By Chere Di Boscio
She hung out with biker gangs as a youth before moving to the UK, where she almost instantly met the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Joe Strummer and Sid Vicious. Before she knew it, she was part of the burgeoning punk scene and in a band.
Today, she continues to raise eyebrows with the release of her autobiography, Reckless: My Life as a Pretender, which debuted on The New York Times bestseller list at number seven.
This isn’t just a book for rock fans—animal lovers will love it, too. Long time PETA supporter Chrissie discusses her continuing support for animal rights and reveals how she went vegetarian back in 1969:
“Chons, on rhythm guitar, had long black hair and blue eyes and was the first person I ever met who said she didn’t eat meat, and when she told me that, I never ate it again either. Best thing that ever happened to me. All it took was the mere suggestion. Nobody else was vegetarian that I knew of, but I started to think of meat-eating as a very weird practice and secretly regarded meat-eaters with distaste, almost contempt. Why would anyone kill an animal if they didn’t need to? I learned to live and associate with “the majority,” but never respected them. I got used to having this lack of regard for 97 percent of the population. . . .
Being vegetarian was to inform everything, the course of my destiny. I was baffled that the entire hippie nation hadn’t become vegetarian en masse. It made no sense as eating meat went against the whole dialogue. Were the hippies just as hypocritical as the rest of them? . . .”
The book has caused much controversy not only for her radical vegan views, but also because some believe she was blaming the victim when she said of her own rape by a biker gang: “Technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing, and I take full responsibility,” Hynde said at the time, adding: “I went places that no intelligent person would have gone. These bikers I’m talking about were dealing in some real hard drugs and criminal activity…I mean, I was naive.”
She also goes on to dish a bit of dirt on Ray Davies, Sid Vicious, Joe Strummer and other key players in the early punk scene.
Chrissie once said, “I love justice and life. And truth.” Let there be no doubt: Reckless is chock-full of all three.