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Karen de

My very first moment of being a Pretenders' fan was when I first heard "Mystery Achievement", I was totally blown away! I was 15 yrs old, I remember I was in my boyfriend's car (now husband) & I heard "Mystery Achievement", I cranked up the volume & after the song was over I said, "Wow, do you know what band that is"? He replied, "It's The Pretenders". He knew because his friend had the album & he remembered the "hot looking chick with the heavy eye liner" on the front cover. I remember the following day running to the record shop after school & by that time The Pretenders II was out although I thought "that" song must have been on it. It's funny, I really couldn't make out the name of the song when I heard it. I bought the album, brought it home & loved every song on it although it didn't have "that song" that I loved so much. I remember looking at the album cover & thinking, she doesn't have THAT much eye liner on & looked like a school teacher rather than the "bad ass" which Michael described. That should have been the clue that I had the wrong album & I thought to myself, "This is #2, there must be a #1 album out there". The following day I went back to the same store, went to the section in the back marked "P" and found The Pretenders which had Mystery Achievement on it, of course it's the last song but still I loved all of the other songs on it (it was definitely worth "The Wait"-ha ha). I remember hearing "Brass in Pocket" about a year before & liked it but wasn't particularly crazy about it.

From that time on, I was hooked. Maybe I admired Chrissie because she seemed to speak her mind & not worry about her use of the word "fuck". I certainly wasn't a rebellious teen, okay with the exception of smoking pot on a daily basis but my true rebellion was listening to Chrissie say whatever she felt. I remember I was taking a Stenography class in my junior year of high school, we would be grouped in fours, listen to one tape of a letter being dictated by some droney guy & transcribe it. Guess what tape was in my group's recorder? Yep, Pretenders II. I'm surprised that our teacher never caught us tapping our feet & bopping our heads to "The Adultress" but we never got caught. It's a good thing I would have definitely been expelled from the all girls Catholic school I attended. Looking back, I think we did try to transcribe the lyrics. It's a good thing the teacher never collected our note books, she would have gotten the shock of her life.

Regrettably, I did not have the opportunity to see the band until 1984, I would have loved to see the original band (with Jimmy & Pete). I am at every show in Philadelphia & sometimes trek up to NYC to see them also. I was lucky enough to have my picture taken with Chrissie in May of 94 outside the TLA in Philly. She seemed reluctant & I was ready to walk away but my husband begged her, she stepped in & smiled. I remember some guy behind me in line (I think his name was Jeff) asked me for a copy so I sent it to him. Since that time I saw The Pretenders in NYC at the Symphony Space Theater the night that they broadcast the show live with The Duke String Quartet. I stood outside freezing waiting for the band for about 30 minutes but they didn't come out then & Michael was getting antsy to leave, which we did. We went to a bar near our hotel & went in for a drink. About 15 minutes later, guess who came in & sat down next to our table? Martin, Adam, & Andy along with some of the quartet & others. I almost fell off my chair, (no I wasn't drunk). They're the kindest people, they kept thanking us for coming up to see them in New York from Philly. I think I was on a "high" for the next few weeks. I can't wait to see them again in Philly. Who knows, maybe I'll have a real story to tell then.

Kind regards,
karen de