Interview with The Pretenders’ Drummer Martin Chambers on the early years of the band, their late guitarist James Honeyman-Scott and original bassist Pete Farndon.
James Honeyman-Scott was a founding member and original lead guitarist of the band The Pretenders. He was a multi-instrumentalist who was influenced by the likes of Ron Wood, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page. Like his idols, he became a musician who developed his own sound.
Sadly, Honeyman-Scott died in 1982 at the age of 25, from heart failure caused by cocaine intolerance. People often wonder why The Pretenders have carried on all these years after they lost Honeyman-Scott and bassist Pete Farndon, but the answer is simple. The Pretenders are a “tribute band,” according to their original drummer Martin Chambers and singer Chrissie Hynde.
I recently caught up with Pretenders drummer Martin Chambers in between gigs during the band’s tour of the UK. Chambers is a founding member of the Pretenders, he joined the group in 1978. On the 35th anniversary of Honeyman-Scott’s death, Chambers reflects on his early years with Jimmy in Herefordshire, their meeting with Queen’s Roger Taylor, and Jimmy’s incredible wit, as well as his untimely death.
PKM: How old were you when you first met James Honeyman-Scott?
Martin: Fifteen years old. I used to go to Hereford to the music shop to buy drumsticks or whatever. And Jimmy worked in a music shop…well, he didn’t work. He ran there after school in his short trousers and annoyed them enough to let him stay. That was Jimmy, even at that age. God knows how old he was. Ten probably. But he used to play the guitars in the back of the shop so when he heard a musician come into the shop, cause I was doing gigs by then, he would inundate my consciousness with questions. All enthusiastic and all he was doing was sitting at the back of the guitar shop playing all the guitars. It was this overwhelming young kid because at that age he was ten, I was fifteen. I’m five years older than him. I mean that’s a lot older. So I was like this big kid to him. So, that’s where I first encountered the tornado that was James Honeyman-Scott.
PKM: Did he leave an impression on you?
Martin: Yes he was a kid that, yeah I guess you can say he left an impression. He was certainly eager to learn.
PKM: You and Jimmy were in a band called Cheeks in 1974. Do you feel that Jimmy had that same charisma, that stage presence as he did in The Pretenders?
Martin: It was certainly arriving for him. He was just a tasty player, you know? He knew all the business about Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Pete Townshend and Jimmy Page. Those guitar players that were very accomplished. He kind of studied those corners. He was across the board and that’s why I think he arrived at where he was as a guitar player. He found his place. There are many musicians in the world that have a great talent. And one of them is, as soon as you hear one note, then you hear the next note, you know who it is. And that’s his style. He also was very aware of how guitars were put together. He was very aware of modern pedals, wah-wahs and all that. He became very innovative in that area and combined a couple of simple little pedals to get his own little wall of sound so he could be big, or he could play very tastefully, quietly. He was just an all-rounder and he was just embarking, really, on the serious side of his career.
PKM: In several interviews Jimmy said he had performed in youth clubs in Herefordshire. Did you go to any of these gigs, or hear about them?
Martin: No, man I was too Prog rock, man.
PKM: Jimmy was five years younger than you…that can feel like a massive age gap when you’re in your twenties. Did you think of him as a little brother?
Martin: In 1973, I would have been about twenty-one, twenty-two when I joined up with Verden Allen (of Mott the Hoople) and we formed this band The Cheeks. Jimmy was in the band with us and, well no, by then a remarkable thing had taken place with Jimmy. In the time I had seen him in the early days when he was young, I didn’t see him for maybe two years. I was working with Karakorum, my band, and I was traveling around the country in a Bedford ambulance. And suddenly I saw him and he was like taller than me, and his hair was as long as mine.
PKM: You thought “When did this happen?”
