There are a couple of reasons you might know Taylor Momsen. Perhaps as the funny, bright-eyed Jenny Humphrey, a.k.a. everyone's favorite drug dealer, on Gossip Girl. Or maybe from fronting the band Pretty Reckless. Or, there's a chance you just register her platinum blond locks and prevalent raccoon-like eye shadow.
Either way, Momsen is just psyched you're talking about her, even if she wishes it were all about the music. And don't let the band's newest endeavor Going to Hell, scare you. It's just raw rock and roll. And Momsen? Despite all the black, she tells us, she "couldn't be happier."
We spoke with the charming frontlady, days before buses started rolling on their 39-city tour, about what it's like to start a record from scratch after Sandy.
New Times: You're headed to South Florida. How do you like our neck of the woods?
Taylor Momsen: I really like it down there. Unlike a lot of our tour stops, I make an effort to always have a day off there. Sadly this trip we won't have anytime, but who doesn't love a day at the beach?
I hear you're gearing up for your tour in New York. I really loved your look at fashion week. What was it a conscious decision to go more glam then Goth?
I just kind of put on something that I liked for the day. I don't say, "I am going to really change up my look today." I just happened to be in New York preparing to tour, so I was able to go to a few shows. It was nice.
Does it bother you that a lot of the time people talk about what you're wearing instead of your music?
At least they are talking about me, right? I try to not really think about it. It's just how the world is at this point in time. I always think that whenever they are talking about how much they love or hate my style, that maybe it will follow up with something like, "She also has a new album out." Really, its just words. Who cares?
Now, Going to Hell. Pretty amazing tour and single name.
It's using religion as a metaphor. People are taking it pretty seriously. No, we don't think you're going to hell and neither are we. Well, maybe we are... (laughs) But the song and album are really reflective of the last year we had. The songs dictate everything we had going on.
What's your process for making an album? Does it flow naturally?
There is definitely a time where I go sit in the studio and think, "I need to make this album." But I am never not writing. I have a notebook on me at all times. Any artist will tell you that when a big moment in your life happens, the words start coming to you. That happened with this album.
Things like what, exactly?
We had a lot of things happen during the process of making this record. Hurricane Sandy killed our studio, Water Music Studios. It took our gear, demos, a lot of recordings from this album. We had to start over. Rebuild, just like everyone else in New Jersey. Out of tragedy came some great songs.
Does that emotion come out in your show?
It's really raw. Don't expect any bullshit. It's me, the band, and an amp. I want people to fall back in love with pure rock and roll. We like a venue that you can just go play a great show and have your fans lose their mind for a couple of hours. It's basic. It's stripped. Nothing is fake.
I feel like you have been nonstop since 2010. True?
Kind of. Now that I think about it, yes. But I don't think of it as work. I can't really think of a real vacation I have taken lately, but I love what I am doing, so it's OK.
What does it feel like to front a band with a bunch of dudes?
I am actually not the only girl on tour. I have one other lady on my side. But after a while, you don't even notice that you're the only chick. But in all honesty, I have the biggest balls than any of the guys.
I mean, I have to ask, is your acting past just that, in the past?
Never say never, but yeah. Music was first and foremost my biggest passion. I have been doing this since I was 5-years-old. It just comes naturally.
I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I kind of expected you to be a grumpy cat.
(Laughs) I wasn't, right?
Not at all. I kind of want to grab a beer with you.
Lets do it. You coming to the show?
No, but I will now! It's just that you just always seem pissed off.
Hey, I play rock and roll. Wear a lot of black. It's going to come with the territory. I couldn't be happier. Please spread the word.
The Pretty Reckless with Heaven's Basement and Louna, 7 p.m., on September 27, at Revolution Live, 100 SW 3rd Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $18 in advance and $20 day of the show. Visit jointherevolution.net.