Taylor Momsen of the Pretty Reckless was one of the final people to see Chris Cornell the night he died in Detroit in May of 2017. Her band had just finished touring with Soundgarden, and she was luckily able to share a final goodbye with the singer.
The Pretty Reckless are just about to release their fourth studio album Death By Rock and Roll after a long, tumultuous couple of years since its predecessor Who You Selling For. It seems as if Momsen is asked about Cornell now just as much as the new album itself, but rightfully so — she was a huge fan.
The frontwoman appeared in a recent interview with radio personality Matt Pinfield for Los Angeles’ 95.5 KLOS. Pinfield was very fond of Soundgarden as well, so Momsen’s appreciation for the band and relationship with its late singer was the hot topic of the conversation.
Momsen’s first time meeting Cornell was a few years prior to Soundgarden’s 2017 spring headlining tour, which the Pretty Reckless were chosen as the opening act for. But the first time the two singers had a real conversation was during that run of shows. “He was so great, he was just the kindest person, kindest soul and getting to even just share a few moments in his presence was insane,” she said.
The Detroit show on May 17 was the Pretty Reckless’ final night on tour with Soundgarden.
“[Chris] tended to leave right after the show, so I was kind of waiting by the back door knowing that it was the last night of tour, and I wanted to thank him for everything and say whatever I was gonna say,” she recalled. “And I did, I caught him as he was walking out. We had a nice little discussion, I gave him a big hug, a ‘Let’s do it again sometime,’ and we continued on with the night.”
The Soundgarden frontman was found unresponsive in his hotel room later that night.
“The next morning I woke up to the news of just… crushing. I was in disbelief, I guess is the right word. I was convinced that everyone was lying to me and that it was some awful joke. And it was not,” she explained. “That was kind of the start of a bit of a downward spiral for me where I was not emotionally prepared to kind of handle that kind of trauma and that kind of shock.”
As a result, the Pretty Reckless played a couple of more shows before taking a break from touring.
Fast forward a couple of years, and the Pretty Reckless now have a great relationship with the surviving members of Soundgarden. Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron actually play on the track “Only Love Can Save Me Now,” which is featured on the upcoming Death By Rock and Roll, out Feb. 12.
Watch the full interview below.