The Pretenders

Glasgow: Barrowland, Thu 30 Sep.

In an industry that not only mistakes female assertiveness for bitchiness but also views success as instant grounds for suspicion, it is perhaps inevitable that Chrissie Hynde - firebrand singer with The Pretenders, American, vegetarian, thrice-married mother of two and fervent animal rights activist - has attracted something of a reputation.

Popular rocklore dictates that Hynde is made of stronger stuff than the average band-fronting female; that she is, in fact, a brass- balled harridan - a cold-hearted careerist who devours detractors as readily as she devoured ex- husbands Ray Davies and Jim Kerr. This is, of course, misogynistic rubbish. Hynde who recently celebrated her 46th birthday is as charming, intelligent, and self-

every time.

effacing a rock star as you could hope to meet. But, she admits, after twenty years as The Pretenders’ kohl-eyed figurehead, the fame game is still proving something of a béte noire. ’Being recognised in public is the down side to what I do,’ she muses in her unleavened Mid- West drawl. ‘And I’m real crap at it too. I’m not a very gracious celebrity. If someone recognises me, my heart sinks. I still give them that "what the fuck are you looking at?” kinda look. And then I realise “oh hang on a minute - they just recognised me.” I go through that

‘People think I’m some hard-ass that needs to be the centre of attention all the time. But it’s the total opposite; being the centre of attention makes me squirm. I’d rather be left of the centre,’ she laughs.

The same devotional, care-worn melancholy that


The great Pretender: Chrissie Hynde

coursed through The Pretenders’ finest works may now be found on current album Viva El Amore - a soul- swelling collection that has seen almost unanimously positive reviews. It also sees the band engage in their first UK tour for four years, a fact that fills the London- based Hynde with a mixture of ’fear and total

50 does the singer harbour any unfulfilled ambitions? ‘None at all,’ Hynde says quickly. ’All I ever wanted to do was to play guitar in a band. I think the trick is that

when you get what you’ve always dreamt about, you

(Sarah Dempster)

must try to keep some sort of desperate enthusiasm and love for it. It’s all a matter of being creative and happy really. Happiness is a discipline I embrace and try to make a point of. That’s the ultimate goal in my life.’


Every fortnight a new spring of talent bursts forth. Getting us damp this issue: Appliance. Appliance, eh? Sounds chilly. Technical. ’We wanted a household name, so that even when we were really poor and no one knew who we were, our name was out there! Over appliance shops! It's free advertising.’ They sound jolly, considering their name suggests stony Teutonic bleep- merchants. There is that element to

their music. Founder members David

48 THE LIST 23 Sep—7 Oct 1999



Kraftwerk meets craft work: Appliance contemplate carpentry

and James bonded over Neu and Can records, as well as the usual Doors and Velvet Underground influences; their forthcoming debut album Manual borrows that Krautrock blueprint which James sums up as ’spacious music that gets away with doing as little as possible.‘

Lazy sods. Certainly not. Appliance are dedicated youngsters who put out a series of painstakingly self-funded vinyl releases before accepting a deal from Mute. They have since supported Six By Seven and Add N To (X), who are apparently ’lovely sweet human

beings’ and not scary at all.

This lot are young and have no beards; it can’t be trainspottery knobtwiddling all the way. No, no, fear not. Some of their songs even have words. ’We are quite experimental,’ says James, 'but quite giving and generous too; the vocals add an emotional dimension.’ Sensitive poets with guitars and analogue synths. Fantastic. Not only that, they appreciate art. Their Mute releases feature gorgeous cover paintings by young British artists Alexis Harvey and James Martin. James went to art school and wanted ’to bring that world into the music. The covers all fit together and feed off each other.’

Blimey.All that and a tendency to dabble in crazy home-made instruments too. ’Making pedals is more interesting than buying them from a shop. You get that random element, and a unique sound. Plus you can do terrible things to them and it doesn't matter,’ says Michael. He also tried to make a guitar once. ’I made a working pick-up, but it's the neck and all that that's difficult. I suppose you'd need to hang out with carpenters . . .' (Hannah McGill)

Surface noise

Music news, feuds and rumours

THE CANCELLATION OF the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival at Camber Sands, due to poor ticket sales, left a yawning gap in the diaries of local acts Arab Strap, National Park, Motor Life Co, the Delgados and Snow Patrol. Those who were sceptical of the chances of a second Bowlie success story, in gloomy September and without the aid of those magic words beginning with B and S, were heard to mutter ’I Told You 50’. Still, rumour has it that the promoters hope to reschedule in spring with some bigger names.

LOCAL HIP HOP crew Blacka’nized have gone separate ways after ten years of music making, despite lots of acclaim for their recent live- appearances and eponymous debut album. They will continue to run their record label Yush, and we wish them luck with their new projects.

STAYING ON THE subject of local bands befalling unfortunate fates: Edinburgh dance crew Kojak have had to change their name due to one of those pesky French house acts cheekin sharing their chosen handle. So from now on it's Spy Vs Spy you should be looking out for.

MORRISSEY IS PLAYING in Glasgow! Look more awed! It’s Morrisseyl He’s playing! In Glasgow! The moody, sexually ambiguous, Union Jack abusing daddy of modern indie rock will grace the Barrowland with his moody, sexually ambiguous (etc) presence on Fri 5 Nov. Since it’ll be fireworks night, why not stand at the front and repeatedly request ’Sheila Take A Bow’?

TWO BROTHERS CALLED Webb (though not, one assumes, pop's handsome Webb Brothers) have come up with a way to make maths fun. No they haven’t, we hear you cry. Well, don’t knock ’Tables Disco' till you’ve tried it. This new CD sets the multiplication tables to rock and rap music to keep the wee ones entertained as they cram their brains with useless knowledge at the behest of sadistic teachers. No Missy Elliot collaboration just yet; still, parents, irritating kitsch DJs and the innumerate can order a copy for £9.99, plus P&P, on 07071 22 33 20.

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