The release last month the five-disc Pretenders boxed set, “Pirate Radio,” crystallizes their legacy as one of the best rock bands to emerge from the post-punk 1970s music scene. But at 55, frontwoman Chrissie Hynde says she’s mainly content to record and tour when the mood strikes her, as opposed to the more hectic pace of the band’s heyday.
That said, the Pretenders have three dates left on a short tour in support of “Pirate Radio,” including a show tomorrow (April 1) at New York’s Irving Plaza. Asked if being on stage still excites her, Hynde tells Billboard, “Not really — which is why I only go out there when I am excited. I preferred rock when it was in the dark, when it was a secret between me and the audience, when it wasn’t mainstream. I don’t go for mainstream anything.”
As for the possibility of a new Pretenders studio album, which would be the band’s first since 2002’s “Loose Screw,” Hynde offers, “If I enjoy these few shows we’re doing, and depending how I feel, I may go in and write a few songs.”
Hynde was heavily involved in “Pirate Radio,” which represents each of the Pretenders’ ever-evolving lineups. “Well, this is one of those deals where it’s going to happen with or without you,” she says. “So, I thought, f*** it, my plane hasn’t gone down yet. I also thought this was a chance to present the band in a way I’d like it to be remembered — and to represent the guys I had playing with me over the years. Once I realized all this, I got completely involved in the project.”
The artist’s advice for up-and-coming bands? “Record your stuff as live as possible: bass, two guitars and drums. Keep that two-guitar thing going as long as possible. And keep it basic. I would be loathe to advise someone because it’s only in your own mistakes you can find yourself.”