The Pretty Reckless is an American rock band from New York City. The current members are Taylor Momsen (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Ben Phillips (lead guitar, backing vocals), Mark Damon (bass) and Jamie Perkins (drums).
The band was formed in 2009 and released their first studio album, Light Me Up, on August 31, 2010. The album spawned three moderately successful singles, most notably, “Make Me Wanna Die”. The band released the Hit Me Like a Man EP in early 2012. These releases coincided with their second tour. In 2014, the band released their second studio album, Going to Hell that included the singles “Heaven Knows” and “Messed Up World” which topped the US and UK rock charts.
The band embarked on a worldwide tour in 2010 in support of their debut album, the Light Me Up Tour, which concluded in March 2012. They also featured as support for Marilyn Manson, Evanescence and Nickelback.
2009–12: Formation, The Pretty Reckless EP and Light Me Up
Main articles: The Pretty Reckless EP and Light Me Up
Momsen at the Warped Tour Kickoff in April 2010
For two years singer, rhythm guitarist and Gossip Girl actress Taylor Momsen worked with several producers before meeting Kato Khandwala. Momsen has said that she liked Khandwala because he was a rock producer as opposed to a pop producer. Khandwala introduced Momsen to Ben Phillips and the three of them began to write songs together. Three unnamed musicians were hired to form the band with Momsen. The band were originally called The Reckless, but had to change the name due to trademark problems. The band played its first concert on May 5, 2009 at The Annex in New York. After seven concerts the lineup of the band was changed. The new lineup of the band consisted of Momsen with John Secolo (guitar), Matt Chiarelli (bass) and Nick Carbone (drums). The second line-up of the band also played its first concert at The Annex on June 3, 2009. They recorded some demos in early 2009 and they opened for The Veronicas on their North American tour. In 2010, Secolo, Chiarelli and Carbone left the band.
At present, Momsen is the singer and rhythm guitarist, with Ben Phillips on lead guitar, Mark Damon on bass, and Jamie Perkins on drums, all of whom played in the band Famous in the early 2000s.
Momsen stated in an interview with OK! Magazine that the band signed with Interscope Records and would be releasing their debut album in 2010. In an interview with QTV, Momsen reported the influences on the band to include The Beatles and Oasis, along with grunge band Nirvana. She also stated that her personal influences include Kurt Cobain and Joan Jett. After the band announced they had signed to Interscope Records, two new recordings of demo songs (“He Loves You” and “Zombie”) were posted on their Myspace.
On December 30, 2009, the band released a new promo song entitled “Make Me Wanna Die”. The song was offered as a limited-time free download for fans on their Interscope Records website. The band launched “Make Me Wanna Die” on the soundtrack and it appeared in the end credits of the 2010 film Kick-Ass. The song was the band’s first single, and was released on May 17, 2010, with the debut album set to be released in August. On April 9, 2010, they performed during the “Vans Warped Tour 2010 Kick-Off Party” and performed at The Bamboozle music festival on May 1, 2010. They played the entire Warped Tour 2010.
Momsen on the Light Me Up Tour in April 2011
Their first EP was released on June 22, 2010, with mixed reactions. Rolling Stone magazine classified the sound as “generic”. It contained four songs, three of which can be found on their debut album: “Make Me Wanna Die”, “My Medicine”, and “Goin’ Down”. The first single “Make Me Wanna Die” was released on May 17, 2010. A viral video was released to promote the single. The full record was released on August 31, 2010.
The song “Miss Nothing” was the second single to be released from Light Me Up, on August 9, 2010. It was aired exclusively on the British radio station, BBC Radio 1, on July 22, 2010. The band introduced it as their next UK single after a show on the Warped Tour. A video for “Miss Nothing” was released on July 20 on Vevo. The US release of Light Me Up was delayed, not being released until February 2011. The first single released in the US officially was Just Tonight, which was the third single released in Australia and United Kingdom among other countries.
Momsen in July 2011
The Evanescence Tour was the third worldwide concert tour by American rock band Evanescence which their performances were supported by The Pretty Reckless. Lead singer Taylor Momsen stated she was a “big fan of Evanescence, so it’s really exciting to be opening for them”. The band opened for Evanescence at the historic Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles. Amy Lee told MTV about Momsen: “She’s got a great voice; she’s real sweet,” and laughingly said that being one of Momsen’s first concerts makes her feel “old, but very, very flattered.” Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy Tour confirmed The Pretty Reckless as opening act in the following tour dates in November 2012 
2012 saw the release of two singles from the album, “You” and “My Medicine”. Videos for both singles were released – “You” featuring Momsen in a small empty apartment playing the guitar, and “My Medicine” featuring Momsen at an out of control party as she sings about being under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Later 2012 she appeared in a video completely naked. In the video entitled “The Words – Under The Water,” Taylor appeared in a black-and-white film while saying the lyrics like reciting a poem. By the time the video ends, Taylor appears without her clothes on and her private parts blurred.