Martin: Yeah, this kind of blossoming of this um…well his mother would have called him a layabout. But this blossoming of the musician. And the face. And by face, I mean he had the wherewithal to actually find himself in a position. He could roadie for this band, but next thing you know, he was playing guitar in that band, because he was better than the guy he was working for. That was Jimmy’s stepladder. He could work his way into things and he could use that charm…that big-eyed gooey little shit kind of look and get what he wanted. He could be quite manipulative, but never in any sort of terrible way. He was just charming, filthy dirty sense of humor and didn’t stand for idiots at all. So once he got his little guitar collection coming on, he was definitely a force. By the time he was about 17, like a lot of these great guitar players, he was already a force to be reckoned with, and could hold his own with anyone.
PKM: I know before you crossed paths in the late seventies, Jimmy had mentioned that he was working as a gardener at some point?
Martin: This was before he came up to work with Chrissie Hynde and Pete Farndon and before that at the end of the Verden Allen band (Cheeks). We ended up doing very few gigs and living in a van together. It started off with five of us, then there were four, then there were three, and then Jimmy just had enough and he went home.
PKM: Everyone just bailed on you.
Martin: He had a band, you know, he had a couple of bands back then. But, yes, I think when Pete called him he was with a girlfriend and they were living together. He ambled around somebody’s garden with a shovel over his shoulder. You know, I don’t know if he did much, but he worked himself into another position. At that point living in a van didn’t appeal to him, so he was happy having a bed every night, a good shag, and a bit of money coming in so he could go to the pub. So, yes, he was a gardener, all but in name.
PKM: By the late seventies, you crossed paths with Jimmy again in London. How did you find one another after all those years?
Martin: Well that’s a killer question. Um…I got fed up because I had managed to play some demanding music and I learned a great deal from age 15 into my early 20s. I’d done quite a lot of gigs. At this point I was looking for something better than punk rock. Punk rock was great, attitude was a lot of it, but the music itself was not very challenging. You know, I could play thirteen eights, I could play different time signatures because I’d done the Prog rock thing. I had worked in a big dance orchestra just to do that and earn some money for the year. So by the time I got up to London and ended up living in a van, nothing was happening. I’d lived on everybody’s couch in London, 17.85 million couches.
PKM: That’s a lot of couches.
Martin: I had had enough of getting to the point where I’m malnourished and feeling like something’s got to change. So I thought I need to get a car. I’ve got about four pence in my pocket, how can I do this? I thought, [I need a] car to get around to network to find out what was happening in the music world. So I thought, okay, go to the labor exchange, look on the wall, any job you could get that had a car. And the first job I saw that came with a car when I enquired was the British School of motoring. I never ever wanted to be a driving instructor, but that was the side issue. The main issue was ‘I got me some wheels!’ So when I had the wheels, I managed to find Jimmy and Pete because I was able to go back home to Hereford and find a friend of theirs. Jimmy was living in his house, so he gave me the address. So the following Monday evening I went over to the house and knocked on the door. Pat came to the door. Pat was the girl in that house that made tea, and she said, “No, they’re out rehearsing.”
So Jimmy was rehearsing with Pete and Gerry Mcilduff, the drummer they had, and Chrissie. There was no name for this band. They may have done a couple of gigs in Paris, that sort of thing. Gerry didn’t really want to do it, so when Jimmy got my message, I was in. Funnily enough, in the whole of London, I had found a flat to live in that was no more than 400 yards from where Jimmy was living. So I had found the right place, I got the right car, I made the right connection, and my best buddy Jimmy, the little shit, was living down the road.
So we made contact. I don’t know whether I used my kit or Gerry’s kit, but I was a bit apprehensive about that. I went into this little dungeon of a room, and it’s been well documented that Chrissie turned to the wall and started laughing to herself, because it all worked. In my belief, some of the classic bands had lots of guys that were from Liverpool, Dartford, Birmingham, Cardiff, and it’s that invisible ability to just see what the next move that Jimmy will make. And I could just spot it. Pete was the same, and when we first played these awkward timing songs, we did something like the phone call, and bang! It was just 90 percent there.
