The Pretty Reckless’ Hits NYC’s Alternative Rock Scene

Stephanie Bajzik

As an American alternative rock band that emerged from the New York City post grunge scene, you may or may not recognize Taylor Momsen, lead singer of The Pretty Reckless. Gossip Girl actress and former child star known for her role as little Cindy Lou in Jim Carey’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the singer and rhythm guitarist collaborated with numerous producers prior to her initial meeting with Kato Khandwala. Momsen has noted in interviews that Khandwala impressed her as a rock producer since it contrasted her previous encounters with pop music producers. The successful rock music producer subsequently introduced Taylor Momsen to her soon-to-be lead guitar and backup vocalist, Ben Phillips and it wasn’t long before the trio began writing songs together.



Origins of The Pretty Reckless

Initially dubbed The Reckless, the band was forced to alter the moniker due to trademark issues. Though their first concert was held at NYC’s The Annex in May of 2009, seven concerts later the band’s lineup changed. The new lineup featured John Secolo on guitar, Matt Chiarelli on ass and Nick Carbone on drums along with Momsen. Oddly enough, the first show for this updated lineup was also at The Annex in June of ’09. After recording some demos early that year, they ultimately opened up for The Veronicas on the North American tour. When Secolo, Chiarelli and Carbone left the band in 2010, former bandmates of Famous from the early 2000’s, Ben Phillips came in as lead guitar, Mark Damon began playing bass and Jamie Perkins took up drums.

Band Influences

In an interview with OK! Magazine, Taylor Momsen revealed that the band had signed with Interscope Records. Their debut album was released in 2010 with reported influences that included The Beatles, Oasis and Nirvana. Lead singer, Momsen divulged to QTV that her own personal influences comprise of Kurt Cobain and Joan Jett. The band’s 2009 hit “Make Me Wanna Die” was featured on the soundtrack of the 2010 movie Kick-Ass while also appearing in the film’s end credits. This was the first single for The Pretty Reckless launching their success and later performances throughout the Vans Warped Tour 2010 Kick-Off Party, The Bamboozle music fest and the Warped Tour 2010.

Commercial Success

With the release of Going to *** in March of 2014, the band marked their largest sales week which landed them at #5 on the Billboard 200 chart. Selling over 35k copies in the first week, The Pretty Reckless became the first band fronted by a woman to achieve number on a rock radio chart with their first hit singles “Heaven Knows” and “Fucked Up World.” To the pleasure of thousands of devoted fans, the band did confirm they’ve started working on new material for an upcoming album back in September of last year. Lead singer and rhythm guitarist, Taylor Momsen won the Kerrang Awards Hottest Female in 2014 and over the course of that same year, the band won New Artist of the Year during the RadioContraband Awards.