THE PRETENDERS – 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.