Giving up the TV limelight to become a touring musician sounds pretty reckless ... but that’s Taylor Momsen. The former Gossip Girl star’s band, The Pretty Reckless, has gained a loyal fan following since their 2010 debut release, Light Me Up. After playing festivals and supporting acts like Guns N’ Roses and Evanescence, the band is promoting their latest album, Going to Hell. Las Vegas Magazine’s Jorge Labrador talked with Momsen about the new album and her time as a musician. The Pretty Reckless stops at Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel on May 28.
You went from being mainly known as an actress to being known as a rocker pretty quickly. Does showbiz still call to you at all? Does anyone ever go, “Hey, come back, we want you in our movie/show!”
Yeah, I still get a lot of opportunities there, but nothing that can draw me away from music—Joss Whedon maybe, that’s about it. It’s all about the new record and touring. I haven’t acted since I was 16.
You’ve been working or in the spotlight, in some form, since you were very, very young. Do you get to make time for yourself now? Are you more of a workaholic?
Well, now I’m older and can control what I do. Writing, recording and touring are my only interests, but I do them 24/7. It’s not so much “work” if you love it.
You also pop up in a huge variety of magazines and sites in the hard rock, metal and alternative rock scenes. What genre do you consider The Pretty Reckless to fall under, if any? Or is that term antiquated?
I’d say we’re a band that writes the songs on guitar, so that’s how it sounds. I also borrowed that from Noel Gallagher.
A lot of those same mags do “sexiest female artists”-type lists sometimes instead of actual in-depth coverage of female-fronted bands. What are your thoughts on those?
Press is important, but it’s not what drives me. It’s something you do to hopefully make people hear the music.
What kind of music did you listen to growing up? Did any of these pique your interest in playing music?
Of course, it was all Beatles and that’s what I wanted to be.
You’re stuck on a desert island with just three albums—what are they?
All the Beatles records because they never get old.
Topically and sonically, the Going to Hell album is, for lack of a better term, edgier than the last. Tell me a bit about working on that and the direction the band is going in.
We toured the last record for two years, so it just developed naturally. The songs dictate the sound, easy as that.
Are there any projects floating around in your head now that you’d like to work on in the future?
I already have half the new record written, so I can’t wait to record. I’ve got some more things brewing but nothing I can mention yet.