During a recent interview with Kerrang! The Pretty Reckless frontwoman, Taylor Momsen, opened up about the sentimental value of their new album ‘Death by Rock and Roll’ and revealed how music helped her get back on her feet and recover from a series of traumatic losses.
Taylor Momsen is one of the most successful and talented female rockstars of all time and although she achieved fame with her acting skills in the movie ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ and then the famous ‘Gossip Girl’ teenage drama series, everything changed when she co–founded The Pretty Reckless.
Momsen co-founded The Pretty Reckless in 2009 and has been enjoying a career as a rockstar ever since. The band’s third album ‘Who You Selling For’ was released in 2016, and it ranked No.13 on the US Billboard 200 charts. Following that, the band toured all around the United States and Europe with Stone Sour until 2017, when Momsen decided to take a break.
In her recent interview, Momsen opened up about what she was going through emotionally during that time and why the band hadn’t released any new albums since 2016. As you know, the rock world received some devastating news on the morning of May 18, 2017. Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell had passed away after committing suicide, and millions mourned his passing, including Taylor Momsen.
The night before Cornell passed away, The Pretty Reckless had opened for Soundgarden which was a ‘dream come true‘ for the young rockstar. Upon receiving the sad news, Momsen tried to cope with the grief and shock that she felt as the band had to continue their tour in Europe with Stone Sour. After the tour, Momsen realized that she needed some time away to heal.
This is how she described that time of her life:
“I came to the conclusion that I was not in a good place to be in public and I couldn’t get on stage every night and put on an entertaining rock show. I was not handling it well, I was in too much shock.”
After approximately a year, Momsen managed to partially recover from this traumatic loss and called the band’s producer, Kato Khandwala, who had been working with The Pretty Reckless since 2010 and was considered to be almost a member of the band, to tell him that she’s ready to start recording again.
Soon after that Momsen got another heartbreaking phone-call during which she was told that Kato had been in a motorcycle accident and that he had passed away. This was the last straw for Momsen who just couldn’t deal with all these tragic events anymore so she quit, not music but she ‘quit life‘ as she said.
Here’s what she said in the interview:
“That was the nail in the coffin for me. I spiraled downward very quickly into this dark hole of depression, and I was a mess. I got to a place where I kind of gave up. I gave up on everything – on life, on music, I was looking at everything and going, ’What’s the fucking point? Everything I love is dead. What’s the point of anything?’ And eventually, I kind of put myself into my own isolation, which maybe was not the best idea.
I didn’t think about quitting. I just quit. It wasn’t a thought, like, ’I don’t want to be an artist anymore.’ I didn’t think, ’I’m done with this and I wanna go do something else.’ It was like, ‘I don’t want to do anything.’ I quit life. I didn’t leave my house, didn’t leave the couch, didn’t talk to anyone. I quit life – I can’t think of a better way to say it.”
She went on to say that it took her a long time to even listen to music because ‘everything brought back a memory’ and she wasn’t ready to cope with her emotions. After some time, she slowly started getting back to music and started from scratch. She listened to The Beatles, then Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and the other bands that had always inspired her. Finally, she was able to listen to Soundgarden, which was a turning point for Momsen.
After that point, she slowly started recovering, and her source of pain turned into a remedy. Listening to music helped her during the most challenging time of her life and gave her the courage ‘to pick up a guitar and to write.’ Thus, The Pretty Reckless’s ‘Death by Rock and Roll’ became a tribute to everything that she went through and a message of love to the people that she lost.
Here’s what she said in the interview:
“I got to the place where I needed music. At first, I couldn’t listen to music, I was too upset – everything brought back a memory to me that I wasn’t ready to handle. I finally got to a place where I could listen to music, and I went back to the beginning again. I started listening to The Beatles. I thought, ’I’ll start with the first band I fell in love with, where it all started for me.’ I listened to all The Beatles albums, all the demos, all the anthologies, and from that I went into Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd and The Who and Oasis and AC/DC. Finally, I was able to listen to Soundgarden again. And that led to me finally being able to pick up a guitar and to write.”
Click here for the source and you can listen to ’25’ which Momsen wrote as a tribute to the age that she had to face the biggest challenges of her life.