With her raunchy attire and risqué performances, Taylor Momsen seems to court controversy. As her band The Pretty Reckless comes to town, Amie Mulderrig finds out there’s more to the former Gossip Girl star.
How’s touring with Fall Out Boy going?
It’s still the early stages, but boy oh boy do they have a massive production. It’s the show to see.
You’re coming to the Wembley Arena – are you excited?
I am SO excited, Wembley is my favourite venue ever. I’ve never played there, so I’m extremely excited. It’s f*****g Wembley, it doesn’t get any cooler than that. I’m going to do the whole ‘HELLO WEMBLEY’ thing.
How does the UK music scene compare to the US?
The UK music scene is very innovative. A lot of good stuff comes from England and then gets brought over to America. I really love The Staves, Jake Bugg’s got a cool thing going on. You guys have the best bands! Like look at The Beatles. We had Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam... who are all great, but c’mon you’ve got The Beatles. That wins hands down.
What can we expect with this tour?
To leave deaf, mute and blind, that’s what proper rock ‘n’ roll is. You never know what’s going to happen.
Your new album Going to Hell... is it your best release yet?
I’m so proud of it, it’s my greatest accomplishment and I’m so excited for people to hear it. It’s very raw and honest.
Is this a different sound for Pretty Reckless?
I wrote the first record when I was 14 and this second one was written at 19 – so it’s much more mature, I’m older, it’s older.
What inspires the music?
If I knew where inspiration came from, I’d move there. Unfortunately I don’t, so it’s a very tortuous process, where I sit inside my head going I suck, I suck, this is s***t. But when you’ve written something great, you get 20 seconds of bliss, until you realise you’ve got to write it all again.
Which song has been a real labour of love for you?
Picking any of them is like choosing a favourite child, impossible. But the whole band is a big fan of Sweet Thing.
Where do you write your lyrics?
I have books and books and books of lyrics. I tried to put them in my phone, but I’m completely technologically challenged. I’m a pen and paper kinda chick.
What’s your fanbase?
Really eclectic. We get really young girls and boys to old rockers.
Do you find it difficult to shake off Gossip Girl?
I was 12 when I did the show and now I’m 20, so I would hope that I’m different. I was a character on that show.
Your appearance is quite raunchy now, is that a rebellion against the Gossip Girl image?
Nah I just dress the way I feel. With Light Me Up I wore a lot of garter belts and corsets, but that was me experimenting with fashion and figuring out my sexuality as a teenager.
Do you think your image has overshadowed your music?
I think in the tabloids, the way it’s written then yes. It’s easier to write about the outfits than the songs. But not for the fans, they’re here for the music.And fashion, music and sexuality have gone hand-in-hand since the beginning of time.
Is the press unfair on you?
I don’t really read anything. I’m just too busy.
Are you a wild child?
I’m pretty tame. I’ve been through my wild phases. I’m actually quite shy. I spend a lot of time in my own head with my own thoughts.
You’ve been in showbiz 18 years. Do you ever get sick and tired of it?
There are ways of avoiding the showbiz and you get used to it. I live my personal life very privately, it’s noone’s business what I do.
What does the future hold for you and Pretty Reckless?
Loads more records, loads more touring. Performing in front of people, playing music you love is the greatest thing ever. It’ll never be a job. I f*****g love it.
The Pretty Reckless support Fall Out Boy at Wembley Arena, Arena Square, Engineers Way, Wembley on March 20.
Details: wembleyarena.co.uk, 020 8782 5566