Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Checking in with Martin Chambers

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Checking in with Martin Chambers

Article excerpt

Martin Chambers did not perform on the Pretenders' latest album, but he's not upset about it. "A couple of years ago, I told [Chrissie Hynde] you don't have to use me," Chambers says. "I didn't want to play on the album. I couldn't be bothered with all the aggro Chrissie gives me.

"She's very strong-minded and we clash," Chambers, the Pretenders' outspoken drummer, says of his 40-year relationship with Hynde, the band's singer-guitarist. "I've taken it on the chin from her so often. But because I love her so much and the Pretenders so much, that's OK. I'm sure I've taken a toll on her as well."

Though he does not appear on the band's latest effort, "Alone" (2016), Chambers is the group's official drummer and plays with them live, as he will when the band performs at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown on Monday.

"I know my job is to play the supporting role for Chrissie, providing the platform on the drums so that she can sing that melody," he says. "That's the cooperative that Chrissie and I work within.

"We're all about the music and the best results," Chambers says. "We're still able to do it with a big smile on our faces because we're still alive and producing good music and performing great shows."

Chambers began playing professionally in 1967 and is in his second stint with the Pretenders. He was with the band from their formation in London in 1978 until the mid-1980s, and rejoined in 1994. Hynde, an Ohio native, moved to England to pursue a music career in 1973.

Chambers says it was evident from the start that Hynde was a special talent. "She hadn't performed much at the time the band formed, but the key is the songs and her range of material was fantastic," he says. "She knows how to sing, which is different form just having a good voice, and writes an incredible lyric. We put together a great band and it worked immediately."

The original Pretenders roster also included the guitarist James Honeyman-Scott and the bassist Pete Farndon. The lineup was responsible for the band's first two albums, "Pretenders" (1980) and "Pretenders II" (1981).

The records included many of the band's best-known songs, including "Brass in Pocket," "Talk of the Town," "Kid," "Message of Love" and a cover of the Kinks' "Stop Your Sobbing. …

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