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Chrissie Hynde is ‘Alone’ on new album, but sharing a tour with Stevie Nicks

Chrissie Hynde has a new album, “Alone.”Associated Press

Every once in a blue moon, stars align to align stars on an epic tour.

The 1986 True Confessions Tour with Bob Dylan and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, for instance. Or Billy Joel and Elton John in 2010.

Next week, it happens again: This time, the forces that be have given us Stevie Nicks and the Pretenders.

“You can’t just pick up the phone and call a mate, and say, ‘Let’s go out next month’ — a whole constellation of things have to work,” said Chrissie Hynde, 65, longtime Pretenders frontwoman and face of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted band.


The Akron, Ohio, native and poster girl for punk cofounded the band in London in 1978 with drummer Martin Chambers, the late Pete Farndon, and the late James Honeyman-Scott.

Hynde is the only original band member on the new Pretenders album, “Alone,” which dropped Oct. 21. Melding Hynde’s distinct smoky voice with a “Rubber Factory”-esque thump and gritty guitar by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, who also produced the record, it has a vintage Pretenders sound while also borrowing a bit of the Black Keys’s pop-rock vibe.

Hynde and Chambers — along with guitarist James Walbourne, bassist Nick Wilkinson, and Eric Heywood on pedal steel — play with Nicks Nov. 15 at TD Garden. Hynde spoke to the Globe by phone from London, as the tour began.

Q. So the Pretenders have had quite a few incarnations over the years. You’re the only original Pretender on the new album, “Alone.”

A. Yeah, when I made this new album, it started as a solo album. The album was made very much as Auerbach’s project; I see it as a collaboration with Dan more than anything else. . . . I’m not a solo artist, and therein lies the conundrum of me.


[Performing solo] is not that much fun; touring solo would be boring. In a band, as the singer, my job is to set up the guitar player. . . . It’s the closest thing I get to playing a sport — you set the other musicians up for a goal.

Q. “Alone” seems to be almost a celebration of that state. On the title track, you sing: “Nobody tells me I can’t . . . No one to say, ‘You’re doing it wrong’ . . . I like being alone.” Another song goes, almost happily, “Never, never/We’ll never be together.”

A. That’s tongue-in-cheek, I guess. A celebration of being alone would be an exaggeration. . . . It’s more a resignation to being alone and being OK with it. I mean, I didn’t set out to make a concept album. When you go in to write a song, it’s like painting — you stab at the canvas and a painting emerges.

The guys in the studio were talking about what they did over the weekend, and I said, “I do most things on my own. I go to the cinema alone, restaurants alone; I do most things on my own.” Dan said, “Write a song about it.” So I went back to my hotel room — alone — and scribbled. . . . Therein lies how most of my records are put together. My songs are more autobiographical, to get it off my chest, with no concept.

Q. Auerbach is also from Akron. Is that one reason why you sought him out?


A. I don’t really think, “This is a producer I want to work with.” I totally go by vibe. I saw him play; I dig what he does. I love the Black Keys. I said, I can work with that guy. I like to think I inspired him to be the best he could be just like he inspired me.

Q. Did you always want to be a musician?

A. I’ve wanted to be a musician since I was 16, when I really got into radio. [But] I didn’t ever think, “I want to play guitar in a rock band.” When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a cowgirl. . . . Then I was in London in the mid-’70s when the whole punk thing happened. The whole attitude of punk was non-discrimination. I would’ve been too shy [to play guitar in a rock band], but the thing with punk was you didn’t have to be good — it was pure attitude. You could slip through the net.

Q. Your memoir, “Reckless,” released last year. What sparked your decision to write it then?

A. I didn’t have anything to say before. I didn’t want to write a memoir, but you feel like you need to to move forward in your life. It’s a way of turning the page and getting some stuff out of your system. When you’re in show biz, you get asked a lot of [the same] questions. . . . You think, “[expletive] it, I’ll write it down and never have to talk about it again.” But it doesn’t work out that way. You have to talk about it even more after that.



At TD Garden, Boston. Nov. 15, 7 p.m. Tickets: $44.50 and up. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

This interview has been edited and condensed. Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com.