AC/DC just announced a devastating news…..

“I want rock and roll to continue to exist,” says Taylor Momsen, whose Pretty Reckless are currently touring with AC/DC.

In the same week as AC/DC and the Rolling Stones? It sounds like a pleasant few days.
The Pretty Reckless, led by rhythm guitarist and former model/actress Taylor Momsen, came to life in 2009 in New York City. The quartet pushed the boundaries of alt.rock with their highly regarded fourth album, 2021’s Death By Rock and Roll, adopting a more sophisticated sound. Momsen discusses the band’s current European tour as AC/DC’sguestsbelow.

When you learned that The Pretty Reckless would be opening for AC/DC, how did you react?

One of the band members was driving when he heard, and he almost crashed his car [laughs]. Here’s a great story. Last November my agent asked me about touring. We were starting to make a record, and told him no – not unless AC/DC, The Who or the Rolling Stones called. Christmas and New Year passed, and we were in the studio. Then I get a text from Neil [Warnock, the agent] that says: ‘AC/DC, plus The Pretty Reckless. All [European] shows.’ And I go: ‘Oh shit.’ So we put the record on hold, and I guess we are going on tour.

Yeah, but here’s the thing. A week ago, the Rolling Stones called too. We are playing a stadium with the Stones in Las Vegas, then flying to Germany to join a tour with AC/DC in the same week. My mind is truly blown.

AC/DC’s audiences can be pretty unforgiving of support acts. Does that bother you? 

We just get up there and do our thing. In that sense we have the same ethic as AC/DC. We’re loud – almost a bar band at the core. I can’t control how others view or perceive us, so I’m not really worried. I get to play music and then watch my favourite band every night. What’s not to love?

You quit acting for music at the age of fourteen. What was the reason? 

Being in bands and writing songs was something I’d done since before I could even remember, but finally I reached an age where I realised I could do it. It was a bit of a fight to quit my day job, but I did it and it was the best decision I ever made.

There’s probably a type of person who thinks of you as ‘playing at’ music, rather than playing it. 

Actually, I think the hate and negativity has kind of gone away. I was on a TV show that was a hit across the world [Gossip Girl], but we’ve been a band for almost sixteen years, we’ve toured the world relentlessly and made four records. To all those people who doubted us… [laughs] did I mention we are touring with AC/DC? You don’t get an AC/DC tour for being on a television show. It comes from paying your dues.

Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron from Soundgarden both guested on The Pretty Reckless’s most recent album, Death By Rock And Roll, as did Audioslave’s Tom Morello. Do these elder statesmen offer advice?

Not really. We just play music together. I don’t see music as a business. It really isn’t like that any more.

The Death By Rock And Roll album seemed to take The Pretty Reckless up several levels. 

I really like all of our records, but Death By Rock And Roll is my favourite.

Of the track Harley DarlingClassic Rock said: “If someone said this song had fallen off Neil Young’s Harvest sessions, you’d believe it.” 

That’s an amazing compliment. Thank you.

When might we hear the follow-up?

The record’s on hold, but we’ll get right back on to it when we finish this tour.

Our legendary older bands are retiring, and older heroes passing away – the latest, recently, was Dickey Betts from the Allman Brothers. 

That was devastating. We had Warren Haynes [former Allmans guitarist, now with Gov’t Mule] play on Back To The River from our record Who You Selling For [ 2016].

Do you feel a responsibility towards keeping rock’n’roll alive?

Rock’n’roll is alive, and I need it to stay that way. So if I can contribute to that, it’s what I’m going to do.

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