Drummer of The Pretenders
British rock musician Martin Chambers is famous as the original member and drummer of the Anglo-American rock band The Pretenders (1978- the mid-1980s, 1994-present). During his tenure with the group, which is fronted by lead vocalist and main songwriter Chrissie Hynde, the native son of Hereford has taken parts in such albums as “Pretenders” (1980), “Pretenders II” (1981), “Learning to Crawl” (1984), “Last of the Independents” (1994), “Viva el Amor” (1999) and “Loose Screw” (2002), as well as scored several hit singles with songs like “Brass in Pocket” (1980), “Talk of the Town” (1980), “I Go to Sleep” (1981), “Middle of the Road” (1983) and “Human” (1999). In addition to playing the drums, Chambers sings back up on the song “Fast Or Slow (The Law's the Law)” the B-side of the popular single “2000 Miles,” which he also penned and plays percussions.
In 2005, the Pretenders were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Only Chambers and Hynde attended the ceremony.
Childhood and Family:
Martin Chambers was born on September 4, 1951, in Hereford, England.
Middle of the Road
Martin Chambers first became associated with guitarist/keyboardist James Honeyman-Scott, his future bandmate at The Pretenders, when they both played in the band Cheeks, which was fronted by Verden Allen, the ex-keyboardist of Mott the Hoople. It was in 1978 that Chambers eventually joined The Pretenders, replacing Jerry Mackleduff on drums. At the time, he was working as a driving instructor in London.
The Pretenders, whose original members also included vocalist/songwriter Chrissie Hynde and bassist Pete Farndon, signed with Real Records in 1978 thanks to a demo of the song “The Phone Call,” and soon gained critical attention with the Nick Lowe-produced single “Stop Your Sobbing,” which was released in January 1979. Following two more successful singles: “Kid” and “Brass in Pocket,” which was released in June and November 1979, respectively, Chambers and his bandmates launched a self-titled debut on January 19, 1980. A blend of punk, hard rock and New Wave, “Pretenders” successfully put the group on the map.
A versatile drummer for the group, Chambers went on to contribute to the group's EP “Extended Play,” which was released in March 1981 and reached No, 27 on the Billboard Pop Albums. It produced the hit singles “Talk of the Town” and “Message of Love,” both of which enjoyed strong success in the UK and U.S. He also played drums and sang backup for the second studio album “Pretenders II,” which hit the music stores in August 1981. Although it is currently regarded as a great album, “Pretenders II” received mixed reviews from critics at its release, probably because two of the better songs on the album (“Talk of the Town” and “Message of Love”) had been previously released. Other popular songs spawned from the album were “Day After Day,” “Birds of Paradise,” “ The Adultress” and “The English Roses.”
On the height of the group success, The Pretenders had to deal with drug problems that led to the death of Honeyman-Scott in 1982 and Pete Farndon in 1983. Despite the great lost, the group managed to produce a new album in January 1984 called “Learning to Crawl.” With Chambers and Hynde remaining on their positions and Robbie McIntosh and Malcolm Foster replacing Honeyman-Scott on guitar and Farndon on bass, respectively, the group enjoyed courteous critical acclaim for their work on the album. Chambers' hard-hitting style was clearly shown on the first single “Middle of the Road.”
In the mid 1980s, Chambers quit The Pretenders. At the time, the group was working on the 1986 “Get Close” album. He did not return to the group until 1994, when the group were recording the sixth album “Last of the Independents.” He participated in the track “All My Dreams.” He stated, “at the end of the day (Hynde) asked me back because no one could make it work quite like we did.”
Chambers has since continued to perform with The Chambers. In 1999, he provided the drums on the seventh album “Viva el Amor.” Producing two singles, “Popstar” and “Human,” the album was a moderate hit in the United States. It was followed by a Greatest Hits compilation in 2000 and the eight studio album “Loose Screw” in 2002. “Loose Screw” reached No. 55 at the UK and No. 179 in the U.S.
A part from playing with the Pretenders, Chambers also plays with the band Miss World, which is fronted by songwriter Johnathon Perkins.