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Gossip Girl’s Taylor Momsen Doesn’t Just Bust Balls, She Burns Them

September 9, 2010

Taylor Momsen seems to live a double life, professionally.  In one life, she portrays the somewhat naïve and insecure, and nascently and imperfectly socially climbing, Jenny Humphrey on Gossip Girl.  In the other, she sings, song-writes, and plays guitar for rock band The Pretty Reckless.  As Jenny Humphrey, she sports a relatively normal, if pricey, wardrobe; and she wears relatively normal, if pricey, cosmetics  .  As lead singer of The Pretty Reckless, she dons outfits that would fit in well in Doomsday, and apparently applies eye makeup with a palette knife.

Momsen has taken pains to let the public, or at least interviewers, know that she identifies much more closely with the singer than the actress.  In fact, singing keeps the 17-year-old young (her words), and her almost-Plasmatics aesthetic makes her “feel good,” perhaps serving as a bulwark against some of the “bad experiences” she’s had.  All this appears on its face to be a good PR move for a woman who wants to be taken seriously as a maker of darker, heavier rock.  Whether it matches who she really is is not a matter that can be settled right now, since she admits that she is still figuring herself out (What 17-year-old isn’t?  Hell, what 40-year-old isn’t?)  Whatever the answer ends up being, or whether there even ends up being an answer, Momsen for the time being has chosen the moderately disturbed, fuck-you-I’ll-do-what-I-want rocker as her public persona.

With that particular template comes the requisite destructive quirks, and Momsen apparently has them.  Fire, in particular.  In fact, although there could be many interpretations of the name of The Pretty Reckless’ first album, Light Me Up, it is at least fitting.  Guitarist Ben Phillips says of Momsen’s pyromania: “Taylor loves setting things on fire, so this is great.  Taylor thinks we’re some rock ‘n’ roll badasses.  In the studio, there was this pit where the owner would burn stuff.  We’d burn old keyboards, computers, stuff them full of TNT and set them on fire.  Taylor loves fire.”  We get that.  Who hasn’t tried to burn every burnable thing—and some that weren’t—in a campfire?  OK, the TNT detail seems a little extreme and/or unbelievable, but with the proper safety precautions, we’d probably give that a try ourselves or at least watch from a distance as someone else did.  A friend of mine used to burn stuff in his backyard when we came over, stopping only after an incident in which he lit on fire a trail of gasoline which led to a two-liter bottle half-full of gasoline which exploded and sprayed burning gasoline on lots of things that shouldn’t have burning gasoline on them, like houses and vehicles.

So we’re cool with fire and explosions and stuff, but then Phillips says, “I shouldn’t say this.  One morning, Taylor got into the studio really early—she’d just had her dog neutered and brought in the bits.  Which she then burned.   We were grossed out.”  Whoa.  And I don’t mean that in a “Keanu Reeves as Neo” way but rather a “we were all whiskey-drunk having a great time when someone pulled out a gun and wanted to start shooting cans out of people’s hands” way.  Burning your dog’s balls?  That’s not ballsy, that’s just mean.  Maybe that sounded good Taylor’s head, but she needs to remember that the other three current member of her band are men, who presumably cherish their own balls and probably would prefer not to see other testicles incinerated.  Yes, they have already been detached from the body, and I’m certainly not the sentimental type, but at least give them a proper burial.  (Then again, maybe being torched on a pyre is a proper burial.)  Momsen may have proved a point with her “Great Balls Of Fire” stunt (and it may simply have been a stunt), but just what point, we’re not sure.  If a new member joins and starts singing castrato, though, we may have to reassess.

  1. September 10, 2010 3:17 am

    i kinda adore the pretty reckless’s kind of rock :)


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