What: Chrissie Hynde: A Musical Biography reading with live rock & roll.
When: Friday, September 15, 7:00 p.m. Free!
Where: Global Breath Studio, 119 W. Main St., 3rd Floor, Durham, NC.
Who: Adam Sobsey and “The Pretend Pretenders,” a band assembled just for the occasion.
Why: The recent publication of my biography of Chrissie Hynde, the legendary leader of the Pretenders.
A bit of background: In 2014, I was asked to contribute a biography to the American Music Series, edited by the venerable Raleigh-based music journalist David Menconi and published by University of Texas Press. I chose Chrissie Hynde, whose Hall of Fame band the Pretenders — best known for their tough- and melodically-minded pop-rock songs from the late seventies and early eighties, like “Brass in Pocket” and “Back on the Chain Gang” — are still very much alive and well, with a superb album out in 2016 and a recent US tour with Stevie Nicks. Hynde is an extraordinary and unique figure in pop music: she has an iconic voice and signature style; she’s “a self-possessed idol with no real forebears; a complete original who has trail-blazed for countless musicians [yet] has no true musical descendants,” as I put it in my book.
My musical biography focuses on Hynde as, above all, a great and greatly underrated songwriter. I hear her life through her music: from her well-publicized, Hindu-based vegetarianism to her complex feminism to her staunch commitment to motherhood. A review at Pop Matters called the book “gloriously comprehensive… I doubt there will be a need for another Hynde biography for some time as a result of the quality of this one.”
On Friday, I’ll read from the book, including excerpts about individual Pretenders songs, and the “Pretend Pretenders,” a quartet of excellent musicians from Greensboro, will play the songs. It will be great fun, perhaps illuminating, and there will be beer. Afterwards, I’ll have copies of the book available for purchase at a discount and signing.
For additional background, check out this Pretenders Spotify playlist I made for the book’s publisher or my preview of the Pretenders’ show in Durham last November. The webpage for the book itself is here.
The Pretend Pretenders and I hope to see you Friday!