“Rock & roll needs to make a resurgence,” insists Taylor Momsen, speaking to her belief that the genre has slipped from the mainstream. “It needs to come back in a big way and take over again.” The 20-year-old singer, whose band the Pretty Reckless broke out in 2010 with their alt-rock debut Light Me Up, says she’s fully prepared to hold up her end of the bargain. “We’re really trying to come to something unique and different,” she tells Rolling Stone of Going to Hell, the band’s forthcoming second album, due out in early 2014 on Razor and Tie.
The album has certainly had its share of false starts. Last fall, while the band was recording it at Water Music Studios in Hoboken, New Jersey, Hurricane Sandy ravaged the studio. The storm wiped out the majority of the band’s gear as well as a slew of demos and near-completed recordings for their new album. “We had to rebuild,” Momsen recalls. The band did eventually return to Water Music, where they wrapped Going to Hell this past July.
The album’s title track and lead single, released last week, references the devastation in a hard-charging, riff-heavy blitzkrieg. Momsen wrote it during the band’s downtime as they struggled to regain their footing. “Out of tragedy came that song,” she says. “It pretty much summed everything up [about the album].”
Momsen first came to prominence as a teenager when she played the quick-witted, drug-dealing Jenny Humphrey on Gossip Girl. At the time, she was pulling double-duty: she’d regularly bounce back and forth between set and studio when recording Light Me Up. After leaving the show, she turned her attention solely to music. “It’s definitely been nice to completely focus all my attention on the music itself and not have to go to another day job,” she says.
Last week, the Pretty Reckless kicked off their 39-city “Going to Hell” tour in Huntington, New York, and they expect to remain on the road for much of 2014. “It’s definitely diverse musically and production-wise,” Momsen adds of Going to Hell. “The songs dictated everything.”