PKM: Many of The Pretenders’ songs, like you said, have odd timing. That’s-
Martin: To conclude on that last bit. I found them.
PKM: Alright. Duly noted…
As you had said about The Pretenders’ songs having odd timing, which is what makes them so original, Jimmy once said, “The fact is, I don’t know where she (Chrissie) comes in with it. So I just bluff it and hope for the best.” Do you think Jimmy’s improvisation helped define his style as a guitarist?
Martin: Without question. Because he was very instinctive, he was very musical. Chrissie’s originality, part of it was certainly from the fact that she wasn’t musical. That’s why I think if you want to learn to read the dots, read the music, that’s great. I never wanted to. I can see a piece of music and know where I stop, and know the timing, and generally the mood of the piece by looking at music, but I don’t want to read it. I believe when you know that route, you’re tempted to run down that route. In my experience, the best drummers on the planet are drummers who don’t know what they’re doing. I mean, respect to Jimmy, this is the same talent. For me, it’s far better to jump off the cliff, because if you’re any good you will survive. Jimmy was like this too. He could busk over this [Martin hums the intro to ‘Phone Call’], which for Chrissie was all she knew, it had an attack to it, that explained this kind of scary ‘Phone Call’ in a way. So she found that riff and it just happened to be 1234567-1! You know, it had a little jump in it, and that was a talent that Chrissie had. She didn’t know it was 7/4; she hadn’t a clue. It didn’t matter to her. It doesn’t matter. It’s how it sounds to support a lyric.
PKM: I think that’s impressive that Jimmy was able to improvise like that considering he never had guitar lessons.
Martin: Well, he was pretty much self-taught. But he was following me, because he could read me. I could read him reading me. That’s Hereford. The boys from Hereford, Liverpool, London. You know, if you come from the same area, there’s a way you can read somebody. Chrissie is very difficult to read, but Jimmy, he and I read one another like a book. And Pete was on that same page too. Chrissie was always consistent, which was very helpful in working out the stops in ‘Tattooed Love Boys’. But because she was consistent, Pete and I had interpreted it and made it go with a nice pulse and Jimmy latched onto that.
PKM: And that’s what makes the songs so original.
Martin: That’s what made it The Pretenders.
PKM: Did Jimmy play any other instruments besides guitar and keyboard?
Martin: He played piano, he was taught piano, so he could play it well. He wasn’t what you would call a tambourine player. He didn’t shake anything or bang anything ever.
PKM: He didn’t unleash his inner Mick Jagger then?
Martin: Well you know, any kind of stringed instrument he would be able to get a tune out of it, because he understood the tuning of the different instruments. He knew his way around the different keys and capos, and you know, the whole enchilada.
PKM: Jimmy and Chrissie were a songwriting team. Which song was it in your opinion that showcased Jimmy’s songwriting ability?
Martin: The ability to encourage Chrissie in a melodic way. Jimmy loved melody. He loved the Beach Boys, he loved harmony. He managed to play with the Beach Boys a couple of times because he was charming. I introduced him to Carl Wilson in Rome.
PKM: Very cool!
Martin: Ah…that’s a long story. But you know, I never saw Carl again. He disappeared off with Jimmy and I never saw him in Rome again. Gone! And Jimmy would be that kid in the music shop, full of questions, full of charm, full of those big gooey eyes that bring you “come hither” and listen to me, answer this, tell me your inside leg measurement. Ah, you know, all of this was Jimmy. He was so funny, so entertaining for people.
So anyway, he introduced melody, he encouraged Chrissie’s melody. Even ‘Brass in Pocket’. The intro, that just set Chrissie off in a slightly different area, and she loved it. She loves songwriting and loves the journey of songwriting. And I think the greatest part about the songwriting team, was that Jimmy was taking her off down a road that she wanted to go down. Learning, learning, learning, what can I do with this, how can we do that? Jimmy had all these little answers and all these parts that inspired her. She’d just strum something and sing a lyric, and he’d go “Oh right” and he’d do a little riff. And it worked really good.
