By Rob Nagy

CHRISSIEHYNDE-STONEPONY8-09-09-4-ROBNAGYIt has been more than three decades since the “Pretenders” exploded onto the music scene. Bordering on punk and pop, the Pretenders made a huge splash in America with their self titled 1978 release.  Anchored by the brash, captivating vocal talents of lead singer Chrissie Hynde, the Pretenders achieved what few bands are able to do, establish a signature sound that has always unmistakably been the Pretenders. Now with their latest release“Break up the Concrete”, their first in six year, the Pretenders have been hitting the concert trail hard keeping the band’s name in the public eye while proving they are still capable of delivering a great song.

The Pretenders were given birth in 1978 when Chrissie Hynde met up with original bassist Pete Farndon in London, England. Hynde had been bouncing around the globe the decade prior attempting to launch a musical career without much success. Farndon was impressed with Hynde’s songwriting and started working with her. In need of a guitarist, Farndon lured James Honeyman-Scott to record an early demo with both he and Hynde.  In the summer of 1978 Hynde, Farndon and Honeyman-Scott returned to the studio to record another demo this time with Nick Lowe of Rockpile producing two Pretender classics “Precious” and “Stop Your Sobbing”.  Soon after Martin Chambers joined the band on drums and the Pretenders line-up was intact.  In 1979 the Pretenders released their self-titled debut yielding the single “Brass in Pocket”, which went to number one in the U.K. Two years later they released their sophomore effort “Pretenders II” and The EP/ Extended Play album containing the U.K. and U.S. hits  “Message of Love” and “Talk of the Town” and a live version of “Precious,” recorded in New York’s Central Park furthering the bands commercial success and solidifying their place for years to come. By the latter part of this same year Farndon’s drug addiction was putting a strain on the band and he was fired in the spring of 1982 following the bands world tour. Two days after Farndon’s departure the band received the tragic news that James Honeyman-Scott had died in his sleep, the result of drug induced heart failure.  “You don’t know what the repercussions are through the remainder of your life”, recalls Chambers. “I have missed him every day since.  He was one of my best friends. We used to share bedrooms before we could afford a real room. You can imagine the hilarity that brought on. We were Laurel and Hardy. It was just great fun. That was just an unfortunate thing three and a half years into the group to lose, for Chrissie it was her right hand man in Jimmy.” To their credit Hynde and Chambers regrouped and went into the studio a month later to record a new record, which featured the song “Back on the Chain Gang”, in honor of the late Honeyman-Scott.  Guitarist Robbie McIntosh and bassist Malcolm Foster were brought on board to complete what became the Pretenders next album “Learning to Crawl”. Tragedy struck days before the release of this album when Farndon was found dead in the bathtub from a drug overdose. Out of the ashes personal chaos, “Learning to Crawl” achieved much deserved critical acclaim and commercial success, with the single “Middle of the Road” and the band continued to tour until disbanding following their 1985 performance at Live Aid. Over the next decade a variety of musicians performed with Hynde releasing some successful singles including “Don’t Get Me Wrong” and “I’ll Stand by You”.  Martin Chambers returned by the mid-nineties after abruptly departing the band a few years earlier.  Touring and recording continued highlighted by an appearance at the Concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio in 1995. Hynde went into seclusion for a few years resurfacing with new material, which was released independently to a lukewarm response from the general public. In 2006 the band released, in conjunction with Rhino Records, a four disc box set, which included over five hours of music and a DVD of rare live performances. Chambers is quick to acknowledge that Hynde has been and will always be the centerpiece for the band, without her there is no Pretenders. “More than ever now it’s been Chrissie’s band a long time”, says Chambers. “It’s a completely different set of rules now. Chrissies is basically in charge and that’s that. She has called it a tribute band, a tribute to Jim (James Honeyman-Scott) and Pete (Farndon), which is a way of looking at it. For me, the Pretenders died in 1982, that was the end of the true Pretenders.

