ROP’s EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW With Taylor Momsen and Mark Damon of The Pretty Reckless

On Saturday, The Pretty Reckless rocked the house at TLA on their Going To Hell Tour.  The Pretty Reckless has been recently gaining followers by storm with the release of their hit album Going To Hell and the rise in popularity through social media.  The lights went down, and as the screams got loud, the entire crowd knew it was about to get crazy.  “Follow Me Down,” the first track off their latest album was up first.  Taylor Momsen’s growl at the start energized with the howling guitar played by Ben Phillips. There’s nothing like going to a rock show where the audience and the performers sync in energy and feed off each other.  The night was just that with the band feeling the music each in their own way.

The Pretty Reckless played some of their older songs towards the middle of their show, such as “My Medicine” and “Zombie.”  Fans sang every word along as Momsen writhed on stage to the ferocious guitar riffs.  The energy throughout the show was very intense, and everyone was there to rock out.

Momsen came out on stage in flannel and sat down for “Just Tonight.”  There was so much passion heard and seen, and it was obvious the crowd felt it too while they shouted encouragement.  “Heaven Knows” was greeted by strong approval with fists in the air.  At the end of the show, Momsen announced “ladies and gentlemen, we are going to Hell.” The crowd roared on, and from there they went straight into “Going To Hell” for a strong finish.

Fans ranging from young children to older rock and roll veterans lined up hours before the show to guarantee the best spot in the house.  Rock On Philly had the chance to check up with lead vocal and rock goddess Taylor Momsen and bassist Mark Damon after TPR’s sound check to get to know the band a little better.

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Rock On Philly (ROP): As The Pretty Reckless, you guys have been a solid band for about how long?

Taylor Momsen (TM): We’ve been a band for 6 years now. Our first record came out in 2010 but we’ve been playing together before that. I met our producer Kato and he introduced me to Ben.  Mark and Jamie were playing in a band together at the time and I essentially stole their band, called it a new band, and made a new record and became The Pretty Reckless.

ROP: Taylor, you first got noticed as an actress and the trajectory usually for actors/actresses going in the music industry is straight to pop. What directed you to go to rock?

TM: It definitely wasn’t a musical choice.  I write songs and it happens to be in the genre. This is what I love and what I write. I grew up on my dad’s vinyl collection; Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, Pearl Jam.  So, it’s definitely embedded into my life at a young age.

Mark Damon (MD): They’re the best bands.  Both nod heavily in agreement

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ROP: How did you guys feel with fit of the Warped Tour lineup in 2010? Did you feel like you fit in?

TM: That was the first tour we did and we actually totally didn’t fit in with the tour and it was definitely interesting and a good learning experience to build our chops up.  The audience was just not our audience.  Laughs.  We still became a really solid unit because we played everyday.  There’s nothing better than rolling out of bed at 9am and running to play a show.  That’s how Warped Tour is, you don’t know what time you’re playing until the day of the show.  There were days where I just literally sing on stage in my pajamas.

Taylor Momsen performs at Vans Warped Tour on June 27, 2010 at Ventura County Fairgrounds in Ventura (Source: PacificCoastNews.com)

Taylor Momsen performs at Vans Warped Tour on
June 27, 2010 at Ventura County Fairgrounds in Ventura (Source: PacificCoastNews.com)

ROP: It looks like you guys have been touring consistently for the past couple of years so how did you find the time to record the new album?

TM: We were touring in the middle of recording and we had a couple of unplanned breaks.  Hurricane Sandy came and ripped apart our studio and that put a big lull in the recording process.  Our producer’s wife also passed away unexpectedly, which also put a giant damper on everything so, it took a lot longer to make this record than anticipated.  There’s a lot of pain and hard work put into it that you can hear in the songs.

ROP: Your new album has a lot of religious references. Where did that stem from?

TM: The blues.  I think heaven and hell is a metaphor that’s been used since the beginning of time.  I think some people are taking it a little too literally.  It’s all metaphorical.  I grew up Catholic so, it’s also a part of my vernacular so it comes out.  Like “Highway to Hell.”

ROP: In your crazy four years of touring, what’s the craziest thing that’s happened?

TM: So many things.  We’ve had gun fights outside of a show in China, we had fans attacking me and got my hair ripped out…

MD: It’s interesting because the craziest things that happen on the road actually never get told.

TM: Yeah we stick to the “what happens on the road stays on the road.”

MD: We had a guy who was well-versed in some kind of kung fu and he took out nine security guards by himself.

TM: Yeah, he was a little guy who was just trying to get to our bus.  And I was like “Dude, you just took out nine guys, I’ll sign something.”

ROP: Where have you guys played in Philly before?

TM: We’ve played here [TLA] a couple times. Here was the last place we played, too.

MD: We eat your food.  It’s awesome.  We’ve also played World Cafe Live.  It’s a very musical city and it doesn’t get promoted like that.

TM: Coming from LA, you think it’s the center of music because of the Strip.  When you move away from huge cities like LA and play shows at other cities, the audience is immediately more excited because they’re getting something they’re not getting on a daily basis.

ROP: We’re working on that!

 

The Pretty Reckless is hard to forget once you listen to them. Follow them on social media to check out their tour schedule and stay up to date on their latest releases!

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