I think Stevie would be afraid to alienate fans that way.
Chrissie said something at both 24KG shows I attended, but nothing quite as bold and blunt as all this. I know phones used to bother Stevie, but I think she's gotten over it. At one of my shows, security advised someone in the front row not to film Chrissie because she didn't like it, but then said that when Stevie came on they could take all the pictures they wanted.
Chrissie Hynde reveals what it's like touring with Stevie Nicks
Chrissie Hynde has a long-held reputation for being the epitome of rock and roll anti-establishment, sticking it to the man, shirking fame, and even being a little mean.
There are things she hates talking about - feminism, keeping The Pretenders name, the messages in her music - but speaking ahead of her tour with Stevie Nicks, she blows all the preconceptions out of the water.
So you're coming to New Zealand on tour with Stevie Nicks - how on earth did that come about? That's kind of an odd match.
It was actually a lot more compatible than I would've thought. I've certainly been on the road with a lot of different people in the past but this was particularly...I don't know...our sets are very different from each other, we really slam home some rock in an hour and then she does a lot of talking and explains her songs so it's kind of an interesting dynamic between the two of us.
We've become very fond of each other and it's been a lovely experience actually, to work with her.
Are you excited to come back to New Zealand? It's been a long time since your last visit.
Yeah, I've been there a couple of times. We had a really memorable gig in New Plymouth...and the audience got so nuts they actually were jumping into the lake and swimming up to the stage. And I remember the first time I was there - this is really going back, 30 years ago - there were bikers and they were lighting flares, it was really crazy and that impressed me because I like that kind of ****.
I'm certainly looking forward to getting back there.
And fans can still very much expect a Pretenders show, right? Despite the obvious line-up difference?
You know, the name was a thing that sort of plagued me because...I wanted to keep the music going and I worked very hard to get it to that point, and it didn't feel like I should just stop playing those songs so I kept the name.
I'm not a solo artist, I never have been. I know I had that Stockholm album...but I think that's just because I got so tired of defending the ethos of a band, everyone kept saying, "but it's really just you". Actually, it's not though, I can really only work with a band, as you'll see if you come to see us.
Talk to me about the latest album; I find it interesting that at one end it celebrates being alone, and at the other, there's a song called I Hate Myself.
Yeah, you know I could say it was slightly tongue in cheek but it's not really. That's a kind of universal theme, everyone I've ever met certainly has had a day where you wake up and look in the mirror and think, oh f**k.
We do it every day - if we drink too much, if we don't stop smoking, if we eat too much, if we've been an asshole to someone, if we let ourselves down. Of course, we're human so we all make mistakes and...at some point, you wish you'd behaved differently.
I don't really use music to try to moralise or send a message out to people...it just seems to have hit a nerve, that song.
So you're not trying to spread any messages and you've been very vocal about not being into awards and celebrity - so why do you do it, what's a victory to you?
Look, I think awards are fine for sports, because...there's clearly a winner, but music is such an emotional thing and...it's very subjective and also from a rock and roll point of view, it's everything I f**king loathe, to be honest.
Awards, accolades - I mean it's very nice if people love the music but to me, it's all about if a song comes on the radio, if you want to turn it up or you want to turn it over.
I guess the thing that I don't like about it is that it makes an establishment and the reason that most of us got into this is because we were trying to be anti-establishment. It's just not rock and roll, man.
But I'll tell you a story: I was in the train station the other day, and my guitar player said "don't go over there because there's a girl with one of our shirts" - she'd obviously been to our show the day before and he thought that she might hassle me. So I just walked over to her and said "I like your shirt", and she looked at me, she went: "Oh my God we named our daughter after you."
We had this lovely moment and when I was leaving [her husband] went: "You've been really nice and we read that you were such a bitch."
So it's more those human moments than any of the other stuff that does it for you?
Yeah, f**k the awards. The great thing for me is when I'm on stage and I turn and look at my guitar player and I look at the audience and see them all thinking "f**king hell he's amazing", and that's what turns me on; when I see the response to the band, because people want to dance and they want to be happy.
Who: Chrissie Hynde
What: Stevie Nicks' 24 Karat Gold Tour with The Pretenders
When: November 20-24
Where: Auckland's Spark Arena and Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium
See: Livenation.co.nz for details.
Rocker Chrissie Hynde says ”mobile phones are the new cigarettes”
Going to see Chrissie Hynde in concert this month? Best leave your phone in your pocket. The Pretenders’ front woman and rock icon says people filming concerts on their phones proves “cool is dead.”
THINKING of getting your phone out at the Pretenders’ upcoming Australian shows?
Maybe keep it in your pocket.
Chrissie Hynde lashed out an audience in Dubai, calling them “c----s” for filming the band on stage and offered a place to put their phone which wouldn’t see a lot of daylight.
During her first Australian shows on this tour she’s already been asking fans to put their phones away and watch the shows with their eyes.
