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The Pretty Reckless

A swaggering outfit influenced by rock, post-grunge, and metal, the Pretty Reckless is the main musical vehicle for lead singer and actress Taylor Momsen. Emerging in 2010 out of Momsen's success as a star on the hit TV series Gossip Girl, the band grabbed fans with their glammy, trad-rock sound, inspired by bands like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Hole, and the Runaways. Following some early chart success, the group broke through with 2014's Going to Hell, hitting number five on the Billboard 200 and topping the mainstream rock charts with the song "Messed Up World (F'd Up World)." They have continued to build a loyal fan base, touring often and scoring more mainstream rock hits like "Take Me Down" (from 2016's Who You Selling For), as well as the title track off 2021's Death by Rock and Roll. The latter was followed a year later by a companion release called Other Worlds. Born in 1993 in St. Louis, Missouri, Momsen grew up acting and modeling from a young age and initially rose to fame while still in her teens starring on the popular CW TV drama Gossip Girl. While acting was a main focus, she had been raised listening to her parent's classic rock albums and long harbored a love of singing. She formed the Reckless in 2009, later changing the band's name to the Pretty Reckless to avoid trademark problems. With Momsen on vocals, John Secolo on guitar, Matt Chiarelli on bass, and Nick Carbone on drums, the group began finding a balance between classic hard rock and more contemporary post-grunge. They worked quickly, playing some initial shows in New York City before landing an opening slot on the Veronicas' North American tour several months later. The tour went well, and Interscope Records signed the band before the year was up. The Pretty Reckless completely revised their lineup in 2010, with Momsen retaining her frontwoman role as guitarist Ben Phillips, bassist Mark Damon, and drummer Jamie Perkins all replaced her previous bandmates. After spending several months in the studio, the group released their first single, "Make Me Wanna Die," on the Kick-Ass soundtrack. The band's first album, Light Me Up, saw release in Europe and Australia in late summer of 2010 and the record rolled out in North America in 2011. The Pretty Reckless toured steadily behind Light Me Up, releasing the Hit Me Like a Man EP in March 2012. A year later, the group's second full-length album, Going to Hell, appeared. Going to Hell performed better than their first LP, debuting at number five on Billboard's Top 200, partially on the strength of the mainstream rock hits "Heaven Knows," "Messed Up World," and "Follow Me Down." The album also went to number eight in the U.K. Two years later, the Pretty Reckless returned with their third album, the Kato Khandwala-produced Who You Selling For. Buoyed by the number one mainstream rock single "Take Me Down," the set reached number 13 on the Billboard 200 and spawned several more singles with "Oh My God" and "Back to the River." The band toured for the album, eventually joining Soundgarden as an opening act. They were with Soundgarden for the group's last performance with singer Chris Cornell on May 17, 2017, at Detroit's Fox Theatre the night before his death. By November 2019, Momsen and the Pretty Reckless were back in the studio, working on tracks with Pearl Jam and Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron. They eventually signed with Fearless Records and in February 2021 released their fourth full-length, Death by Rock and Roll. The title-track single debuted on top of the Billboard Mainstream Rock Airplay chart and was followed by "And So It Went," which landed at number 12 and featured Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello. The album itself hit number 28 on the Billboard 200 and was followed in October 2022 by Other Worlds, a collection of covers, remixes, and alternate version of songs from Death by Rock and Roll.
© Andrew Leahey & Matt Collar /TiVo
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