With the bands current release “Break up the Concrete”, they are proving that they aren’t going away anytime soon. Featuring a stellar line-up of musicians, which in addition to Hynde includes guitarist James Walbourne, pedal steel player Eric Heywood, bassist Nick Wilkinson and Martin Chambers on drums, the Pretenders have produced twelve solid songs showcasing Hynde’s songwriting backed by her vocal talents, which have not diminished as she has again captured the Pretenders sound and spirit. “She not only can sing but she’s got a great voice”, says Chambers.  Above all she’s singing her own stuff mostly so it’s a pretty good combination. There’s not many like that and she’s pretty unique. I’ve always thought it’s good never to work with rubbish so I’m glad to be working with her still.” Chambers added, We’re pretty lucky to have come full circle for a band that’s the top of the heap as far as I’m concerned. I’m very proud to be associated with it. Standout songs includes “Boots of Chinese Plastic”, “The Nothing Maker”, “Don’t Lose Faith in Me”, Don’t Cut Your Hair”, “Loves a Mystery” and the title tracks “Break Up The Concrete”.  Chambers is very optimistic when looking toward the future. “We’ve got a bit of life in us yet”, says Chambers. “It’s difficult in this business to look more than a year or two ahead but I can certainly see another great record. It’s definitely on the cards as far as I can see. It’s only a question of coming up with a few good tunes.” Chambers is aware of the bands place in history and would like people to think of the Pretenders fondly. “I’d like people to say, ‘we were a true band. That they put their priorities in the right place, that their music came first.’ We made a good noise. Had some good times and had some people that really enjoyed it and I think that’s really as far as you can go with that.”

On August 09, 2009 the Pretenders played to packed Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey.  With the seductive presence of Hynde at the helm, the band played a ninety minute set of all the Pretenders classics, which included “Message of Love”, “Brass in Pocket”, The Wait”, “Middle of the Road” and “Back on the Chain Gang” as well as a handful of selections from their latest release. The band was near perfect, sounding as lively and as fresh as when they first conquered America three decades ago. Based on tonight’s performance, the Pretenders are going to be around for a while. Their tour, which started in the U.S. in January of this year, has since found the band performing through-out Europe. They wind things down this fall in the U.S. before taking a much needed break over the winter months.  Look for a possible new release sometime late next year. For more info on the Pretenders or to order a copy of their new release go to

Photos by Rob Nagy


By: Mike Vagnoni

3monkeys_logoWhere to begin our next dining out feature was not an easy choice. See, there are thousands of places in our Greater Delaware Valley area to pick from and for our feature, in this special OOT issue, one of our favorite places is the Three Monkeys Cafe. So I called on Gavin one of the owners and said we would like to feature his Three Monkeys and he said to me, ”come on over. ” This Cafe, has a turn of the century hand carved bar along with an upscale dining room called the “Risdon Ferry Dining Room” just added to the restaurant this past year, which is Victorian in style and designed with much thought. It just adds more character to the restaurant & bar and is also available for any kind of private function. The 3 Monkeys also has an outside Monkey Court with a full bar under a tent and just the perfect setting at night, under the stars, to make your night. This place really has a lot going for it. All summer long, my wife and I along with some of our best friends would meet up on any night of the week. We really enjoy the outside Monkey Court for dining and to just hang out and have a few drinks along with some great conversations. So, in this dining out feature we will focus in on the outside Monkey Court. Fall is perfect for dining outside and under their Tree Bar they have a tent with a big HDTV Flat screen behind the bar, so on warm Sunday NFL game days – you’ll will be able to sit outside and enjoy the Birds.
Now the review:
The menu at the Three Monkeys is not your typical restaurant menu. This is an upscale bar but they keep the prices very moderate and offer good portions of Pub style Appetizers, Wraps, Salads, Entrees from NY Strip Steaks to Chicken Florentine. Entrees are nice sized portions and come with a house salad, vegetables and your choice of rice or potatoes. They also offer an assortment of burgers and sandwiches.
For starters, my wife Barbara ordered the crispy calamari( $8.99) and I asked for the hot crab dip with pita bread($13.99.) Both items we shared and were very tasty and filling. Next up was our entrees. After checking out the menu we both wanted a chicken dish. Barbara ordered the Chicken Florentine at ( $15.49) which comes with tomatoes, spinach, garlic with a parmesian cheese sauce. I ordered the Chicken Piccata ($14.99) which comes with lemon, capers, garlic in a white wine sauce. Both portions are nice sized and will fill you up. Each dinner came with a house salad and vegetables. Next up we did have some room for dessert so we said we would split something good and we decided on the Chocolate mousse pie to end our meal. What a way to end a great meal. Good portions – with moderate prices and excellent service is what we always seem to find here.
At the Three Monkeys they have a saying …You can pick your Habitat. Have fun in the turn of the century
hand carved bar made in the 1890’s and their gastopub fare. You can enjoy fine cuisine in their RISDOW FERRY ROOM with a true Victorian flair …You can enjoy the outside Monkey Court a KEY WEST inspired courtyard…You can escape from it all and enjoy their outside TREE BAR under the tent and under the stars…This is the Three Monkeys and it really is one of a kind and so unique. **** Four stars out of (4) – FOR SURE!

