“Love is evil, it’s a version of perversion that is only for the lucky people,” croons Taylor Momsen suggestively like a veteran rocker. The song, “Hit Me Like a Man”, also the same title of her newly released EP is equal parts rebellion and catharsis, reaffirming that Momsen’s rocker chick persona is not just an act. It’s here to stay.
Currently touring through Canada and the States, Momsen brings along her precocious brand of head-banging, guitar-shredding rock and roll that holds it’s own pretty damn well. And in case you’ve let tabloids dictate your opinion before giving it a listen, you should know that Momsen stands her ground against a sea of generic pop princesses, and for that, we have mad respect.
Was the decision to release your new album, Hit Me Like a Man as an EP rather than a full length based on time constraints of touring?
We’re in the process of writing a new record right now and we had some songs done off of the second record so we wanted to just give fans a taste of where the music is going, the direction and have some new songs to play on tour. You know, we’ve been touring Light Me Up now for two years, so it’s exciting for us to have some new things to play.
Does that mean we can expect a full length by the end of the year?
Hopefully. I’m aiming for the fall, so hopefully.
Given the rawness of the lyrics on the track “Hit Me Like a Man”, was there ever any concern that it might be misconstrued or taken out of context?
You know, I feel like if you let worries of how people are going to interpret things stifle creativity, then what are you doing? Of course everyone is going to have their own opinions of what you believe and say, but at the end of the day it’s just a fucking song. Honestly, it’s meant to mean whatever it means to you. That’s what music is meant to be. What it means to me is irrelevant, I think. If you can relate to something, then that’s fantastic. Whatever it means to you is what it’s meant to mean.
Did you always know, sound-wise, you wanted to go in the direction of rock and roll rather than pop?
Yes. It was not a decision [laughs]. There was no question. It wasn’t a debate, ever.
So it was more rock and roll that inspired you at a young age, instead of pop?
Oh, definitely. My dad’s a massive rock fan so I grew up listening to vinyl records and all the classics from The Beatles to Zeppelin to Pink Floyd. And then got really into Sound Garden, Nirvana, anything Chris Cornell, AC/DC. It was always just a part of my life and that’s what I listened to so that’s where I went.
Do you remember your first rock and roll concert?
I went to a lot of little shows, local shows with my dad when I was young, but I guess the first major show I went to was The White Stripes, I guess when I was eight or nine. It was awesome.
Touching on one of your older tracks, “Zombie”, how did you come up with the zombie metaphor for that song?
I was in a very exhausted place when that song was written and I wasn’t sleeping. I was a complete insomniac, I was working literally around the clock. I was really unhappy with what I was doing and was in kind of a bad place and that’s kind of where that song started and came from. It was actually one of those songs that was written very quickly from front to end, and was done.
Do you feel a sense of release from your frustrations once you get a song like that down on paper?
Oh yeah, writing is definitely a very therapeutic outlet in a lot of ways. It doesn’t necessarily change the outcome of anything, but it certainly is a form of therapy.
Being obviously well known from TV, is it difficult to shed preconceived notions that critics and fans take from a character and attribute to you as a person?
There’s definitely an element of that. For me it’s nothing different. I’m not playing a character anymore. I’m myself. For me there’s no difference in anything, but I think for the rest of the world there’s definitely an element of trying to get them to see me outside of a character I played on television…It takes time. I can’t expect people to understand that right away.
Have you seen people more comfortable at shows now with who you are and the music side of you?
Oh definitely and especially at the shows…whether it’s an audience of a hundred or an audience of thousands, they’re singing every word back at you and that’s an amazing feeling and you know they really listen, they really like it [laughs]. It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world. I’ll never forget the first time that happened.
What’s one song that represents best your lifestyle on tour at the moment?
The whole Jackson Browne record, Running on Empty.
You rock some daring outfits on stage and in photo shoots. What are some of your favourite pieces and where did you find them?
A lot of my pieces I’ve found at vintage stores and that I altered and changed, so it’s not really one specific store or anything, just things found on the road. I like to go vintage shopping or thrift store shopping when I have a day off on tour…Favourite pieces, I’ve got a pair of leather shorts.
As a tribute to your band name, the Pretty Reckless, I’m going to throw out a few activities, if you could be the judge on whether they are pretty reckless.
Skydiving. Pretty reckless?
Sure. Too much of anything is not a good thing.
Rock and roll?
Catch The Pretty Reckless live in Vancouver at the Rickshaw Theatre, Sunday March 18th.