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How I Wrote That Song

LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 08: Singer Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless performs onstage during Rock In Rio USA at the MGM Resorts Festival Grounds on May 8, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Pretty Reckless has been one of the most consistent and powerful bands in rock music over the past decade. They’ve had six songs that topped the Active Rock Radio charts, and a bunch of others that came close to the #1 spot. We spoke with the band’s leaders — singer Taylor Momsen and guitarist Ben Phillips — about some of their biggest songs.

Read a bit of our interview below and scroll down to listen to, or watch, the full interview.

Talk about “Follow Me Down” (a #1 hit on rock radio in 2014). 

Taylor:  I was reading [1955 novel] Lolita at the time. I had watched like every [film] version of Lolita. I was very obsessed with the Lolita story. And that’s kind of the inspiration for “Follow Me Down,” the concept of doing something sexually, that is not necessarily considered appropriate. And reveling in it and getting away with it and enjoying all the naughtiness of it.

Let’s talk about “Take me Down” (a #1 hit on rock radio in 2016). Songs about dealing with the devil are a constant throughout rock and roll history. For me, it never gets old.

Taylor: That obviously stems from the Robert Johnson legend of going down to the crossroads and selling your soul for your music. In the blues, in our case, rock and roll…

Ben: That [story] inspired the [1986] movie Crossroads. There’s a little throw to the Rolling Stones in the very beginning. There’s a little Beatles, a little Eric Clapton… There are little nods to anyone in the ’60s who was playing Robert Johnson’s music.

Taylor: It all came together when got to the “All I want to do is rock, rock, rock!” part. We started to lay down the guitars for the song, we’d finished the lyrics yet, but we were recording it.  I just hadn’t finished the words and I was outside taking a break and I came in and said, “I got it, I got it! ‘Don’t care what happens when I die as long as I’m alive all I wanna do is rock, rock, rock!” I went right into the control room and just sang it right into the microphone. And that ended up being the take.