During a recent conversation via Interview, The Pretty Reckless singer Taylor Momsen and that of Shinedown singer Brent Smith had a conversation that involved the passing of the late Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell. Momsen really looked up to Cornell and his passing was devastating for her.
Specifically, The Pretty Reckless singer speaks to how, along with the passing of a very close friend, she “spiraled real fast,” and ended up struggling with depression and substance abuse.
Momsen goes into the struggles and pain she felt with the news of Cornell’s passing when Smith asks her about the band’s new album, Death by Rock and Roll. Per Momsen:
“I don’t want to get too heavy, but there’s kind of no way to talk about it without going into the losses that we experienced. We lost a lot of people very close to us. We were on tour with Soundgarden, which was such a peak for me. I’m the biggest Soundgarden fan in the world. Chris Cornell passed away on the night of our last show. That was crushing to me. I was not mentally prepared to handle that, and it really took me down. We were in the middle of a tour, and I very quickly realized that I couldn’t get on stage every night and be okay. I couldn’t fake it. So I canceled the tour and went home. Then, I learned that our producer Kato, my best friend in the whole world and practically a member of the band, died in a motorcycle accident. That was the nail in the coffin for me. I spiraled real fast: depression, substance abuse. I fell into this hole that I couldn’t get out of—I didn’t even know if I wanted to. I finally got to a place where I felt like I really needed music again—I was depriving myself of it during that time, and I’d never done that.”
Smith then asks Momsen how she went about re-introducing music back into her life. This is what The Pretty Reckless singer had to say:
I started from the beginning. I asked myself why I fell in love with music, where did it start? I went through all the bands I grew up loving, and was even able to eventually listen to Soundgarden again, and have it bring me joy. This record was very different than our previous albums, because it almost felt like a first record. It has that unbridled inspiration that you’re always striving for. This record is an homage to those loved and lost, and it’s very hopeful. It captures the arc of grief—at the end, it does get better. The phrase ‘Death by Rock and Roll,’ is very important, because it was something Kato used to say, and a motto that we lived our lives by. We had a recording of Kato’s footsteps, and the record begins with that sound. We play that every show, like he’s walking onstage with us.”
It’s horrible that Momsen had to go through such hell, but we are glad that she was able to work through that pain and return to a much better place.
A source to look into if you or someone you care about is struggling with substance abuse is Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Dial 1-800-622-HELP (1-800-622-4357) or send a text message to 1-800-487-4889.
Words by: Michael Pementel