The Pretenders

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As a young female songwriter, I was always looking for icons to look up to.  There was Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, but I needed someone a little tougher.  For any of my friends who have ever seen me with a loofah on my head—especially circa 2005-06 while working at Whole Foods in Seattle—I stole the idea from Chrissie Hynde.  I loved the idea of wearing a bathroom article as a hair ornament.

One time, I was driving my Subaru Outback through Interbay to Ballard to see Billy Childish read poetry with my friend Benny, and I had a loofah on my head.  I needed to hock a loogie, so I opened the door to take care of business at a red light.  Of course I had a million pieces of paper above the sun visor, and as I turned to hock, the loofah knocked all the papers loose.  I reached to grab everything, and then didn’t see where the loogie went.  Like a scene out of There’s Something About Mary, I did the deed but the evidence went missing.  When I reached Ballard, I found the loogie inside the sleeve of my sweatshirt.  Inside!  Don’t ask me how.  But I had to ditch the hoodie and ended up buying a new shirt to wear at Cupcake Royale.  It probably said “Legalize Frostitution” on it.  The moral of the story: don’t loofah and drive.

In 1995, I was 13 years old and right in the beginning of my punk rock revolution.  I had started dying my hair with punky color hair dye, I played electric guitar, and I lied to mother all the time about going to see local bands play The Shelter in Detroit.  Also in 1995, the VH1 Fashion Awards had The Pretenders perform.  I was way too cool for VH1, but I’m sure it was on a Sunday night and I was bored and I had no homework.  Oh, who knows what the circumstances were!  I was watching!  And damn, Chrissie Hynde strutted onto that stage singing “Brass in Pocket” and blew my mind.  I had never seen a woman so feminine and tough all at once.  She looked like she would stab you if you crossed her, yet she was wearing a super short skirt and oozing sex appeal.

I never forgot this moment.  It is really powerful to have a performance leave that strong of an impression.  Musicians perform all the time and can only hope of being as memorable as that 3 minutes from 1995.  I still worship Chrissie Hynde, and I promise to dress up as her from that VH1 performance this coming Halloween.

Goodbye, The Pretenders.

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2 thoughts on “The Pretenders

  1. Ah. Nice.
    I was three feet from Chrissie when the Pretenders first came through Boston – must have been ’79. They Played the Paradise on Comm Ave. I clearly remember the ticket price: $3.50. She wore torn leather jeans. Great show – had to have been!

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