Again back to that area of understanding sound, understanding the qualities that Chrissie had that she didn’t even know herself. This is really important. This is a band. Not a bunch of people that get together because it’s a business scheme with some hot shot manager. This is a complete amalgamation of characters, of love that we had for our music, for our individual instruments. And we lucked out and Chrissie had just done an album with (Chris) Spedding a year or two before with Chris Thomas producing, and she wanted Chris Thomas. We called Chris the fifth Pretender simply because he was part of that too, and took our music to another place. And it was just a full on learning curve, especially for Chrissie.
PKM: The cover of the first Pretenders album, taken by photographer Chalkie Davies, is an interesting one, to say the least. I can’t help but think that Jimmy was up to something with that cheeky smirk on his face. Can you tell me the story behind that photograph?
Martin: Hmm, it’s hazy because were imbibing a lot of gin and tonic. Pretty much any other alcoholic beverage with an occasional fruit-based drink for a lady. And then, of course, there was all the powders and the lipstick that went along with that. Chalkie had become a bit of a mate, he had become very close with Jimmy too. He had found the flat for Jimmy that Jimmy was living in. So basically, we knew Chalkie and he’d come on the road with us to certain places like the Blackpool photo shoot, so he was there to shoot the album cover. So we stood like this, we stood like that, for, you know, how long could we take that for as a band? Hm…three minutes? Chalkie was pretty quick, and that was basically done in one very short session. Maybe twenty minutes from the time we arrived to the time we sobered up and left. At one of those sessions Jimmy was so drunk he knocked over Chalkie’s camera on the tripod. I don’t know if it broke or not, but you know, that’s…we were kind of a bit drunk in those days.
PKM: Just a tad.
I believe there was a certain remark that Jimmy said before the photograph was taken which explains why each of you had a completely different expression on your faces.
Martin: Well there were several expressions, and if he’d just passed wind, he may have said something like “Smell that fucker!”
PKM: And he did that before the photograph was taken?
Martin: Oh, he would do it during and after! But the great thing was Jimmy did love his toilet humor.
PKM: It’s the Herefordian in him, isn’t it?
Martin: Oh, I think it’s scraping the bowl of the pan. He was a little bit devilish but by God, he could be filthy. I remember the pictures being taken, but it was a straightforward simple session, trying to get everybody looking fairly together.
PKM: Trying to get everyone to sober up, or at least look it.
Martin: Look like you’re all a part of something!
PKM: Getting into a more serious series of questions, when did it become apparent that Jimmy had a drug problem?
Martin: Well this is the funny thing- it never did.
PKM: What do you mean by that?
Martin: Well…okay, everybody and his dad and his dog were doing cocaine. I mean police officers, and sergeants and airline pilots…everybody was doing it! And okay “Don’t take coke it’s very very addictive!” Right, well, “I haven’t had any for a week, and you know, I’m fine.” So anyway, it was obvious with Pete (Farndon), but not with Jimmy particularly. Yes, we were doing more good-time drugs, but not “Oh I’ve got to go and lie down for a week,” you know?
PKM: Right. So you didn’t notice any changes in his behavior during that time?
Martin: No. I only noticed one or two times when he was under the weather. And one of those was a couple of days before I got married, and he just said he didn’t feel well and he had to go home. That’s the first and only time I can remember. We weren’t really drugged up and stuff at that point.
PKM: So you thought nothing of it…
Martin: So no, and I didn’t know if there were any problems with his heart or anything like that. He never mentioned anything. I don’t know if he knew about it, I certainly didn’t.
PKM: When looking at the coroner’s report, Jimmy’s death is ruled as ‘cocaine intolerance’ and it’s often mentioned that he had a weak heart. Do you think he overdosed, or that his body just couldn’t handle the drug?
