18-year-old Gossip Girl-turned-rock-star Taylor Momsen is a teenager not too different from you. She works hard all day, breaks the stress with TiVo and Beatles tunes, and takes crap from her friends when her nerdy hobbies (sewing spooky ragdolls, for one) take priority. The biggest difference? Taylor won't get sent to the principal's office when she goes all day with no pants on.
Taylor has been touring as the singer, rhythm guitarist, and figurehead hottie of the alt rock band The Pretty Reckless for about two years now, but things are about to get a little cray cray for Tay Tay. The Pretty Reckless are gearing up for a tour in Australia with System of A Down, then a long string of headlining US gigs, a new EP in March, and opening spots for recently reactivated professional weirdo Marilyn Manson. Fortunately, Taylor has some experience sharing the stage with ghouls; you might remember her as Cindy Lou Who in How The Grinch Stole Christmas (real talk).
Last week Momsen debuted her first music video for the song "You," so we decided to catch up with her and find out why she's so opposed to pants. Instead we just talked a lot about Buffy, The Avengers, and zombie John Lennon. We'll call that a win. Read our exclusive interview with Taylor, and watch her new video below:
Q. In the last year you've opened shows for Guns 'N' Roses and Evanescence. What band do you see yourself playing with in your geekiest rockstar fantasies?
A. Oh my god, I mean there's so many…Well we're about to tour with Marilyn Manson coming up in May. That definitely would've been one of them (laughs).
Q. And what about dead musicians you'd like to tour with as zombies?
A. Ooh…John Lennon.
Q. You've got a pretty crazy tour coming up, don't you?
A. Yeah, we're flying to Australia and playing a festival out there, opening for System of a Down. I'm not looking forward to the plane ride but I'm looking forward to getting there. I've never been to Australia, and obviously Serj (Tankian) is just an amazing vocalist. I love what he does. Then we fly straight onto the Medicine Tour in the U.S. So Australia, then headlining, then Manson, then when we get off Manson we go straight into recording the second record. It's kind of a whirlwind.
Q. Do you ever have time to do normal teenager stuff like go to the movies?
A. I don't go to the movies very often but when I get time off I'm all over TiVo (laughs). I love Buffy The Vampire Slayer, obviously—I tweet about her all the time! I love Law and Order SVU, Curb Your Enthusiasm, I don't know, a whole bunch of stuff.
Q. What were you doing when you tweeted "Dear Joss Whedon, you are awesome" the other day?
A. Oh yeah, I was totally watching Buffy at the time . He's great. Just f****ng great! I'm really excited to see The Avengers, see how that turns out. I bet it'll be awesome. That's a movie I definitely WILL go see in theaters!
Q. Have you ever gone to a Buffy musical sing-along?
A. I've never been to one of the events, but that's one of my favorite episodes. I do have the soundtrack on my iPod.
Q. You're starting your tour at Hotel Congress in Tucson, AZ. That's a really sweet venue—John Dillinger was arrested there once and they say the building haunted by his ghost.
A. Oh, nice. I'm all about paranormal stuff. I don't know if I believe in it, but I will definitely check it out. I don't not believe. I don't believe, but I don't not believe; I just don't know.
Q. Cool, so you're agnostic on the subject of ghosts. Ag…ghostnic?
Q. Is there any supernatural stuff you definitely believe in?
A. I don't not believe in any of it, but I don't believe in any of it either. There's just not enough proof for me for anything like aliens or ghosts, but I'm constantly looking. I want there to be something else, you know?
Q. Of course! Cue the X-Files Theme. What's your nerdiest hobby?
A. Nerdiest? Oh man, there's so many. I'm a nerd (laughs). I like craft a lot, like arts and crafts. I sculpt. I paint. I sew dolls—I love to make ragdolls. I've got like three ragdolls I'm working on at the moment. They've gotta look creepy.
Q. That is strangely awesome. You do this on the tour bus?
A. Yeah, I mean, that does happen quite a bit. I get made fun of for singing in a rock band and, you know…knitting and making dolls. But I mean, come on, the tour gets boring if there's nothing else to do but play a show that day! Gotta pass the time somehow. Might as well make creepy dolls (laughs).
Q. So you're a nerd, but also a punk who loves John Lennon but also Marilyn Manson. You're kind of all over the place. Who do you even write songs for?
A. Myself, I guess. I don't really even think about it like that. I just write these songs and put them out and hope people like them. Everyone is welcome!
Q. What advice do you have for aspiring teenage musicians?
A. It's a lot of hard work. If you can work really hard all the time then perfect, go for it. It's not an easy ride. But it's worth it.
Q. What would you be doing right now on a weekday afternoon if you weren't talking to reporters and being a celebrity?
A. I'd be writing songs for myself. If they weren't getting put out, I'd still be doing it. I don't know what I'd do without it.