I remember hearing “Brass in Pocket” and “Kid” all over the radio, and that was when I was in school at the University of Kansas. My friends and I wanted to be and look just like Chrissie Hynde: tons of black eyeliner, straight black pants and boots, and crisp, ultra-starched white shirts with the collar up. Problem was, I couldn’t get the full Chrissie look because I had long blond hair. That kind of ruined the total look, but I tried, dammit.
This woman was so appealing to me. She had such strength. She fronted a cool band that put out great music. Man, she was the bomb. Just too cool for the room.
What I liked about the Pretenders was the blend of punk with pop sensibilities. They walked beautifully between two worlds. At that point in my life, it was all Zeppelin, Foreigner, Van Halen, Clapton, Beatles, et cetera. They brought me to a new side — new-wave rock. And I really liked what I was hearing.
It was such an incredible shock when [guitarist] James Honeyman-Scott and [bassist] Pete Farndon died so early. Those guys were so young. And this girl with a twofold tragedy picked up the mantle of rock, strapped it on her shoulders, and carried on. The sound of the band changed with their loss. But one thing about Miss Hynde is she doesn’t sit still. She is a survivor….
I will end with a great story. I was sent by KGB to London to do my show from Abbey Road Studios — the greatest thing in my life. The sponsor had arranged to have some of the biggest names in rock come through for interviews, jam sessions, et cetera. I met Bill Wyman of the Stones, Yoko Ono, Mick Ralphs of Bad Company, Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac, Roger Taylor of Queen. You get it — big people. And in comes Chrissie Hynde. She owned that room in approximately one second.
This woman has such an aura of power, it is scary. When she came by to meet me, I was frozen. I was so intimidated by her, I hardly knew what to say. I have interviewed everyone in rock, but for the first time, I had nothing to say. And finally I came up with a brilliant icebreaker — “I love animals, too.” She broke into this huge grin and we got on famously.
DJ: Coe Lewis
STATION: 101.5/KGB FM
SHIFT: 10 a.m.–2 p.m., Monday–Friday