Martin: There are lots of theories on that. I think when your heart stops, it’s because it’s just reached its last beat. And okay, maybe he was taking a bit more coke than normal because the doctors had told him don’t drink. So maybe he compensated, that’s possible, but at the end of the day, you know, he was a young man about to launch himself onto the world and was doing so. It’s just one of those things. When your time’s up, your time’s up. Yes it was drugs of course that pushed it over the edge, but you wouldn’t describe Jimmy as a real drug addict. If he put his mind to say, “Right, I’m not gonna take any drugs, I’m going to stop drinking, all I’m gonna do is write songs with people,” he would have done that.
PKM: So you feel he had the willpower?
Martin: Oh big time. Big time willpower. And then, maybe not I’ll have a little drink. But you know, he was in control of himself.
PKM: How did you find out that Jimmy had passed away?
Martin: I had gone to the office. We had seen Chrissie about Pete, and Jimmy was adamant that if Pete was in the band, he was leaving. Jimmy and Chrissie were a songwriting team, and for Jimmy to say something like that about Pete, it was very serious and that threatened the spine of the band. The reasons were very obvious. Pete didn’t know he was a drug addict, and this is the problem with drugs. They take you into an area, it’s not just that you’re out of it, you don’t fucking know the reality. You’ve lost reality.
Pete had to go on his journey and hopefully come back. And, who knows, if he had lived he probably would have been back in The Pretenders when he got straight. He was in a band with Topper Headon, who was in exactly the same position and just got sacked from the fucking Clash. They were putting this great band together and I thought, you got to let Pete do his band thing, man. So maybe he could have come back into the band.
Basically that’s when I saw Jimmy when he came back from America. He just played with the Beach Boys, we saw Chrissie, we had the final chat about Pete, is there anything we can do about it, and made the phone call to manager Dave Hill.
The next day I think was possibly a Monday, and I think he died Wednesday morning…or is it Tuesday morning? Anyway, it was a very fast turnover and we’d arranged to go to the office, Chrissie, Jimmy and I. When I got to the office to meet Jimmy at about 9:30/10 in the morning, it was quite early. Within thirty seconds of me saying hello to our manager, the phone went, and Dave was talking to the girl that had found him. The girl that found him was living in a flat with her boyfriend and she was the girl who worked at Wessex Studios. I can’t remember her name. She had called Dave and she said that she “thinks” that Jimmy is dead. So Dave was saying ‘Have you called an ambulance?’ So from that point on, there was a bit of a shimmer going on. And I just couldn’t quite believe it. My car was parked outside the office on a double yellow line and Dave, the manager and I jumped into the nearest taxi and went to the address where he was in West London. We walked into the room…by then, there was an officer at the doorway and we explained what was going on. I walked into the room and Jimmy was there lying on a kind of sofa bed in the lounge. But he was dead.
PKM: What was Chrissie’s reaction to his death?
Martin: I think she had to think on her feet pretty quick because for her that was the end of that. Chrissie is a very cut and dry kind of person when it comes to making a decision, if she’s getting rid of a boyfriend, chop! It’s over goodbye. So I think she went into overdrive and we finished the album that we kind of just almost started. Billy Bremner helped us out. He was a good friend of Jimmy’s and of mine. He played in Rockpile..a fantastic, accomplished player. There were various people who helped us out, including Andrew Bodnar. So we put people together to get this album finished. Robbie (Mcintosh) came along after rehearsals and finished the album with us and Malcolm (Foster) on bass because he was a friend of Robbie’s. So we finished this studio album.
We threw ourselves into work. There were a lot of discussions between Chrissie and I, but basically get the album finished. We’d found the band, by the time the album was finished we had the band and we went into rehearsals. She was also starting a family at this time, so there was an awful lot going on in Chrissie’s life. And basically the effect on her was to, I think push her even more. You know, we’d got to this point where we were close to Madison Square Garden-type level, and it was all looking remarkably good apart from Pete, and then, you know, the unthinkable happened. One of the diamonds was stolen from the tiara.