“People are uncool,” Hynde says. “Cool is dead. When I see someone on their phone at a rock show I think it’s further confirmation that cool is dead. It’s like a compulsion. It’s like smoking. Phones are the new cigarettes.”
Hynde has an eagle-eye when it comes to mobile phones.
“It’s a hideous distraction when you’re trying to do a show and you see people on their phones taking pictures and texting. I’ll stop in the middle of a song and say ‘Lady, put your phone down’. We have announcements not to use your phones before our own shows. I’m really eyeing the audience all the time. If people are on their phones I find it quite demoralising. I’m up there trying to do my thing, I can’t work out why they’re on their phones. It’s a modern conundrum.”
Hynde is also not a fan of the new autograph — a selfie.
“I don’t particularly like my picture being taken. I tell people that and ask them if they like having their picture taken and they say ‘No, not really’ and I say ‘There you go’. It just can be very intrusive.”
The Pretenders are Australia-bound at the personal invitation of Stevie Nicks; they’ll open for Nicks as well playing a handful of their own shows.
The slots opening for Fleetwood Mac icon Nicks are literally an hour of power — shoehorning in hits including Brass in Pocket, Message of Love, Talk of the Town, Hymn to Her, Don’t Get Me Wrong, Middle of the Road and a handful of songs from latest album Alone.
“We have to really cram it in on that hour we get with Stevie, which is great, we can do it. Personally, I think an hour is long enough for a band to play. I’m not a big fan of bands who play for three hours. I’ve never watched a band play for three hours in life. I think you can get the job done in half that time.
“When we do our own shows we’ve got a larger body of material than we can cram into that hour, so we have to give people what we think they want. If we had more time we could give them what we want. As much as I don’t like a three hour show, we could easily do one.”
Nicks and Hynde had never met before starting their double tour earlier this year.
They’ve become fast friends — Hynde even steps in for the late Tom Petty on the duet Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around — a song that’s become more poignant since his passing.
“Stevie is very sweet, very gracious, she loves her dog,” Hynde says. “She’s got a lot of friends around her, it’s a nice feeling of family on the road. It’s totally different for me, my only entourage is the band, I don’t even have a wardrobe person. I look like one of the road crew and she looks like a queen, but we meet in the middle somewhere and have a lot in common.
“I was surprised at how compatible the two bands are. Audiences like guitar based rock and that’s certainly what they get with us. It works really well. I just have to remember not to talk too much so I can get all the songs in. I can’t go off on one. Stevie talks in-between songs and explains where they came from and people get that with her. On our own shows I have more to say. I think people would rather hear me sing than talk given the choice.”
Hynde recently added Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant to her long list of musical collaborations — reworking Alone’s Let’s Get Lost as a duet.
She duetted with Michael Hutchence on the title track of INXS’ Full Moon Dirty Hearts (“Michael and I were mates, but we weren’t best friends”) - there’s even a video for the song featuring Ben Mendelsohn. and is an uncredited backing vocalist on U2’s Pride (In the Name of Love).
“I’d met Bono that night, U2 had played in Dublin that night. We went back to the studio, Brian Eno was there and they said ‘Do you want to hear the demo we’re working on?’ I thought it was a demo, Bono said ‘Sing here’ and that was it.”
Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the Pretenders forming after Hynde moved from the US to the UK — she almost married Sex Pistol Sid Vicious for a visa.
She hasn’t planned anything to mark the occasion, similarly she hasn’t planned a second autobiography — her first, Reckless, charted her youth and ended just as the Pretenders had broken through and two members, Pete Farndon and James Honeyman-Scott died.
“I didn’t expect the book to end there but once Pete died I couldn’t write the next chapter, it just felt wrong,” Hynde says. “Since then I haven’t thought about it too much. There’s been 30 years of stuff that’s happened since then. I enjoyed writing it more than I thought, it was good to get it out of my system so I could turn the page and move forward and not have to talk about it so much. The irony is you write a book and you have to talk about it more.”
Hynde is also “bored” about talking about the other major legacy in her life — animal rights.
She became a vegetarian at age 17 (“as soon as I heard the word I knew it was for me”) and supports Ahimsa farming, where dairy cows die of old age.
“None of the animals get killed. If you want to drink milk you can. It’s not about being vegan or vegetarian it’s just about looking after the animals.”
She’s befriended fellow meat-dodgers Paul McCartney and Morrissey but questions how much things have changed in the way of animal rights.
“To be honest, I find the subject kind of tedious because it never goes away. I don’t necessarily find things are changing. 40 or 50 years ago people didn’t think about it very much, so it was important to talk about it. Now all the information is out there, everyone can make their choice.”
The Pretenders, Forum Theatre, November 17. Stevie Nicks and The Pretenders, Rod Laver Arena, November 16, A Day on the Green Rochford Wines November 18.
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