2016 has been a year of great new music from a lot of great bands. I have been really digging new albums this year from bands such as The Dead Daisies, Whitford/St. Holmes, Alter Bridge and others. The Pretty Reckless have just released their 3rd album a few weeks ago, titled “Who You Selling For” via Razor & Tie. Booom!! Another great record for 2016.
The Pretty Reckless- Who You Selling For
I have been listening to this record continuously for the last few weeks. This album is such a great listen from beginning to end. The Pretty Reckless began their tour last month, which runs until early/mid December (See dates at bottom of this page). I had the pleasure of speaking to bassist, Mark Damon about the writing, recording of the album and much more. Enjoy!
Mark Damon: Hey Shawn. How ya doing, brother?
Legendary Rock Interviews: Doing good, man! Congrats on the new record and having another #1 hit again. It’s such a great record.
Mark: Thank you, man. We appreciate that.
LRI: How was it recording this record compared to the last one?
Mark: This record, we really stuck with the idea of playing it all live. Minimal overdubs and all of us sitting in a room playing until the vibe and song was right. It was really about capturing the individuality of the players, like capturing a moment. A lot of rock records can get really overproduced and over sanitized. We really wanted to avoid that. We just wanted to make the players special. That’s just what makes the band special, itself. The individual playing as a group.
LRI: Right. It’s a great rock record. There are a lot of different ‘flavors’ of rock on it too.
Mark: Oh, absolutely.
LRI: On one of the songs, “Oh My God,” which is your latest single, has a Motorhead feel to it. At least to me, anyway.
Mark: (Laughs). I am a bit of a big Motorhead fan. Well, we’re all fans of Motorhead, Soundgarden, and all the harder stuff. I love playing that one every night.
LRI: Was there anything that influenced the recording of this record?
Mark: Well, not like directly. We’re influenced by all different styles of music. All of us individually love so many different styles of music. It wasn’t our intention like, “We’re going to make a Motorhead style song” or “We’re going to make a such and such style song”. That’s never how this band works. Ben and Taylor write fantastic songs. They sound great on acoustic guitar. Then they bring them in and we flush them out as a band and they become what they become without any forethought. There is no formula really.
LRI: You mentioned acoustic guitars. Are all the tracks initially written on acoustic guitars?
Mark: All of the songs are originally written on acoustic guitar with Ben and Taylor singing. To me, that’s kind of the hallmark of a great song. They sit down with an acoustic guitar, play a song from beginning to end and everyone goes “Wow! That’s a great song”. When it’s stripped down to just acoustic and nothing to hide behind, except the song..It brings out what the song is about, and you know it’s going to likely translate really great to being a full band track.
LRI: Right. I am huge fan of acoustic guitars. Do you think there is any chance down the line that The Pretty Reckless will try a full on acoustic record?
Mark: Nothing is out of the question. Who knows. (Laughs)
Mark Damon of The Pretty Reckless performing in Flint, MI on 5/19/15. Photo by Brandon Nagy
LRI: How did you guys end up getting legendary guitarist Warren Haynes involved to play lead guitar on the track “Back To The River”?
Mark: We were so psyched about it. It was a friend through a friend of a friend who was able to connect with him and sent him the track and we said, “We’d love to have you play on it”. Part of the song has this Allman Brothers vibe to it and we thought, “You know who’d be great to play some slide on this?? Warren Haynes!” So we were lucky to connect with him. We still listen to that track in awe of what he does on it. We were so honored and lucky to have him contribute that to our track.
LRI: That is so awesome. I just photographed Warren a few months back here in Detroit. I was in awe just watching him play.
Mark: Oh Niiice. I saw videos of him back on MTV Live or something like that. I remember turning it on and sitting there going “Holy Shit!” He is so musical, it’s amazing!
LRI: Who influenced you as a bass player?
Mark: Oh gosh. So many different people. I mean, for the big names it be obviously Lemmy. He was a huge influence for me. Michael Anthony, ex-Van Halen and should still be in Van Halen (Laughs)…
LRI: I agree 100% with you!
Mark: Aston “Family Man” Barrett from The Whalers, Cliff Williams from AC/DC. Honestly, personal playing wise, most of the guys who have influenced me have been bass players I’ve grown up with. I was kind of lucky, I’m also a horn player. So a lot of my early years were spent playing in R&B and SKA/Reggae bands listening to great bass players’ timing and being able to soak up some great playing. Some of those multiple influences would really influence what I would become as a bass player and what I still strive to become as a bass player. There’s a guy, Nate Edgar, from “The Nth of Power”. I went to high school with him and he became a monster bass player and a lot of the local R&B Blues guys from the Boston area like Jesse Williams, Randy Bramwell and all these local guys that you may never hear of outside of the local area, but they are truly masters of their craft.
