The long-awaited new single by acclaimed musician and actress: Taylor Momsen, of Gossip Girl fame, and her band The Pretty Reckless is finally dropping to great anticipation.
The twelve-year journey of this band has propelled them from small gigs, to number one hits, gold plaques, huge world stages, and a trajectory we have not seen in other bands in this era of Rock and Roll. Born in 2008 NYC, the band’s debut album was Light Me Up in 2010. By their third album in 2016, Who You Selling For, they rocked their first four singles to #1, becoming the first band to do so, according to Billboard. Band members: Ben Phillips, Jamie Perkins, Mark Damon, and, of course, Taylor Momsen on lead vocals.
This new single, “Death by Rock and Roll” is a work born of deep loss, grief, and subsequent downward spirals when the band lost their touring partner and friend, Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell to suicide in 2017. Months later, their producer since the band’s 2008 beginnings, Kato Khandwala passed away, as well, due to a motorcycle accident. The music faded away and was replaced with understandable deep depression and substance abuse. Arising from those miserable depths, Momsen and the band took a healing turn back to music and the studio in late 2018, and have written an anthem that takes death by the hand through reflective and pensive lyrics and sounds, that ends with powerful screaming of claims that are so empowering, you have to join in, as well.
Taylor Momsen: “This is the first single off the new album, obviously it’s called ‘Death By Rock N Roll.’ It was a longtime in the making of the song. It’s a rock and roll anthem. It’s our battle cry for living life your own way, going out your way, living life in rock and roll: in which to me, rock and roll represents freedom and the song kind of really encompasses that. We had a very hard the past few years, we lost a lot of friends and idols and all that crap, which I won’t get into right now, but that kind of led to ‘Death By Rock N Roll’ being the phrase and song that got me back into writing and into the studio with really having a vision for the new record. It’s a battle cry for living life your own way, going out your way, no one can tell me how to live my life, no one can tell me how I’m going to die, I’m going to live and die by my own rules, and that’s the song, and that’s the start of the new record.
Taylor also spoke about the rock and roll music industry and issues of gender in a way, women do not often speak.
Taylor Momsen: “I’ve never looked at myself as a female artist. I’ve never identified myself as that. I mean, yes, I’m female, and yes, I’m an artist, but I never put those two together as something. To me, great music is great music, great artists are great artists. It doesn’t matter their gender. I get asked that all the time in interviews and there’s some sort of stigma or something put on it, but the way I see it, is it really comes down to, is it really a good song. Like, all my idols growing up, and still, they’re all men. And that’s not because they’re men, or because they’re not women, it’s not because of anything other than just because I love those records and that’s who I grew up idolizing. From Chris Cornell to John Lennon and the list goes on and on.”
Taylor Momsen: “I think that this album, in a lot of ways, I almost look at this record like it’s our first record, in the sense that we went through a lot, and it took a lot to make this, and it very much feels like a re-birth for us. This record it full-on just encompasses rock and roll from every end of the spectrum, obviously, you haven’t heard the whole album. ‘Death By Rock and Roll’ is just the start and the kind of taste of it, but it really covers the spectrum of rock and roll, at least where I would like to see rock and roll again now. I‘d like to see it shoved into the forefront of the industry again, especially in hard times. In times we’re in right now, rock and roll is salvation, rock and roll is freedom, it represents such a powerful… it’s just such a powerful art form. It has been for years. It’s never really been the “mainstream”. Rock and roll has always been on the outskirts, but when it connects with people, and when it hits, when people get it, and it connects deep down, in a way a lot of other music might not. There’s layers to it, there’s a lot of depth.”
As Momsen sings “On my tombstone when I go, just put, ‘Death By Rock and Roll’, it’s not surprising that this single and forthcoming album will be released on the band’s new record label, Fearless Records, as they themselves have proved to be, indeed, fearless.