If you wake up in the middle of the afternoon in the clothes from the night before and somebody else’s underwear on your bedroom floor, then you were probably partying to The Pretty Reckless.
Taylor Momsen, the racoon-eyed chick with enough attitude in her twelve-inch heels to overwhelm the world in a single song, is not someone to be taken lightly. She is the lead singer for the punk rock band known for its awesome combination of classic rock wrapped in hard-hitting vocals. And her music is edgier then Satan’s sidekick. Her first ever music video featured her walking through a cemetery while she tripped out of her baggy boyfriend flannel shirt and down to next to nothing. It only takes one glance at her portrait for you to completely forget her days as Cindy Loo Hoo from Jim Carrey’s Grinch or Jenny from Gossip Girl. I recently had a great chat with the 20-year-old rockstar about drugs, picking fights with the Catholic church, and her writing process.
On her lyrical jabs at the Catholic church in her songs “Going to Hell” and “Goin’ Down.”
I grew up Catholic and I went to Catholic school. I am using religion as a metaphor because I grew up Catholic. It is very embedded in my vernacular. It’s not meant to be taken literally and I think people tend to over dramatize things. It’s just a song, Man! I mean, the fans all get it but they are also fans so… You are always going to have haters.
On the message behind her music.
There are a lot of common themes that come up but I wouldn’t say that there is an exact message that I am trying to convey. Rock and roll means the ultimate freedom of expression. Whatever comes up! You are allowed to be free and say what you want. You aren’t doing it for the radio or for the fans, you are doing it for yourself. There isn’t a message other than freedom.
On her process.
As a writer you are constantly writing and reading and looking for something to spark an idea. You are constantly looking for something to inspire you; it could be anything. All of the songs are very personal and I don’t like to get too in-depth with what I am actually writing about because I like the listener to hear it with an open mind. I like them to interpret it for themselves and pretend that that is what the song is about and that is what it means.
You can’t censor yourself when you write. If people have a problem with what I am writing about then I will deal with that once it’s done.
I get dressed, get my makeup, smoke a cigarette, have a drink, go on stage, and rock!
On her drug references.
Drugs are a big part of culture in general. I don’t like to get too specific because I am not here to influence anyone on bad behaviour. Whatever you take you take from it. You gotta be your own artist. As soon as you start imitating something it’s Broadway.
It’s dedicated to all the lonely people, and aren’t we all lonely people? Aren’t we all lost and lonely at some point in our lives? I think I kind of always feel that way.
On the new album.
It’s a lot heavier than Light Me Up, but there’s a lot of different things. Hopefully, there is something for everyone. It’s very much a band record. It’s very raw, very stripped down. It’s two guitars, bass drum, vocals. I think we really captured what we sound like live on tape for the first time. That’s really exciting. It’s also a record that is meant to be listened to like you would listen to an old school record. It’s a piece of work, it’s not a pop song that you will understand right away. It’s meant to be listened to from front to back over and over with a pair of headphones in your own room with the lights out. Every time you listen to the songs on the record you will discover something new inside of them. They are definitely layered. It has been about a year.
I don’t write in the studio; I write everything before we go in to record. So I come into the studio with hearing the entire song already done in my head. Then you just have to get it on tape. That is always fun because you get to see it come to life rather than hearing it playing again and again over and over months and months. You get to press play and crank it to 10 for real. I go in with a pretty clear vision of what it should sound like.
On inspiring her fans.
I hope I am connecting to the fans. I hope it helps fill them up in some way. I think that is what music does for people. It makes you feel whole as a person. So I hope that I can do that and that’s accomplished when I make music. I hope that they feel connected to something; connected to the song, connected to the world, connected to anything, connected to an idea. So if we are doing that then I am very pleased.