Taylor Momsen: Losing Musical Idols Like Losing Part of Yourself

By now, most of the Pretty Reckless‘ fans probably know about all of the turmoil that the band has faced over the last several years. But even those who don’t know can simply hear it on their latest album Death By Rock and RollWe recently spoke with frontwoman Taylor Momsen about some of those events, and she discussed why losing your musical heroes is so traumatic.

It all started when the band was opening for Soundgarden on their spring headlining tour in 2017. Chris Cornell died after the last show they played together in Detroit, and Momsen was the last member of her crew to find out the news the next day.

“This band formed over the love of two bands. It formed over the love of the Beatles and Soundgarden. To be that close in proximity and opening for Soundgarden was just the highest of highs. I couldn’t believe it, we were just elated to be there. ” she said.

“And to have it end so tragically, that added a kind of shock. We were right there, we were there that night, I talked to Chris Cornell. I gave him a hug, I watched him leave the venue.”

The singer doesn’t exactly know why losing your idols hurts as badly as it does, but she thinks it has to do with the connection you make to their music.

“I think that music has such a power to it that even if you don’t know someone extraordinarily well personally, when you’ve related to their music and you’ve listened to those records throughout your whole life ad nauseam, it feels like a part of you,” she explained. “So I feel like losing someone like that… you feel like you’re losing a piece of yourself, in a way.”

Momsen did point out that while the death of a beloved musician is painful, those people leave behind legacies of music that are eternal. She says that she hopes when she’s no longer here herself, she’s remembered for the music she’s shared with the world.

To hear more about the hardships that shaped Death By Rock and Roll, watch our full interview with Momsen at the top of the page.

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Pretty Reckless’ Collaboration With Soundgarden Is Grunge Bliss

Taylor Momsen has been teasing the Pretty Reckless‘ collaboration with members of Soundgarden for quite a while now, calling it a “five-minute epic” — and she’s right. “Only Love Can Save Me Now” is incredible, and since Death By Rock and Roll is out today (Feb. 12), you can finally hear it.

The Pretty Reckless were the opening band on Soundgarden’s 2017 spring tour, which would be Chris Cornell‘s last, but the ties go back way further. Momsen often cites the Beatles and Soundgarden as the common ground she shares with her bandmates in terms of influences.

Momsen was invited to perform with the surviving members of Soundgarden in 2019 at the “I Am the Highway” Cornell tribute show, where she formed an even closer bond with them. Later that year, the singer posted photographs with both Matt Cameron and Kim Thayil from the legendary London Bridge Studio in Seattle, where Soundgarden recorded their sophomore album Louder Than Love. At that point, it was obvious they were working on something together.

Shortly after the release of the single “Death By Rock and Roll” in the spring of 2020, Momsen confirmed that there was going to be a song on the new record that featured Thayil and Cameron.

“When I wrote it, I called Matt and I called Kim and I sent them the demo and I went, ‘Guys — would you guys be interested in playing on this? Because if you don’t, it’s just gonna sound like we’re ripping you guys off,'” the frontwoman said on the Spotify podcast Rock This With Allison Hagendorf.

“It has this very kind of Soundgarden-esque feel to it, and I really wanted their voice to be a part of it. Because it just wouldn’t be the same without ’em, and man, was I correct,” she teased.

For Soundgarden fans who have been longing to hear Thayil and Cameron play together on something new, “Only Love Can Save Me Now” will be beyond satiating. Odd time signatures, Thayil’s distinctly deep and sludgy guitar tone and Cameron’s thunderous percussion rounds out the Soundgarden feel completely.

Then Momsen starts singing and you are quickly reminded you aren’t actually listening to a Soundgarden song, though the airy effect on her vocals is reminiscent of the Badmotorfinger song “Searching With My Good Eye Closed.”

And that solo from Thayil? Wow.

This is the Pretty Reckless, playing with their heroes and simultaneously paying the ultimate homage to their legacy. And though he’s no longer with us, we know Cornell would love it.