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By: Krista Doran

OOT_LostPint_promoshotTo me, there’s nothing better than a band who purposely doesn’t try to fit into the typical cover band mold. There are so many of those types of bands out there, and it’s always refreshing to see a band that makes an effort to be different. Once of those bands is Lost Pint.

I first met these guys a few years ago when I was still booking bands. From the very first time I spoke to guitarist Shawn Byrne, I knew I was dealing with professional, honest people. Lost Pint is a 4 piece band based in the Warminster / Hatboro area. Love and a huge enthusiasm for music have brought these four together who truly bring something special and unique to this area. Rather than playing the typical “party rock” stuff that everyone else does, Lost Pint really mixes it up by playing Classic and Modern Rock as well as Blues, Country and Irish Music.

Lost Pint has been together about 2 years now playing some really great rooms in the area, including Squirrel Murphy’s in Warminster, which is a really fun bar with an Irish ambience. They have become a regular act there, and many of their friends and followers will pack the place when they make an appearance. One reason that Lost Pint has been able to develop such a big following is because they play so many different types of music. As drummer Tom Cashman puts is, “We try to reach at least one person with every song.” These guys put a lot into their set lists, carefully choosing songs that best fit each of their playing styles which range quite a bit, but mesh perfectly. Shawn told me that whenever they play live they “can’t help but feed off the energy of the crowd.” It’s true – I have seen it myself. A Lost Pint show is like a big get together with friends from start to finish. Each member of the band does their part by getting the crowd involved and singing along, talking with everyone in between sets, asking their opinions on the music…they genuinely appreciate the fact that people come out just to see them. As Tom told me, “everyone who comes to see us deserves the attention we give to them. After all, they could have gone anywhere, but they came to see US, and we want to make them feel appreciated.”

Lost Pint also dabbles a bit in original music and has a great song called “My Life is a Cliché”, written by bass player Phil Williams. Phil wrote this song while going through a very difficult divorce several years back when he was in the Air Force. He told me, “I was in the shower one day feeling really, really bad and just started thinking about all the normal clichés…why is this happening?…what could I have done to make it better?…if I only knew then what I know now…and the song developed from there.” Phil is now remarried to a beautiful girl named Allison, so I’ll through another cliché out there for you Phil – “everything happens for a reason.”

