Taylor Momsen lights us up
By Steve PatrickPosted Mar 9, 2011
It doesn’t matter if you know her as Cindy Lou Who from the live action "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," Jenny Humphrey on the CW television series "Gossip Girl," or the face of Madonna’s “Material Girl” fashion line, the multi-talented Taylor Momsen wants you to know her true passion is rocking your face off.
Momsen’s band The Pretty Reckless is currently in the middle of a North American tour that includes a stop in Columbus. The enigmatic, 17-year-old rocker took some time out of her busy schedule to speak with UWeekly regarding the band’s debut album “Light Me Up,” what to expect from the group's live show and how she ignores any media naysayers.
UWeekly: Can you describe how the album came together?
Well, I always wanted to make a rock record and it’s hard to find people with the same…taste musically that you have in today’s market because it’s such a pop-oriented world. I was kind of making the rounds, working with different people. Then I met Kato (Khandwala) who produced the record and I met Ben (Phillips) through him and then we hit it off immediately. Ben and I ended up writing the entire record together. That’s how I met Mark (Damon, bass) and Jamie (Perkins, drums)…through them. We worked on this record for about a year and a half to two years, so it just sort of over that time naturally ended up forming as a band and here we are on the road. laughs
UW: What are some of the inspirations behind the songs?
Well, it’s a very personal record. It’s a very honest record. It’s very much about me. It’s almost autobiographical in one way — in one way it very much is — but in another way it’s very metaphorically written. It’s about life, it’s about the pain and everything that life entails, so hopefully no matter what your life is you can find something to relate to in it. We all have those feelings.
UW: For someone who has not seen The Pretty Reckless live before, how would you describe one of your shows?
It’s a loud rock n’ roll show. Hopefully it’s a lot of fun. It’s kind of an interesting process adapting the record to a live show. The record is so intricately and meticulously worked over…it’s almost Beatles-esque in that way; there are so many layers to it and little pieces you can’t even hear but that add to it.
So, adapting that to a four piece rock band was…because we won’t play with tracks, we won’t play with Pro Tools…I mean everything is live. I think it definitely has a rawer energy than the record...minus all the bells and whistles and things. It’s very “in your face.” Turn everything up to 10 and go. laughs Anything could happen.
UW: Do you find that people underestimate you or have their own preconceived notions about what your musical product is going to be because of your acting and modeling career?
Oh absolutely…and still do. I mean, there’s definitely a doubt that’s put into people’s minds because of…we can call it “crossover,” but it sucks in one way, I mean for me particularly, because I would consider myself a musician who also acts.
I’ve been writing music my whole life and singing since I can remember — it’s been my lifelong goal and dream. I’ve finally released this record because I wrote a record’s worth of material that I wanted people to hear. It wasn’t like I woke up one morning saying, “I think I’m going to put out a record today.”
So, I definitely think it’s a challenge to get people who have their preconceived opinions of me personally — or the idea of an actress — now putting out a record…or whatever it is…to get people to just kind of give it a chance. That’s really all you can ask for.
It might surprise you. This wasn’t a whim; it’s something I want to do for the rest of my life. I didn’t choose acting. I got put into it at three years old. laughs So, this is my life…my dream.
UW: Do you find anything you wear or do particularly shocking or is the public just hypersensitive?
I really kind of think the public’s hypersensitive. I mean, I guess I understand it in some way, but really I don’t. I’m trying not to shock people. I’m trying to be tame. laughs I mean, I dress the way I do.
That’s the cool thing about fashion is that it doesn’t have to be for everyone, you know. Not everyone is going to like every designer and not everyone is going to like what I wear. I’m not asking you to wear it, you know?
Musically and lyrically you can say what you want about it…that it’s not real or that she shouldn’t be saying those things because she’s so young, or whatever. Well, I’m writing about my life, so everything they’re saying doesn’t even make sense. I tend to not read any of it. I don’t even have a computer because it’s kind of a waste of my time. When it comes down to it, for every person who hates you, hopefully there’s someone that likes you.
The Pretty Reckless will be performing at The Basement on Friday, March 11. Road Runner and A Thousand Horses support. Tickets are $13 advance, $15 DOS. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. For more information, please visit www.theprettyreckless.com or www.promowestlive.com.