PKM: After Jimmy’s death, did you feel like “That’s it, we’re finished as a band”?
Martin: No. I was very strong on this. Even before Pete died, maybe at the end of ‘82 going into ’83, we were rehearsing and I was very insistent that the band name remains cause Chrissie was thinking of dropping the name. I said no, no, no, Jimmy had spent his short life getting to a point where he could be that person in a band. Now that Jimmy’s gone and subsequently very shortly after Pete had gone, to me it was just like “How can you possibly think of not continuing?” and that’s why Chrissie called us not long after that a tribute band.
I take the humor of that because we were our own tribute band. It felt a bit like that, getting new guys where Jimmy was standing and Pete was standing, and they were wearing Pretenders T-shirts. How dare they wear Pretenders T-shirts? So there was a certain resentment and acceptance that this was the way we had to go forward. Robbie, Malcolm and Rupert Black on keyboard were very accomplished players and we made the best of ‘Learning to Crawl’. We went out and we played Madison Square Garden.
PKM: At times, like you said, you must have felt resentful like “They aren’t the original members, they don’t have the right to be here…”
Martin: There was a lot of that and it’s something you have to temper quite well, and it’s part of the learning curve to try and realize that you won’t see them again. Not in this lifetime.
PKM: When you’re on the road these days, do you find yourself thinking of Jimmy and Pete, or are you in work mode? I remember you were telling me a story about Pete’s guitar in a shop window.
Martin: We were in Glasgow and right opposite was a Hard Rock. I never go into Hard Rock cafes and I just felt the finger coming at me going ‘come here’. I walked in there late at night, and there were all the guitars on the walls, and they said “Oh we’ve got a warehouse full of ‘em.” It’s like oh great. Have you got Picassos in there as well, you twat?
Anyway I walked around and I thought “Maybe one of Jimmy’s guitars could be in here.” And suddenly there was the pink Hamer bass that was Pete Farndon’s guitar. Right in front of me! You could have knocked me down with a feather. And it was just, I see he was just reaching out with his finger going “Come in here, look at the pink Hamer.” It wasn’t a great guitar, but we had a deal and they were free. Pete used to wear a jacket with that, I think. He wore a smart jacket like David Johansen’s band the Staten Island Boys.
PKM: In interviews, Jimmy had named Eric Clapton and Ron Wood as his influences. Had he lived, do you think Jimmy would have been regarded as a rock ‘n’ roll legend?
Martin: He already was by Ronnie. I don’t think he knew Eric very well, but I know he met Ronnie and become quite friendly with him. Ronnie is fantastic and has many similar qualities to Jimmy. I think they met and he was like a young cousin to him or something. Ronnie, well he’s a beautiful touchy feely fella, so he could see this thing that I saw in the music shop in Herefordshire. Jimmy made friends real quick, great players would give him guitars and he was very proud of the fact that this Flying V was given to him to “Pete Townshend by Joe Walsh, and Pete Townshend gave it to me.” That’s all in the intro for The Pretenders film where he’s dressed in a tutu behind the bar showing everybody his guitars. I mean everything right there tells you how English he was. His music, his guitars, his selection of drinking equipment, and with a tutu on! You know you ask somebody like Roderick Stewart, for example, what is the definitive English thing, I think it’s we don’t give a fuck about dressing up as women. We’re perfectly happy in our testosterone-driven tight trousers to be able to slip on the little tutu now and again, and introduce himself to the world as “This is my fabulous drinking collection” you know, and he’s wearing a fucking tutu!
PKM: So no fucks were given.
Martin: Yeah it doesn’t matter because I’m in charge of myself and you’re not! I am in charge of this. Thank you. Goodnight. Next. You know, that was the thing. Rod wore the makeup. Jimmy was into all that. The Faces and all that. That’s the Ronnie that Jimmy loved.
