INTERVIEW: The Pretty Reckless talks new single, touring the festival circuit and the band’s journey!

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“Yeah she is much younger then us but she has a real old soul, the talent is really undeniable.” Bass player, Mark Damon, of The Pretty Reckless speaks very highly of his frontwoman, Taylor Momsen, and I’m sure she speaks the same of him. It’s clear the chemistry of this band when you see them live, which is strangely something I didn’t do until about a few weeks ago when the band was here in Boston for a rescheduled show since sickness across the band kept the band from performing their last Boston date.

It was pretty perfect timing since their latest single just dropped, “Back to the River”, which features a Mr. Warren Haynes and a great southern rock vibe. Mark and I talked everything new single, their current run of shows and interestingly enough, how the pieces came together to elevate The Pretty Reckless’s sound. Find our interview below and find them all over the festival circuit this summer!

Obviously the band has been on the road since earlier last week and you have a bunch of festivals coming up. You’re playing Carolina Rebellion this weekend. How have these shows been going with the record still relatively new?
Oh the shows have been going great actually. The audiences have been really responsive. It’s nice to see more people even since our last touring. A little bigger crowds, more diverse crowds. We range from twelve year old kids to now 60, 70 year old people in the crowd and everyone’s into it so to see it is an amazing accomplishment. What we’ve been doing is paying off.

Then the band just announced the newest single, “Back to the River”, with obviously Warren Haynes of Govt Mule. Maybe how did this collaboration kind of come about for this song?
Well, we were doing the song, we’ve been playing it and obviously it has this southern rock vibe to it. We were all sitting in the studio thinking it needed a slide solo. We were like well who’s the most bad ass slide guitarist out there and it was like well, of course, Warren Haynes. Who else are you going to call besides like Derek Trucks who played with The Allman Brothers band. We had a friend that knew Warren and contacted him. He heard the track, said he would be down to play on it. He laid down some solo stuff, sent it back to us and it just elevated the track to a whole other level. It was just amazing to hear what he did on it and the level of artistry he brought to it was just amazing. It really blew my mind.

And for those that have been fans of the band, are familiar with this band, it may come off as a little bit of a surprise, something different. How did you as a band go about the writing for this song?
The writing for the track? You know, that’s all Ben and Taylor and you’d have to ask them. They’re the writing team. What I know about it is that we were sitting on the tour bus on the last “Going to Hell” tour, they broke out this bit that they had been working on for a little bit and we all went, yup that’s awesome. We were like keep working on that it’s awesome. Just this like kitschy vibe and familiarity to it. It really spoke to all of us, all in our roots. We all love The Allman Brothers, we all love southern rock, we all love the blues vibes and this song just had all that. It was really cool to all of us when they were working on it.

Then I know that the band as it is now, it’s been the line up since the beginning of The Pretty Reckless but the three gentlemen did work together in the past. Maybe something you left behind or something you maybe brought from your previous band for The Pretty Reckless?
Oh yeah well Brendan, Jamie and I played together in a band for a lot of years and I’ve known those guys for a lot more years. Our old work is pretty much a natural progression into becoming The Pretty Reckless. We all just fit together personally, musically, the same influences, more attitude. Yeah she is much younger then us but she has a real old soul, the talent is really undeniable. So pretty much we brought a maturity and a confidence of all playing together and knowing how each other plays, how we interact on a subconscious musical level and what Taylor did is she just went right into that and was just really natural. We kind of all came out of the gate with a certain level of maturity and musicality that built on the band and the musicianship that we had before together. Jamie and I a lot of times would just be jamming and would use the same riff together or we’ll stop at the same time and we’ll look at each other just sort of like being like we have musical telepathy. Something unspoken that only comes from playing together for years and years and years.

Then you previously mentioned how Ben and Taylor are kind of the writing machine but the last record only coming out in October, is that still a while in the making for the band, new music, or is it something that you’re working on right now?
Well when we’re on the road, the two of them will jot down ideas and maybe I’ll come up with a thing or two but it’s really hard to write on the road. They really need the seclusion and the quiet to work on ideas. Float things around and inspiration coming and on the road there’s eleven or twelve people on the tour bus. There is no space, there is no quiet. Not the space to get into your own head, to really spend time working on songs or trying to channel inspiration or do art. Very much a daily grind. Get up to the show, get back to the bus, drive to the next one, do the show. There’s not a lot of down time to get into your own head so it’s hard for them to write on the road but they wrote three albums. They’ll come up with an idea at soundcheck and we’ll work on it or they’ll jot down some notes at the end of the night but the real writing time needs to be done off the road. In the quietness, away from all the craziness of touring.

Yeah exactly. Then obviously before you have that quiet time, you guys have quite the booked summer. Going overseas for festivals and tons of festivals here. Maybe a highlight for you or maybe something you’re most looking forward to? Like a certain festival or playing in a certain country?
Oh jeez, tons of highlights coming up. Obviously, right now we’re opening for Soundgarden for some shows which is a dream come true for all of us. We’re huge fans. Hugely inspiration for us. We’re doing Lollapalooza in Chicago again which we did years ago on a side stage so we’re excited to get back there. Reading and Leeds in the UK which is another huge goal for us. Kind of another bucket list moment and then the other one that is coming to mind right now is Rock in Rio in Brazil coming up in September. Again, another huge bucket list kind of show for us. So it’s shaping up to be an amazing end of this year as well. We’re really fortunate to be doing what we’re doing and have the support of the fans and radio and everybody like you guys to help us keep doing what we’re doing. Meet some more people and do some amazing things.

About Author


Colleen has been writing about music since 2009. Interviewing bands since the glory days of Warped and has continued to do so for now over fourteen years. As well as doing freelance for other publications, the love for everything rock continues today.