“I didn’t discourage the drug-taking, and I was part of it”: Chrissie Hynde admits guilt over deaths of Pretenders band members

The Pretenders legend opened up in a new interview.

Chrissie Hynde performing on stage

Image: Gus Stewart/Redferns via Getty Images

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Chrissie Hynde admits that she feels guilt over the deaths of her Pretenders band members Pete Farndon and James Honeyman-Scott in the 1980s.

The Pretenders frontwoman says in a recent Record Collector interview that she “did not discourage” the drug-taking that lead to their deaths – bassist Farndon died in 1983 at the age of 30, while guitarist Honeyman-Scott died a year prior at 25.

She says, “I am guilty. It’s not a big word if you are guilty. It’s big if you feel guilty and you’re not guilty. But if you really are guilty, then you should put your hand up and say, ‘Guilty as charged’.

“Well, I didn’t discourage the drug-taking, and I was part of it. So, you know, not that I was their mother, and we went on the road, and it was very hardcore.”

In June 1982, Farndon was fired from the band due to his heroin use, and two days later Honeyman-Scott was found dead from heart failure due to cocaine intolerance. The following April, Farndon was found dead by his wife after taking heroin and passing out.
“I was having problems with Pete,” Hynde explains, “So, perhaps not guilty, but there’s an element of wishing you’d done better.
“Since Pete and Jimmy died and because I’ve had to replace people, it’s now kind of like a Pretenders tribute band, named The Pretenders.”
At the time of Farndon’s death, there were just two surviving members of the band: Hynde and drummer Martin Chambers, so they added Rockpile guitarist Billy Bremner and Big Country bassist Tony Butler on a temporary bassist, before Robbie McIntosh joined on guitar and Malcolm Foster joined on bass.
The Pretenders’ new album Relentless is set to release on Friday (15 September), and features a line-up of Hynde on vocals, James Walbourne on guitar, Carwyn Ellis on keyboards, Kris Sonne on drums, Chris Hill on double bass, and Dave Page on bass. Meanwhile, Chambers rejoined the band last year for their set at the Taylor Hawkins tribute show at Wembley.

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