PKM: If Jimmy had reached old age, do you feel that his name would be synonymous with all those other guitar greats?
Martin: Without a doubt. I mean he’s still thought of in the most beautiful terms. In the most accolade-ict – there’s a good word for you. Accolade-ict way I’ve ever known. And yet he had such a short time and two albums. That’s it, you know, 25 years old.
PKM: Definition of that word, please.
Martin: Accolade, and he was addicted with accolades from other people. Accolade-ict.
PKM: It’s been 35 years since Jimmy’s passing. It’s hard to believe he would have been sixty years old. Looking back, what is a fond memory you have of him?
Martin: He was a twat.
PKM: A twat? That’s your fond memory?
Martin: He was the perfect twat to my Uncle Fou Fou (craziness). I mean we had arrived in cities, I remember arriving somewhere like Cincinnati. We’d done ‘Concerts for the People of Kampuchea’ so we’d met Roger Taylor and Brian May, and they were staying at a hotel. We went over and found out where Roger was, and we marched up to his room and demanded to be let in. I remember Roger being so overwhelmed by this Laurel and Hardy act that he was falling apart. He called Freddie and said “You’ve got to come down to my room. These two guys from The Pretenders are in here and I can’t get a word in edgewise.”
You know, absolutely brilliant. The humor, you know, and the ability to find the answer to whatever the problem was. Whether it be musical, personal or psychological. He was a good friend, a really good friend. And James Walbourne is very much in that mold. He’s a good friend, as are Nick (Wilkinson) and Carwyn (Ellis). The band we have now are a fantastic tribute to all those attributions that you need to have a rolling ball going down a road, and nothing’s going to stop it. I miss Jimmy, I miss the humor and the love and just seeing the old twat. Terrible. I never really got over it because I’m not allowed to. I’m playing in a band where Chrissie’s at the front looking at the crowd. I’m not doing that, I’m looking at the band.
My vantage point is one where I see Chrissie in the middle, and to the right was Pete and to the left was Jimmy. So I saw three asses, one of which is still present. But the other two asses that are standing there, it’s Jimmy and it’s Pete. Because of the songs we play, because of the lyrics in certain songs, Jimmy would always look at me and mouth something to me, and I’d mouth back the answer. Those things still happen in my head and I’m not allowed to be free of that. It’s not as much of a distraction or a heartache as it was of course, but in life, life is a bitch with hot chili on it. And it’s difficult to take.
PKM: Are Jimmy and Pete interred in nearby Churches in Herefordshire?
Martin: Jimmy was buried in Lyde Church, and Pete is a little closer to me. We weren’t invited to the funeral because of mistaken thoughts, and we never knew anything about it. He was cremated so his ashes were put…I don’t know where. I suddenly found out six years ago that he had a headstone in Saint Peter’s church with his name on it, on the same stone as a relation, and his name is there. The silly little thing about these pointers is the fact that I can now go and see Jimmy now and again and see Pete. It’s like there’s somewhere to go. This is part of the closure which you don’t have when it happens that young and that sudden, so you don’t have that closure ever. But at least there’s somewhere to go to tell them both, very very succinctly, you’re both twats!
“I was selling guitars for a living, for a shop in the Hereford. I did gardening too – that was great! And it was during that time – I was out in the garden, you see, digging away, and the radio was on. Nick Lowe came on with [sings] “and so it goes, so it goes,” that number – Elvis Costello’s “Red Shoes.” And they had this big, jangly guitar sound, which is what I’d been wanting to get into for a long while. All of a sudden the radio’s on and there’s this huge guitar sound coming out, like sending out a big Rickenbacker 12-string or something. And I thought, “Ah, my time is here.” So that’s what happened. And then I hooked up with the Pretenders.” – James Honeyman Scott