2012–13: Hit Me Like a Man EP
The Pretty Reckless at The Medicine Tour in July 2012 in Argentina
The Medicine Tour was the second headlining concert tour by The Pretty Reckless in support of their 2010 debut album Light Me Up and their 2012 extended play Hit Me Like a Man EP. The tour dates were announced on January 23, 2012 via the band’s official website. The band performed at several of the same venues they had visited the previous year, with 52 shows in North America, 5 shows in South America and 2 shows in Asia
Their second extended play Hit Me Like a Man EP was released on March 6, 2012. It featured three new songs, as well as live performances of two songs from Light Me Up. On October 6, 2012, Frankenweenie Unleashed!, a soundtrack for the 2012 film Frankenweenie, was released, the Target version of which included a new song by The Pretty Reckless called “Only You”. On December 11, The Pretty Reckless’ fourth single “Kill Me” was released. The song was featured at the end of the final episode of the series Gossip Girl.
2013–present: Going to Hell, commercial success, and Who You Selling For
On May 30, 2013, The Pretty Reckless released a teaser trailer for their second studio album Going to Hell, set for release later that year. On June 17, 2013, The Pretty Reckless released a new track titled “Follow Me Down”. On July 1, 2013, Momsen released the song “Burn”, which will also be on Going to Hell.
The song “Going to Hell” premiered on September 19, 2013. On the same day as the premier of the new track “Going to Hell”, The Pretty Reckless also announced their signing to the label Razor & Tie. On September 20, 2013, The Pretty Reckless began the Going to Hell Tour to support the album, together with groups of Heaven’s Basement and Louna. The “Going to Hell” official music video premiered on October 16, 2013 on Vevo. November 19, 2013 marked the release of first single “Heaven Knows”, which premiered on SiriusXM’s Octane on November 15, 2013. The music video appeared on February 13, 2014.
Going to Hell was released on March 18, 2014. The release marked the band’s largest sales week to date and landed at number five on the Billboard 200 with over 35,000 copies sold in its first week. Much of the inspiration for the album came from Momsen’s Catholic background, noting that “heaven and hell is a metaphor that’s been used in music since the beginning of time”.
When the singles “Heaven Knows” and “Messed Up World (F’d Up World)” topped the US Mainstream Rock Songs chart, The Pretty Reckless became the second female-fronted band to achieve two number ones in a row on the chart, following The Pretenders. 2014 also saw Momsen performing at the Revolver Magazine Golden Gods awards alongside Joan Jett and ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons. The band also performed “Heaven Knows”, “Fucked Up World”, and “Going to Hell” at the awards show.
In the beginning of September 2015, Momsen confirmed that the band was working on new material in the studio. On April 14, 2016, Momsen confirmed via Twitter that the new album was almost finished. The lead single from the band’s upcoming third studio album, “Take Me Down”, had its world premiere on iHeartRadio stations on July 14, 2016. The single was released digitally on July 15, 2016, and was serviced to US active rock radio on July 19. The band’s third studio album, Who You Selling For, will be released on October 21, 2016 by Razor & Tie.
The band opened the V Festival in the UK in 2010. The band embarked on a four-date UK tour starting in Glasgow, Scotland at the Barrowland Ballroom on December 13, 2010, supported by Francesqa.
In 2011, the band announced a tour running from early February to late March. The band appeared at the Download Festival in June. A planned performance at the Soundwave Revolution, an Australian music festival, was cancelled. During the summer, the band performed in several European festivals such as Rock Am Ring in June, Optimus Alive! on July 8 in Portugal, Rock Werchter on July 2 in Belgium, Wireless Festival on July 3, Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland on July 4 and T in the Park on July 10 in Scotland. On August 6, 2011, the band performed at the 2011 Lollapalooza festival in Chicago, Illinois. The Pretty Reckless opened several Evanescence shows in October and November with two gigs at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo in London among others. On October 8, 2011, the band performed at the 2011 Tulsa State Fair in Tulsa, Oklahoma. On October 26, 2011, the band performed at Ritual nightclub in Ottawa, Ontario, with guests Static Revolt and The Escape Mode.
In January 2012, the band released tour dates for its second headlining tour, The Medicine Tour. Directly following those tour dates, the Pretty Reckless supported Marilyn Manson on his current tour, Hey Cruel World… Tour. In July 2012, The Pretty Reckless arrived in Argentina for the first time. The band’s show was on July 29 in Buenos Aires. In September 2012, The Pretty Reckless headlined the Bazooka Rocks Festival in Manila, Philippines, ending their The Medicine Tour. On September 20, 2013 the band kicked off the first leg of their 3rd tour, the Going to Hell Tour, in North America. During their UK tour in 2014, Taylor Momsen was interviewed for The New Music Show. She mentioned a variety of up and coming events and spoke about being the no.1 rock single in USA for 2014.
Taylor Momsen – lead vocals, occasional rhythm guitar (2009-present)
Jamie Perkins – drums, percussion (2010–present)
Ben Phillips – lead guitar, backing vocals (2010–present)
Mark Damon – bass (2010–present)
Nick Carbone – drums, percussion (2009–2010)
Matt Chiarelli – bass (2009–2010)
John Secolo – guitar (2009–2010)
Kato Khandwala – bass, percussion, programming (2009–2010)