Pete Farndon

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Besides the Allman Brothers, perhaps the only other rock band to lose bandmembers under exactly the same circumstances (and almost exactly one year apart) was the Pretenders, when guitarist James Honeyman-Scott…
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Besides the Allman Brothers, perhaps the only other rock band to lose bandmembers under exactly the same circumstances (and almost exactly one year apart) was the Pretenders, when guitarist James Honeyman-Scott and bassist Pete Farndon both succumbed to drug overdoses during the early '80s. Farndon was born on June 2, 1952, and hailed from Hereford, England. After traveling around the world during the early-mid '70s, which included a stint in Australia (where he was a brief member of the folk rock outfit, the Bushwackers) and Hong Kong (where he indulged so heavily in drugs that his teeth rotted away), Farndon returned back to Hereford by the end of the decade. With England still caught up in the punk craze, Farndon looked to form a new group, and met guitarist/singer/songwriter Chrissie Hynde through a local drummer friend. After jamming on a few soul obscurities and Hynde originals (at a rehearsal space Farndon described as "the scummiest basement I've ever been in my life"), Farndon was welcomed onboard as a bassist.

Farndon recommended fellow Hereford guitarist Honeyman-Scott to join up (and soonafter, another Hereford resident, drummer Martin Chambers), and by 1979, the Pretenders were up and running. A recording contract with the Sire label soon followed, as such subsequent albums as 1980's the Pretenders and 1981's Pretenders II, became worldwide hits - making the quartet one of new wave's biggest names. But bigtime success proved hard to handle for longtime pals Farndon and Honeyman-Scott, who both indulged heavily in drugs. By 1982, drug abuse had affected Farndon's playing and relationship with the others so badly that he was asked to leave the group. But in a cruel twist of fate, Honeyman-Scott was found dead from a cocaine-induced heart attack in London on June 16, 1982, only two days after Farndon's ousting. Farndon supposedly attempted to form another group in the wake of his exit from the Pretenders, but failed to do so. On April 14, 1983 (less than a year after Honeyman-Scott's death), Farndon was found dead in his apartment at the age of 30, having drowned in his bathtub after doing heroin.