James Honeyman-Scott: The Complete 1981 Pretenders Interview (HD Audio)


Oct 10, 2010
Ann Arbor, MI
I'd like to share with you my Talking Guitar podcast with James Honeyman-Scott, one of the founding member of the Pretenders.

Jimmy, as he preferred to be called, only lived long enough to play alongside Chrissie Hynde on the band’s first two albums, The Pretenders and Pretenders II. To this day, though, he holds his place among the U.K.’s most original rock guitarists. In a 1999 interview with Uncut magazine, Chrissie called Jimmy her “musical right hand.” As she explained it, “He really was the Pretenders sound. I don’t sound like that. When I met him, I was this not-very-melodic punky angry guitar player and singer, and Jimmy was the melodic one. He brought out all the melody in me.”

Our conversation took place during one of the happiest times in James Honeyman-Scott’s life. The Pretenders’ self-titled debut album had been released a year earlier, to great acclaim. “Brass in Pocket” had climbed high in the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. The band had just completed a series of tours in the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., and they were wrapping up the sessions for Pretenders II. Jimmy, who was a fan of Guitar Player magazine, where an edited print version of this interview first appeared, was happy to talk about his musical life, his experiences navigating Chrissie’s unusual musical approaches, and his many innovative parts on The Pretenders debut album. I found his charming, enthusiastic personality as appealing as his approach to the guitar, which still sounds fresh today. Our interview took place on January 29, 1981.

James Honeyman-Scott: The Complete 1981 Pretenders Interview (HD Audio)

A year and a half later, James Honeyman-Scott was called in for a band meeting during which the original Pretenders bassist, Pete Farndon, was dismissed for his substance abuse. Two days later, on June 16, 1982, James Honeyman-Scott died of cocaine-induced heart failure. He was 25 years old. Chrissie made the decision to keep the Pretenders going in his honor, explaining, “One of the things that kept the band alive, ironically, was the death of Jimmy Scott. I felt I couldn’t let the music die when he did. We’d worked too hard to get it where it was.” For more podcasts and dozens of guitar-focused articles, visit my Talking Guitar magazine at https://jasobrecht.substack.com. #jameshoneymanscott #pretenders #thepretenders #chrissiehynde #jasobrecht