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An Interview with Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless

Formed in 2009, The Pretty Reckless has been a force to be reckoned with since releasing their debut album, Light Me Up, in 2010. Focusing on deep lyrics that show into the band’s soul has earned them a passionate and ever-growing fanbase, leading to their sophomore album, Going to Hell, debuting in the Top 5 of the Billboard Top 200, later going on to feature three chart-topping singles. “Heaven Knows”, off Going to Hell, was 2014’s most successful Mainstream Rock single, spending 18 weeks in the top spot. After touring for two straight years, the band immediately began work on their third album, Who You Selling For. With songs showcasing a range of sonic emotions, Who You Selling For was met with critical and commercial success and has led to a string of sold out shows and high profile festival appearances. We asked lead singer Taylor Momsen to talk about musical influences, touring, and an enduring love of sleep.

How was The Pretty Reckless formed?

I met Ben, our guitarist, through our producer Kato, and subsequently Jamie and Mark through him. It just all clicked immediately.

Who were some of your musical influences?

We all bonded over the same love of the greats of rock and roll. The Beatles, The Who, Floyd, Zeppelin, etc.

With the critical and commercial success of your album Going To Hell and the single “Heaven Knows”, did you feel more pressure working on your follow up, Who You Selling For?

We just write songs and make records. We're lucky to have a fanbase that goes with us on whatever musical journey we take. We don't let business and the industry affect our music.

What are some of your favorite tracks on the new album?

They're all like children. Equal love. "Hangman" and "Oh My God" are definitely live favorites. "The Devil's Back" is also a new direction for us live with just improvisation being the centerpiece.

On the new song “Back to the River”, you had Warren Haynes (The Allman Brothers Band) add some guitar. How did that collaboration come about?

"Back to the River" had this southern roots rock feel and was screaming for a slide solo. I think Ben said, "Let's ask Warren Haynes." We did, he said yes, and it really took the song to another level.

You’re playing numerous festivals this year across the country – any favorite places to play in particular?

Rock on the Range is a highlight. We're also excited to play some solo shows with Soundgarden. They're one of our most influential bands.

How has the response been to the new material at your shows?

These songs in particular seem to have touched fans in a much more personal way. The record is really diverse and personal. I think people really took to it and are listening to our music in a new way.

You’ve been sprinkling in a few covers during your set from time to time (Audioslave, Muse, and The White Stripes to name a few) – any new ones fans can expect during the tour?

We've kind of strayed from covers in the last few years. We don't have enough time to play all of our own songs so covers haven't been on the table

What do you enjoy doing in between shows, when you’re on the road?

Sleeping. Definitely sleeping.

Where can folks find you online?


What’s it like having your song in a game, specifically in virtual reality?

Crazy, technology moves so fast and it's a thrill to see your music in this kind of arena.

Have you tried Virtual Reality yourself? What do you think of VR as the next gaming tech?

I've tried it once, it blew my mind, it's definitely the wave of the future.

Have you played Rock Band before? What do you think of the game?

I have a couple times, it's strange to play a game that's based on what you do for a living. It's awesome.

Are you gamers? What are some of your favorite games?

I wouldn't say we're gamers, but we love video games.

Anything else you’d like to say to the Rock Band community?

Turn it up and rock it out!