These guys have become dear friends of mine and I am so proud of the hard work they have put into not only getting their name out there in many unique ways, but the obvious effort they put into their playing. They truly care about the product they put out, and it shows. You can catch Lost Pint at many fine establishments every month such as Squirrel Murphy’s, The Street Road Bar & Grill, E’s Irish Pub and many others – just check out their schedule at The band will also be performing at a wonderful charity event on September 25th from 7 pm – 12 am called Special Equestrians, which is a Forbes Enterprise Award winner and non-profit Therapeutic Riding Program located at 2800 Street Road in Warrington, PA. The mission of this organization is to improve the physical, mental, and emotional well being of individuals with disabilities through the equine experience. The event is being held at Vereinigung Erzgebirge, located at 130 Davisville Road in Warminster. Tickets are $35 pp, and include food, beer and live entertainment.

Lost Pint is Shawn Byrne – Lead Vocals, Guitar and Harmonica, Phil Williams – Bass and Vocals, Dave Rosenblatt – Lead Guitar and Tom Cashman, Drums and Vocals. Check out live YouTube video at their site and definitely take the time to see a show. You will certainly be glad that you did.

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Jokes For August 2009

Sep 3, 2009

Some Random Thoughts That I’ve had:

– I wish Google Maps had an “Avoid Ghetto” routing option.

– Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize that you’re wrong.

– I don’t understand the purpose of the line, “I don’t need to drink to have fun.” No one does … But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they’ve invented the lighter?

– Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you’re going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you’re crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.

– I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger

– There is a great need for sarcasm font.

– How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

– I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

– I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

– The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to finish a text.

– Was learning cursive really necessary?

– LOL has gone from meaning, “laugh out loud” to “I have nothing else to say”.

– Whenever someone says “I’m not book smart, but I’m street smart”, all I hear is “I’m not real smart, but I’m imaginary smart”.

– How many times is it appropriate to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear what they said?

– I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a dick from cutting in at the front. Stay strong!

– What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?

– While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it … Thanks Mario Kart.

– MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

– Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

– I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t at least kind of tired.

– Bad decisions make good stories

– Whenever I’m Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got the Red Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures …. Don’t mind if I do!

– Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go a round and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I’m from, this shouldn’t be a problem….

– There’s no worse feeling than that millisecond you’re sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

– I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

– “Do not machine wash or tumble dry” means that I will never wash this ever.

– I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people watching TV. There’s so much pressure. ‘I love this show, but will they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren’t watching this. It’s only a matter of time before they all get up and leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?’

– I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

– When I meet a new girl, I’m terrified of mentioning something she hasn’t already told me but that I have learned from some light internet stalking.

– I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it’s on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.

– Why is a school zone 20 mph? That seems like the optimal cruising speed for pedophiles…

– As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.

– Sometimes I’ll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

– It should probably be called Unplanned Parenthood.

– I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

– I think that if, years down the road when I’m trying to have a kid, I find out that I’m sterile, most of my disappointment will stem from the fact that I was not aware of my condition while in college.

– Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, hitting the G-spot, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey – but I’d bet my ass everyone can find and push the Snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time every time…

– My 3-year old niece asked me in the car the other day “Uncle Donny, what would happen if you ran over a ninja?” How the hell do I respond to that?

– I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

– I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.

– The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words, someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think about it, and then estimated that there must be at least four people eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by myself. There’s nothing like being made to feel like a fat bastard before dinner.

Wildwood Days

The one who can carry two cups of coffee and six doughnuts.

The one who can eat the sixth doughnut

Love in an Elevator

Economy Fixed !!

There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force – Pay them $1 million apiece severance with the following stipulations:
1. They retire immediately. Forty million job openings – Unemployment fixed.
2. They buy NEW American cars. Forty million cars ordered – Auto Industry fixed.
3. They either buy a house or pay off their mortgage – Housing Crisis fixed.

It can’t get any easier than that!

It’s not over yet – Summer is still going strong. Stop on out to The Stadium during one of our TV tapings. Always a blast !!
New boxing classes starting soon … shoot me an email for more info …

As always, if you’ve got a good joke, story, or pic, send them on over to

Have FUN !!

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