Listen to the song and read its lyrics below, as well as the rest of their brand new studio album, Death By Rock and Roll, underneath

The Pretty Reckless – “Only Love Can Save Me Now”

“Only Love Can Save Me Now” Lyrics

Heaven’s falling out of the sky
Sends a message to you and I
See people crawling out of their trees
Chained to sickness, the dogs are free

I wanna be saved
I wanna be saved

From the sound, the sound
The world is spitting out
Only love can save me now
Gone so down, lost is all I found
Only love, love, love can save me now

Drowning madly in deep blue seas
Waves of sadness swallow me
No soul can hear me beneath the weight
No gods or saviors, no hands of fate

I wanna be saved
I wanna be saved

From the sound, the sound
The world is spitting out
Only love can save me now
Gone so down, lost is all I found
Only love, love, love can save me now

I wanna be saved
I wanna be saved
I wanna be saved
I wanna be saved

From the sound, the sound
The world is spitting out
Only love can save me now
Gone so down, lost is all I found
Only love, love, love can save me now

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Taylor Momsen: Throw Out Gender Bias When Judging Music

When you listen to music, does gender play a role in your enjoyment of a song? In a new chat with the Forty-Five, The Pretty RecklessTaylor Momsen shares her thoughts on the matter, simply stating that good music is good music.

The vocalist states, “My idols were men, and it’s not because they were men; it’s just because they wrote the best songs. I grew up worshipping John Lennon and The Beatles, and Chris Cornell and Soundgarden – it’s not because of what was going on in their pants, it’s because I connected to what they were saying and what they were emoting.”

She then adds, “You should judge music simply on what’s the best song/who’s the best singer. That should have nothing to do with your sex or gender… Good people are good people, and good musicians are good musicians — it’s as basic as that.”

Within the same discussion, she speaks about misogyny within the rock world, commenting, “I’ve certainly had my fair share of fucked-up encounters, but I wouldn’t generalize it as ‘that’s the way it is.'”

She goes on to say, “People have been telling me for years that there is misogyny and sexism in music. I think the older I’ve gotten, the more I can look back on certain situations… Maybe someone said something to me that I took as a compliment at the time, and I look back and realize that it was a misogynistic comment that wouldn’t be considered PC now, but I never felt that in an aggressive way.” But, as Momsen mimicked Bob Dylan, the times they are a-changing.

Momsen and The Pretty Reckless will soon return with a new album. Death by Rock and Roll is due Feb. 12 and pre-orders are available here (As Amazon affiliates, we earn on qualifying purchases.

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Taylor Momsen Describes Final Encounter With Chris Cornell

Taylor Momsen of the Pretty Reckless was one of the final people to see Chris Cornell the night he died in Detroit in May of 2017. Her band had just finished touring with Soundgarden, and she was luckily able to share a final goodbye with the singer.

The Pretty Reckless are just about to release their fourth studio album Death By Rock and Roll after a long, tumultuous couple of years since its predecessor Who You Selling For. It seems as if Momsen is asked about Cornell now just as much as the new album itself, but rightfully so — she was a huge fan.

The frontwoman appeared in a recent interview with radio personality Matt Pinfield for Los Angeles’ 95.5 KLOS. Pinfield was very fond of Soundgarden as well, so Momsen’s appreciation for the band and relationship with its late singer was the hot topic of the conversation.

Momsen’s first time meeting Cornell was a few years prior to Soundgarden’s 2017 spring headlining tour, which the Pretty Reckless were chosen as the opening act for. But the first time the two singers had a real conversation was during that run of shows. “He was so great, he was just the kindest person, kindest soul and getting to even just share a few moments in his presence was insane,” she said.

The Detroit show on May 17 was the Pretty Reckless’ final night on tour with Soundgarden.

“[Chris] tended to leave right after the show, so I was kind of waiting by the back door knowing that it was the last night of tour, and I wanted to thank him for everything and say whatever I was gonna say,” she recalled. “And I did, I caught him as he was walking out. We had a nice little discussion, I gave him a big hug, a ‘Let’s do it again sometime,’ and we continued on with the night.”

The Soundgarden frontman was found unresponsive in his hotel room later that night.

“The next morning I woke up to the news of just… crushing. I was in disbelief, I guess is the right word. I was convinced that everyone was lying to me and that it was some awful joke. And it was not,” she explained. “That was kind of the start of a bit of a downward spiral for me where I was not emotionally prepared to kind of handle that kind of trauma and that kind of shock.”

As a result, the Pretty Reckless played a couple of more shows before taking a break from touring.

Fast forward a couple of years, and the Pretty Reckless now have a great relationship with the surviving members of Soundgarden. Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron actually play on the track “Only Love Can Save Me Now,” which is featured on the upcoming Death By Rock and Roll, out Feb. 12.

Watch the full interview below.

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