LRI: I know exactly what you are saying. I play a guitar a little bit myself and I can remember starting out when I was 15 years old and I had friends that were so much better than me. Some of them were older and in bands playing steady gigs locally. They were an influence on me just as some of mainstream guitarists out there were.
Mark: Oh yeaahh. Totally. It’s in your DNA. You are at such an impressionable young age. You’re hearing guys around you doing it, being able to bounce off them, talk to them, interact with them and see them repeatedly. It becomes part of your DNA. That’s what local scenes are all about. When you think about it, every musician who has ever played on any record or any stage, started in a local scene.
LRI: Yup. That’s true. The Pretty Reckless tour just started a couple weeks ago. You will be here in Detroit in a couple weeks. I am really looking forward to that show.
Mark: Yeah man! We’re psyched! We love playing Detroit. We’re excited to get back to St. Andrews Hall. It has such a great vibe to it.
LRI: It is a really fun venue. Are there any bands that you haven’t toured with yet that you would like to share a bill with or share a stage with at a festival gig?
Mark: Oh man, I would love to tour with AC/DC. Ummm, I’d love to tour with Soundgarden. We did a couple festivals with those guys and that was pretty amazing. They are huge influences of ours. I would have loved to have toured with Motorhead, but sadly that isn’t in the cards anymore. There are so many great artists out there that would be great to be able to hang with or play music with, but those two would be the biggest ones for me –AC/DC and Soundgarden.
LRI: What are you listening to these days in terms of new music?
Mark: I don’t listen to a lot of new stuff . The band that my friend Nate Edgar plays in, called “The Nth of Power”, is one of the only new things I am listening to. Also, the Rival Sons. We toured with them a long time ago. I check their stuff out, they are great and consistently put out great records. So yeah, not a lot of new stuff. I mostly listen to the old classics.
LRI: Oh, I hear you. I am the same way with the old classics. Though lately, I have been hearing some new good music being put out that I am really digging a lot. On your new record, there is a song I like a lot in the beginning of the record called “Hangman”. When I am listening to that, I am hearing a bit of an Alice In Chains feel to it.
Mark: Yeah, I can see that. The vocal harmony thing. When you think about that era, “The Seattle Scene” or whatever you want to call it. Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, The Screaming Tree’s, and Nirvana… You had some amazing, legendary bands coming out of that area. How can you not have that as part of your influences?
LRI: Your current tour is wrapping up in early-mid December. What are your plans beyond that going into 2017?
Mark: Touring, touring, and more touring! We’re heading back to Europe, South America, then back to the USA and then back to Europe, then back to the USA again and then Australia, New Zealand.. Everywhere man! Everywhere and anywhere they will let us on stage (Laughs).
LRI: Sounds good! Thanks again for taking the time to speak with us. I will see you at the Detroit show, soon!
Mark: My pleasure man! Ok. Great. Make sure you come say “Hey!”
LRI: Will do. See ya.
The Pretty Reckless 2016 Tour Dates
Mon 11/07/16 Nashville, TN Cannery Ballroom
Thu 11/10/16 Detroit, MI St. Andrews Hall
Fri 11/11/16 Chicago, IL House Of Blues
Sat 11/12/16 Cleveland, OH House Of Blues
Sun 11/13/16 Toronto, ON The Phoenix Concert Theatre
Tue 11/15/16 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
Wed 11/16/16 New York, NY Terminal 5
Fri 11/18/16 Baltimore, MD Rams Head Live!
Sat 11/19/16 Niagara Falls, NY Rapids Theatre
Mon 11/21/16 Omaha, NE Sokol Auditorium / Underground
Tue 11/22/16 Clive, IA Seven Flags Event Center
Wed 11/23/16 Saint Paul, MN Myth
Fri 11/25/16 Green Bay, WI Sandlot Entertainment Complex
Sat 11/26/16 Sioux City, IA Anthem At Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Mon 11/28/16 Denver, CO Ogden Theatre
Wed 11/30/16 Salt Lake City, UT The Depot
Thu 12/01/16 Boise, ID Knitting Factory Concert House
Fri 12/02/16 Seattle, WA Showbox SoDo
Sat 12/03/16 Portland, OR Roseland Theater
Tue 12/06/16 Los Angeles, CA Mayan Theatre