THE Pretenders released their first single, Stop Your Sobbing in 1979. From there began the meteoric rise to fame which introduced Chrissie Hynde as a songwriter with a natural gift for writing excellent melodic rock songs, and marked the beginning of a long line of hit singles and albums to come.

Despite various changes to the band's line-up, The Pretenders have enjoyed consistent success with hits such as Brass In Pocket, I Go To Sleep, Don't Get Me Wrong and I'll Stand By You. They have continued performing and recording great music ever since those early days.

The Pretenders' last studio album, Viva El Amor was released to critical acclaim in 1999, and a Greatest Hits collection later, the band are currently working on a new album which will further ensure their continued success as one of the few great rock bands with real staying power.

In a specially commissioned interview Chrisse Hynde talks about her future appearance at Guilfest 2002.

Who exactly are The Pretenders these days?

The line up is the same as it's been for about ten years now. That is Adam Seymour on masterful guitar, the inimiatable Martin Chambers on drums (only surviving original member other than myself), Andy Hobson, the bands sex symbol, on bass, and Zeben Jameson, our second runner up sex symbol, on keyboards and percussion. And, of course, this tour sees the return of the mighty Duke Quartet.

Who are the Duke Quartet and what do you mean by return?

Well, in 1995 we decided to jump on the unplugged bandwagon, not so much because we like acoustic music, but because in my dotage I've become increasingly intolerant of loud music. Then I got to thinking, well I got paranoid actually, that nobody would be interested in hearing a non-electric Pretenders so I figured we better think of a way to sprinkle a little fairy dust on the project. And that's when I thought of the Dukes, we'd done some work with them in the studio with producer Stephen Street. They are a classically trained string quartet who lend themselves to rock sessions occasionally. When I first met them I realised how totally ignorant to classical music I had been me being a big rock expert and all. I didn't even realise which instruments made up a string quartet although I was sure some violins were involved. In case you don't know, it's two violins, a viola and a cello. What surprised me the most though wasn't my ignorance but rather how absolutely beautiful the sound they made was. We recorded a live album with them (The Isle Of View) but only played a few shows.

At Guilfest 2002 can we expect you to play the same tracks that are on the Isle of View?

Yeah a few of them, but we thought we'd take the opportunity to play songs that we've neglected on our last few tours. Also we're going to keep it electric this time as I found it very hard to sit in one place for an hour and a half when we were playing acoustically.

So what can we expect musically at this summer festival? Anything new?

We'll be playing the old standbys. We've finished recording a new album so we plan on playing some stuff off that - although since it won't be out yet this won't be a promotional tour, which is great for us because we hate to feel like we're up there trying to sell something.

You haven't actually done much touring these last few years, is there a reason for that?

In fact we've been touring fairly regularly now since 1994 but we just haven't done that much in the UK, more in the States, but only because it's a big place and there's a lot of gigs. Also, if I do say so myself we are quite popular over there. But personally I'm delighted to be touring here again for me and the band this is our roots.

What music are you currently listening to yourself?

Oh me, I share the same complaint that most of my peers do it just gets harder and harder to hear interesting new stuff on the radio. It's disco queens more than ever. I still haven't found a radio station that will play say anything off the last Dylan album for example. What a sorry state the whole music business is in. Still, like Dylan and Neil, we just hope we can continue to exist within or without the industry.