As a guest on the IGTV series Mind Wide Open, The Pretty Reckless singer Taylor Momsen has spoken to Chris Cornell’s daughter Lily Cornell Silver about her struggles after losing two good friends – one being Lily’s father. The series, hosted by Cornell, aims to “help destigmatize the conversation around mental health”.
Taylor and Lily discuss their joint loss of friend and father Chris Cornell, who died by suicide in 2017 after a battle with depression. The Pretty Reckless vocalist explains how music helped her find solace within her own battles, especially after her best friend and producer Kato Khandwala died the following year.
Taylor explains to Lily: “It's a little bizarre to speak to you, because it started with your father, losing him.
“We were opening for Soundgarden, which, to me, was the highest of highs. Respect is not the right word; I love your father, I love their music, I love Soundgarden so much, to my core that I still don't know how to put it into words. To be on that tour opening for them was just the most incredible honour and experience of my life. Obviously, it ended tragically.”
Explaining how the loss of Khandwala in 2018 pushed back her recovery, Taylor says: “I was starting to write music and had a couple of songs that I was really proud of. I was calling our producer Kato, who is much more than just our producer; he was my best friend in the entire world, essentially the fifth member of the band… There would be no The Pretty Reckless if I had never met Kato.
“As soon as we started to put plans in motion, I got the call that Kato had died in a motorcycle accident. That was the nail in the coffin for me, where I just spiralled downward so quickly into depression and this dark hole with no light that I didn't see a way out of.”
At this point, Taylor explains how she felt too unhappy to even want to listen to music, but listening to the songs from her early childhood helped her begin to heal, starting with The Beatles. In a recent interview, she opened up to Classic Rock about these dark memories: "I was done. I fell into such a hole of darkness, depression and substance abuse. Essentially I gave up on life. I was so entrenched in all this sadness I didn’t know how to get out of it, I didn’t know if I would get out of it. And if I’m being frank, I didn’t care if I ever did. I quit life."
Her experience with these tragic losses also inspired some of the material behind The Pretty Reckless’ latest album Death By Rock And Roll.
Explaining that the best way to start the mental health recovery process is to talk, Taylor has also opened up about the significance of getting the conversation started: “Talking to people about mental health is the first step on the road to healing. It was a pleasure discussing these things with Lily Cornell Silver, who is bravely working to shed light on the stigma of mental health."
Lily is becoming a prominent figure within the conversation of mental health thanks to her efforts with Mind Wide Open. New episodes of Mind Wide Open feature every other Tuesday at 12 ET, and are available on IGTV, YouTube, Apple (opens in new tab) and Spotify. Other guests in the series include experts in mental health, emotional intelligence, psychology and wellness, and public figures from music, pop culture, and entertainment.
Watch episode 26 featuring special guest Taylor Momsen below: