How We Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Pretty Reckless!


As someone who proactively seeks out new music with the same ferocity as I did as a teenager, I often find myself conversing with current teenagers to find out what music is blowing their minds.  So when a couple kids who seemed to place proper emphasis on street cred and paying one's dues mentioned The Pretty Reckless, I was intrigued.

Then they mentioned that Taylor Momsen was the band's singer and that she was bad-ass.  Wait, are there TWO Taylor Momsens because the only one I know is from the latest crop of bottle blonde Disneylodean princesses who can't leave the house without forgetting their underwear.  Anybody catch the infamous "tampon string pic"?

No, they replied, she and the band were together a whole year before they got signed to Interscope.  They were the real deal.

Okay, back it up there, how does being together a WHOLE year make them the real deal?  By L.A. standards, that equates to, what, ten gigs?  Dollars to donuts every last one of those gigs was a swanky "private" event sponsored by John Varvatos or some shit.   Posing with Gregg Allman's debutante daughter after the show for a pic that ends up in the society pages was probably the toughest it got.

Nothing at all like the year a REAL band would have in the same city, slugging it out on a scene literally littered with bands.  I mean, you might think there are a fuckload of bands here in Chitown, but multiply that times ten and that's still not even close to the number of bands blocking out the sun on the L.A. scene.  I mean, nobody moves to Chicago to get famous.



So when I noticed a promo copy of the new Pretty Reckless album Going To Hell on my desk, I wasn't in any hurry to listen, until I saw some PR nonsense that compared them to Blondie.

Aw, hell no.

Are you telling me that all that remains of the vibrant, gritty, envelope-pushing aesthetic of a band like Blondie has been whittled down to "blonde chick singer with model good looks singing for a rock band". How much longer before CBGB's franchises become the new Margaritaville?  Art these days is getting your song in a perfume commercial.

So I listened and, aside from thinking this must be what happens when you leave the Avril Lavigne plug-in on your Pro Tools rig running overnight, I kinda got over giving a damn.  I mean, there is only ever gonna be one Debbie Harry, or Joan Jett, or Chrissie Hynde...these new girls are dancing to a whole new drum, so let's just watch 'em take their clothes off.

For a band to play at the major level, it only makes sense that every would-be rocker chick must first dance with the Disney devil. And maybe these poor gals are just paying their dues on "Hailey Takes On The World" or whatever show the tykes are being fed this year, biting their tongues and plotting the moment they get to do what they want.

Nah, it's still a total sell-out.

And THAT is what Going To Hell is all about.  These kids have no idea how the music industry used to be. They showcase at the Whisky or the Troubadour and have absolutely no idea of the stories those walls could tell.  All they know is what they've seen or heard from one of the eighteen TV's left on in the house, not anything they ever went in search of it. If it's on when they wake up, they watch a few seconds before checking their texts.

So now I'm having conversations with kids who proclaim to love the Doors, but couldn't pick Jim Morrison out of a line-up.  No, Josh, that's Val Kilmer.  But is any of that really important?  Do we need to know who was in the band, or who wrote what song, or what label put it out?  Today's human just want to hear the fucking song in the shower!

As a result, being in a rock band is like putting on a shirt.  You wear it, you toss it aside.  You don't dedicate your whole life to it.  The world is just moving too damn fast to waste two years paying dues in shithole clubs just to have a back story.

Can you imagine being a musically-inclined child in today's world?  Holy shit, talk about a desolate landscape.  But if they don't KNOW that it's a shambles, then just let them find their way.

Who knows, maybe they're already building something on top of the remains and we just can't see it yet.
And then I hear from a producer buddy of mine that Going To Hell started out as a country album.

Well, of course, it did.  I know, right?  #Whatevs!

In all seriousness, Going To Hell is a great rock & roll album, lest we forget that rock has always been about going a little crazy and pissing off the older set.  In that sense, all hail The Pretty Reckless!

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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