"I sold my soul to rock and roll, it’s my religion."
Taylor Momsen has become a household name. From acting in the hit series Gossip Girl as Jenny Humphrey and being in a studio recording for How The Grinch Stole Christmas at the age of 5 as Cindy Lou Who, to modelling and sewing her own clothing, there’s very little that this young 20 year old rocker can’t do. However, her true dream has always been having a rock and roll band, and The Pretty Reckless is exactly that. We had a chance to chat with the frontwoman behind The Pretty Reckless and she divulged about TPR’s latest album, her thoughts on what is “good music” and just rock and roll in general.
IX: Going to Hell dropped not too long ago, is there a specific concept behind the record?
Taylor Momsen: There’s no specific concept to the album but when you start writing a record, common themes definitely start to develop, so there’s a fluid storyline that runs through when you listen to it front to back. It’s more of a proper old school record, where it’s not just a collection of singles. I already have like half the next record written and I literally had to stop writing because as soon as I write a song, I want to record it and we’re in the Going To Hell cycle right now.
IX: And what has been the reaction for the album so far?
Taylor Momsen: It’s been amazing, I mean, it was number 1 on iTunes. You never know what to expect when you put a new thing out.
IX: That’s great to hear! Your world tour starts pretty soon, what can one expect from the live shows?
Taylor Momsen: You can expect a loud, rock and roll band. No tracks, anything can happen because everything really is live. You can expect to leave our show deaf, mute and blind, that’s all I can say.
IX: What’s your craziest fan experience?
Taylor Momsen: People get tattoos of lyrics, that’s such a commitment. Girls get wild at shows, stalker-y things that I don’t want to talk about because I don’t want to provoke anything.
IX: Talking about people with tattoos, how does it feel to see your lyrics on someone?
Taylor Momsen: I write music for myself. It’s crazy that I’ve written something that has connected to someone that much that they want to ink it on their body. It’s such a high compliment.
IX: Growing up in the spotlight, do you think that the fame you had early on helped or hurt in the way people see you or expect from you as a musician?
Taylor Momsen: I think in the beginning it was a combination of both because it was a public transition. Acting and modelling was always just a day job that pays my rent. I’ve always been a musician. I was humming songs before I could even talk. I started writing when I was really young and I’ve played the piano and the guitar. I play a little bit of drums too. I’ve been in a recording studio since I was literally 5 years old when I did The Grinch. Music was something that I was always doing, the world just didn’t know about it. In the beginning, when I quit acting and had a band, it helped because there were some fans from the show [Gossip Girl] that checked out the band and in another way it hurt it because people didn’t necessarily believe in it. But I think that’s pretty much all gone away now. The people at the shows know every word to every song and they’re there for the music. I made the jump and quit acting and haven’t looked back since. Playing a show every night, that’s the best job in the world.
IX: How would you describe your style?
Taylor Momsen: My musical style is rock and roll. I listen to everything, if it’s quality and if it’s good, I’m in. And clothing wise, I go for whatever is clean that day. All my stage outfits are custom stuff that I sew. It’s another form of self-expression. On my first record, Light Me Up, the clothing was very vintage. I was wearing a lot of corsets and really tall shoes and that was what I was into at the time. This record now, all the clothing have this black cross over them.
IX: You just mentioned you like good music, what would you consider good music?
Taylor Momsen: The Beatles. The Beatles are my favourite band in the world and the reason I started writing songs and wanted to be in a band from the get-go. I grew up on my dad’s record collection so rock and roll was embedded in my blood from a very early age. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Pink Floyd, ACDC, Bob Dylan, and as I got older, I got really into Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and then Robert Johnson and the really old blues. They’re the greats for a reason. I love it.
IX: Do you have anything to say about the music industry in general?
Taylor Momsen: I think that music is very cyclical and history has repeated itself multiple times. Like in the 50s, the world was like pop singles and then the 60s and 70s came in with a group of bands and rock and roll and guitars took over. Then in the 80s, it went back to the pop singles again and then the 90s came in with Nirvana and guitars took over again and so now we’re in that transitional period where I’m waiting for the revival of rock and roll and I’m hoping to be a part of it. I’m seeing more and more acts starting to pick up the guitar again, even if they’re acoustic. Real instruments are actually starting to come back which is exciting to see.
source: IX Daily