The deaths of Chris Cornell and producer Kato Khandwala inspired the music on The Pretty Reckless’ dark new album, Death By Rock And Roll.
The band was touring with Cornell and Soundgarden when the singer took his own life in a Detroit, Michigan hotel room in 2017, and The Pretty Reckless’ Taylor Momsen admits the tragedy was still heavy on her heart when she started writing songs for the new release.
“It hit me extraordinarily hard,” Momsen tells Iowa radio station Lazer 103.3. “Getting that tour, I’m such a massive Soundgarden fan, that was the highest of the highs for all of us, and it obviously ended not ideally.
“I had to take a step back and we cancelled touring. I wasn’t in a good place to be public, so I went home to kind of reflect on what had happened and try to process. And then I started writing again, and very soon after that, I got the call that Kato, my best friend and our producer, had passed in a motorcycle accident. And that was kind of a nail in the coffin for me at that moment in time.”
Momsen sunk into a depression, and admits if it wasn’t for her band she wouldn’t have come out of it.
“Music saved my life again,” she explains. “I delved into music, and that’s what really pulled me out of it. And this record is really the culmination of all of that. So it’s all there in the record.
“I kind of took a jump. I had written some stuff that I really liked, and that was the first hint of, ‘OK, I’ve gotta start doing something again.’ And that in itself was a process. It was the first record that we did without Kato. We worked with a guy named Jonathan Wyman, who’s a longtime friend of mine and the band’s – a great engineer, a great friend, a great producer. And it’s the first record we actually co-produced. He was a lifesaver in this scenario.
“I’d say this record is like a rebirth for us. In one way, it feels like the first record in the sense that we really threw everything – physically, mentally – everything we had at it and in it. And now it’s finished, and now I’m excited for people to hear it. Making the record was a part of the healing process.”
Death By Rock And Roll will drop later this year.