history. “That’s quite a long time, but I don’t compare any of the bands. The only band I compare it to is the original band, which didn’t’ last before long, because that is the musical style of the Pretenders. But (the current members) were at least Pretenders fans so they all were influenced by the original band, so the general mood of the band has remained the same.”

• Interestingly, Hynde has never had another female member in the group. “For some reason it’s always been guys. I’ve never specified when I’ve been auditioning anyone that we want a man. It might be politically incorrect at the moment, but no one else came forward.”

• The Pretenders’ current tour is mixing headlining shows with opening stings for Journey and Def Leppard -- mainstream hitmakers that would have seemed an odd fit for a 1980 Pretenders. “It’s all the same to me. to me a gig’s a gig. We did Stevie Nicks last year. WE did Phil Collins earlier. I just go from show to show, and I’m not analyzing it very much. It might not have happened before, but it was a newer band then. For me, the gigs are all the same.”

• Hynde will be stepping outside Pretenders again on her next couple of projects. One is a jazz-styled album recorded with producer Marius de Vries and due out next year, while in September Hynde will publish “Adding The Blue,” a limited edition art book featuring nearly 200 of her paintings. “I always thought that’s where I would go since I was a kind, and then the 60s happened and I got into rock ‘n’ roll and just left (painting) behind. I never studied it or got into it; Recently I’ve just had a little dabble, but nothing very astonishing. I just had some time and started doing it, and I really got into it. I had no ambition to put a book out, but it’s happening.”

If You Go:

• Journey, Def Leppard and the Pretenders

• 6 p.m. Friday, July 13.

• Comerica Park, 2100 Woodward Ave., Detroit.

• Tickets start at $39.50.

• Call 313-471-7000 or visit 313Presents.com.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

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