Taylor Momsen has experienced her share of heartbreak.
Momsen, the frontwoman for The Pretty Reckless, was on tour with Soundgarden when lead vocalist Chris Cornell took his life. Cornell’s death took a heavy toll on her ability to perform.
“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,” Momsen told Brent Smith for Interview magazine. “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.”
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“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.”
Her mourning was exasperated by another death, that of her close friend Kato Khandwala.
“I couldn’t fake it. So I cancelled 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,” she said. “I spiralled 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.”
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Momsen (“Gossip Girl”) was able to channel that pain into Death by Rock and Roll, an album she released last year.
“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,” she said.
“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.”
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.