#617: Taylor Momsen of the Pretty Reckless knows you like to watch

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t feels creepy to be north of 30 and leering at 20-year-old Taylor Momsen. Seriously, this is the girl who played Cindy Lou Who in the Jim Carrey shitshow version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas just over a decade ago. No matter — the former Gossip Girl has now sold her soul to rock and roll, and unlike other former CW-ish stars (what up Jared Leto?), she’s left the acting in the rearview. Fronting the hard rock outfit the Pretty Reckless since 2009, Momsen has road-dogged it with the likes of Evanescence, Guns ‘N Roses and on the Warped Tour.

With a new album, Going To Hell, scheduled for release early next year and the just-out title track video generating its fair share of controversy due to a sexed up Momsen doing lots of nasty things (there’s a snake involved; check it below), Vanyaland decided to catch up with the singer before her show Monday night at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston.

At the time of the interview, she was in Vancouver, while I was in Iceland — leading Momsen to dub it “the most expensive phoner in history.”

It was all worth it, as for this edition of #617 we talked about fans getting tattoos, which Gallagher brother Momsen wants to party with, and why Sheryl Crow is sexy.


Michael Christopher: The video for “Going to Hell” has been getting a lot of coverage with many people saying how shocking it is. Did you know when you were making it that it was going to push some buttons?

Taylor Momsen: I wasn’t thinking about it at all. I just wanted to make some cool imagery to go with the song [laughs]. It was a lot of fun; Tim Mattia directed it and came up with the treatment and I worked closely with him developing the shot. We did everything in a day; it was an old, abandoned warehouse, no bathrooms… in Brooklyn. All the extras were friends of mine; the snake was a pet snake of a friend of mine. It was a fun day — chaotic — but really fun.

Are you surprised that the video has grabbed so much attention since it dropped?

You’re always surprised anytime anyone watches something you do or looks at something put out, you’re always pleasantly surprised.

Something I’ve noticed with many of your fans is the amount of tattoos they are getting either inspired by your music or actual lyrics of your songs. How does it feel to hit that level of devotion?

It’s crazy — and I’ve noticed it more recently too that there’s a lot more tattoos. It’s extraordinarily flattering. Every time you permanently ink yourself with something, that’s significant [laughs].

You’ve professed your love for Oasis in past years and the whole “I’d love to collaborate with Noel Gallagher” thing. But if you could go out hitting the pubs in London with Liam or Noel, which one would you choose?

Well I’ve met Liam, and he’s awesome. I’ve hung with him a bit, so since I’ve already met him I’ll say Noel since I haven’t met him yet.

Obviously there’s a sector of people who want to keep you in the box from your acting days. Do you ever want to just shake them and be like, “Look — that was a character, this is the real me?”

I’ve kind of just given up caring at this point [laughs]. I’m on tour and I’m playing every night and the people coming to these shows aren’t, even if they knew me from acting, aren’t here to asking me about it; they’re here to see a rock show. I live in my own bubble of music now where I don’t even think about it unless I get asked about it in interviews.

So we’ve got this singer in Boston, Kyle Neeson, in a band called Cocked N Loaded — it’s balls out hard rock stuff. A few months back, he ruptured his Achilles’ tendon three songs into a 10-song set but finished the show on one leg before being rushed to the emergency room. Being a rocker and being on tour with so many established rock acts, how rock and roll does that rate?

Wow — that’s pretty fucking rock n’ roll. That’s what I’d do; it’s proper rock n’ roll right there.


We asked Momsen to give us a recommendation, of anything…

I got two; check out our shit [laughs], but definitely check out the new Soundgarden record, King Animal, because it’s just awesome. It’s super amazing — a super great record.


When I talked to you last, we talked about the Maxim cover shoot that was deemed as pretty racy and you said, basically, “Look — sex sells.” Who do you think are seven of the sexiest musicians — from any era?

Robert Plant
Jimmy Page
John Lennon
Kurt Cobain
Chris Cornell
Sheryl Crow
Debbie Harry

Alright — that’s seven, but Sheryl Crow? She’s sort of the odd one out.

Well she looks good, though! And she’s super talented.

THE PRETTY RECKLESS + HEAVEN’S BASEMENT + EMPIRE ESCORTS :: Monday, November 11 @ the Paradise Rock Club, 967 Commonwealth Ave., Boston :: 7pm, all-ages, $16 :: advance tickets :: facebook event page