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The Pretty Reckless on Giving 'Everything Up' & Making Billboard Chart History

12/12/2016 by Andrew Unterberger

Hard-rock quartet The Pretty Reckless made Billboard history in October when “Take Me Down,” the lead single from its third full-length Who You Selling For, became the band’s fourth consecutive Mainstream Rock No. 1 -- making it the first act to send its first four singles to the top of that chart. “A lot of the rock radio format is relying on people who have been around for a long time, and while many are still phenomenal, we haven’t created that many new stars,” says Razor & Tie co-owner Cliff Chenfeld of the fresh blood that the band, fronted by former Gossip Girlstar Taylor Momsen, 23, represents in an increasingly static genre. “Taylor and the band are filling a bit of that void.”

BEN PHILLIPS:
We listen to [rock radio] all the time, so it’s fun to have yourself come on when it’s playing. We came on a lot after Pink Floyd. It’d be like “Have a Cigar” from Pink Floyd, then “Take Me Down” and then AC/DC or something. I’m just like, “All right, that’s cool.”

CHENFELD:
They’re starting from a rock foundation, but their fan base is growing, and does not only include people who listen to rock music. I would be very surprised if in 2017 we don’t make significant inroads at alternative and potentially pop radio, and maybe even triple A radio.

MOMSEN:
For a while there, the charts were Red Hot Chili PeppersMetallicaGreen Day and us. And it’s like, “Well, that’s good company to be in!”

ERICA RAMON (manager, DAS ­Communications​): 
I think the success is due to their persistence. They say this all the time: If they weren’t performing for the world, they would be playing in their bedroom. So whether they’re known for it or not, it’s what they love.

MOMSEN:
Just wanting, loving something so much, being so desperate that you’re willing to give anything up for it, even if that means your soul -- in our case, that’s music. In my life -- in all of our lives -- we gave everything up for it.

The Pretty Reckless explain how the story of Robert Johnson selling his soul informed "Take Me Down."

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 17 issue of Billboard.