Chrissie Hynde’s 10 Pieces of Advice for “Chick Rockers” (1994)

advicetoChrissie Hyn­de knows a few things about being a female rock­er. When at the ten­der age of 14 she saw Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels play at a fair­ground in her home­town of Akron, Ohio, the band got into a fist­fight with each oth­er dur­ing the per­for­mance. She was hooked. “I thought,” she said to The Guardian ‘That’s got to be the life!’ ”

Not long after col­lege at Kent State, where she was in a band with Devo’s Mark Moth­ers­baugh, she end­ed up in Lon­don. There she worked at Mal­colm McLaren’s noto­ri­ous store SEX along­side the future mem­bers of The Sex Pis­tols. She even asked Sid Vicious and John­ny Rot­ten to mar­ry her for the work visa. She tried to start a band with Mick Jones of The Clash, but that didn’t take. She was kicked out of the band Mas­ters of the Back­side before they changed their name to The Damned and became famous. Then in 1978, she formed the band The Pre­tenders and quick­ly became a rock icon with hit tunes like “Don’t Get Me Wrong” and “Mes­sage of Love.”

In short, Hyn­de has been rock­ing for over 40 years now and she has some advice for aspir­ing lady rock­ers, which was orig­i­nal­ly print­ed as a pro­mo for her 1994 release “Night in my Veins.”

1. Don’t moan about being a chick, refer to fem­i­nism or com­plain about sex­ist dis­crim­i­na­tion. We’ve all been thrown down the stairs, and f—ed about, but no one wants to hear a whin­ing female. Write a loose­ly dis­guised song about it instead and clean up. ($)

2. Nev­er pre­tend to know more than you do. If you don’t know chord names, refer to the dots. Don’t go near the desk unless you plan on becom­ing an engi­neer.

3. Make the oth­er band mem­bers look and sound good. Bring out the best in them; that’s your job. Oh, and you bet­ter sound good too.

4. Do not insist in [sic] work­ing with “females.” That’s just more b.s. Get the best man for the job. If it hap­pens to a woman, great – you’ll have some­one to go to depart­ment stores with on tour instead of mak­ing one of the road crew go with you.

5. Try not to have a sex­u­al rela­tion­ship with the band. It always ends in tears.

6. Don’t think that stick­ing your boobs out and try­ing to look f—able will help. Remem­ber you’re in a rock and roll band. It’s not “f—me,” it’s “f—you”!

7. Don’t try to com­pete with the guys; it won’t impress any­body. Remem­ber, one of the rea­sons they like you is because you don’t offer yet more com­pe­ti­tion to the already exist­ing male egos.

8. If you sing, don’t “belt” or “screech.” No one wants to hear that sh–; it sounds “hys­ter­i­cal.”

9. Shave your legs, for chris­sakes!

10. Don’t take advice from peo­ple like me. Do your own thing always.

A lot of this is just sound advice for get­ting along at the work­place – don’t act like you know more than you do, don’t com­plain, make your work­mates look good but don’t doink them. But prob­a­bly the key points for Hyn­de is num­ber one and num­ber sev­en.

In that inter­view with the Guardian, she indeed proved to be reluc­tant to “moan” about sex­u­al dis­crim­i­na­tion in the rock­dom. “There’s always been women doing this, just not that many,” she said. “I don’t know what the fem­i­nists have to say about it. Over the years, you’d hear, ‘We weren’t encour­aged.’ Well, I don’t think Jeff Beck­’s moth­er was say­ing, ‘Jef­frey! What are you doing up in your room? Are you rehears­ing up there?’ No one was ever encour­aged to play gui­tar in a band. But I nev­er found it hard­er because I’m a woman. If any­thing I’ve been treat­ed bet­ter. Guys will car­ry my gui­tars and stuff – who’s going to say no? Guys always tune my gui­tars, too.”

Check out the video for “Night in my Veins” below:

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Four Female Punk Bands That Changed Women’s Role in Rock

CBGB’s: The Roots of Punk Lets You Watch Vin­tage Footage from the Hey­day of NYC’s Great Music Scene

The Art of Punk Presents a New Doc­u­men­tary on The Dead Kennedys and Their Grit­ty Aes­thet­ics

Jonathan Crow is a Los Ange­les-based writer and film­mak­er whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low him at @jonccrow. And check out his blog Veep­to­pus, fea­tur­ing lots of pic­tures of bad­gers and even more pic­tures of vice pres­i­dents with octo­pus­es on their heads.  The Veep­to­pus store is here.


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