Pop Quiz: Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders


Aidin Vaziri | Chrissie Hynde is as unapologetic as ever on the Pretenders’ latest album, “Alone.” Recorded in Nashville in just two weeks with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, it ripples with rockabilly swagger (yes, that’s a cameo by Duane Eddy) and unshakable attitude. “Nobody tells me I can’t/ Nobody to say ‘You’re doing it wrong,’” the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer sings on the title track. The current lineup of her band is on the road with Stevie Nicks. Hynde spoke to us from a tour stop in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Q: Have you read Johnny Marr’s autobiography? He says you basically saved him after the Smiths.

A: He sent it to me, but I haven’t had time to read it. He’s such a darling. The truth is I didn’t even know what he looked like when he showed up to meet me — I didn’t know if he was going to be a 6-foot-tall blond guy or what. It was love at the first sight. It was like I had been in a band with him for years.

Q: Is the going attitude that the Pretenders is whoever happens to be around at the time?

A: That’s not how it started. I always thought if one of us left the band it would be over. I spent 30 years defending the name when the band had changed. I’m tired of talking about it, to be honest. But I understand it.

Q: The sound of the new album is quite different, but the band’s spirit is there.

A: That’s all Dan Auerbach. I would love to say, ‘Yeah, I know what I was doing.’ At best, I was his muse for making this album.

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