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Pretenders plan 2009 tour

Though a couple dates are on the books for December, the Pretenders plan to mount a full-scale tour in 2009 to promote their latest album, “Break Up the Concrete.”

“We’ll probably be touring most of the year, I think; that’s what we’re hoping for, at least,” group leader Chrissie Hynde said. “Even to me it sounds like, why would I want to get on a tour coach and sleep in a bunk with a bunch of guys, but that’s where we feel comfortable. That’s my trade-off for … not having to wait tables.”

The last major Pretenders tour was the group’s 2007 summer jaunt with ZZ Top and the Stray Cats, but Hynde says that so far “there haven’t been any suggestions” for another package, which is just fine with her.

“I would love to headline something, ’cause then I don’t have to share the catering with meat eaters,” explains Hynde, a vegan who operates a restaurant, VegiTerranean, in her hometown of Akron, Ohio. “I love working with other bands, and I certainly don’t mind supporting another band. I don’t have to be the headliner; that’s never been an issue for me at all. I’m just more concerned about sharing the catering.”

When the Pretenders do start playing live again, beginning with the Wreck the Halls radio concert Dec. 10 in Los Angeles and a Dec. 12 show in Portland, Ore., Hynde says founding member Martin Chambers will be back on the drum throne even though Jim Keltner played on “Break Up the Concrete.”

“I think Martin’s one of the greatest rock drummers of all time,” Hynde explains, “but he has a very signature sound and I wanted to get in some different feels on (the album). I knew I needed to work with a different drummer on this record. I just needed that extra input. And Martin was cool with that. He always defers. I mean, I am the band leader. I have to make these decisions. But Martin’s playing (the new songs) now and really enjoying them, and we’re having a ball playing the songs.”

“Break Up the Concrete” is the Pretenders’ first new album in six years, but Hynde — who’s become active in Akron’s downtown revival — does not see accelerating her pace of work and, in fact, can see an end for the band, though there’s not a plan in stone for that, either.

“I can’t think it would be much longer,” she says. “Thirty years seems like already wearing out your welcome in rock’n’roll. But I have no plans, one way or the other. It’s not really the sort of thing you can plan.”