Taylor Momsen performs with the Pretty Reckless at the Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac in April 2011. (Adam Graham / The Detroit News)
Taylor Momsen is on the road full time with the Pretty Reckless, but she doesn’t consider it work.
“I didn’t want to have to go do a job again,” Momsen says. “Otherwise I’d go get a job.”
The band is smack dab in the middle of a 40-date fall tour, and lead singer Momsen is under the weather. On the phone while traveling between Vancouver and Edmonton, she is staving off a cold that has resulted from the time zone switches and weather changes brought on by a coast-to-coast and back again tour. But she’s fighting through it, en route to the group’s Friday show at Saint Andrew’s Hall.
Momsen has fought through a lot to get to today. She formed the Pretty Reckless in 2009, when she was 15 and appearing as a regular on “Gossip Girl.” (A child actress, Momsen starred in 2000’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” as Cindy Lou Who, opposite Jim Carrey’s Grinch.)
In forming the hard rock outfit, Momsen dealt with plenty of snipes from those who dismissed her as just an actress and just a teenager, which is to say nothing of those who dismissed her as just a girl.
Now 20 and with several tours under her belt, Momsen has proven her doubters wrong by making it as a full-time rocker.
“It feels like a past life to me,” Momsen says of her acting days. “The only time I talk about it is when (journalists) ask me about it. I’m on tour right now. The fans aren’t asking about it; they’re there to hear the music and rock the (expletive) out. I don’t think about it at all unless someone’s talking about it.”
The Pretty Reckless — Momsen and bandmates Ben Phillips, Mark Damon and Jamie Perkins — released its debut album, “Light Me Up,” in 2010. The band took on a harder edge than many expected, with Momsen going into full-bore rocker mode on the album and at the band’s concerts. Think Joan Jett by way of Lita Ford, with Courtney Love’s on-stage unpredictability thrown in for good measure. The band toured the album for two and a half years, playing on the Vans Warped Tour and opening shows for Guns N’ Roses, Marilyn Manson and Evanescence.
The band’s second album, “Going to Hell,” is finished and will be released in early 2014. Recording took “a little longer than expected” — Hurricane Sandy hit the band’s Hoboken, N.J., recording studio and dampened things a bit — but the album was finished over the summer and is just the way Momsen envisioned it.
“It’s a band record. There’s no bells and whistles as far as production goes; it’s two guitars, bass, drums, vocals, crank to 10, go,” says Momsen, who was born in St. Louis and started acting at age 2. “What we sound like live is really captured on this record, more than ‘Light Me Up.’ ”
The new album will be released on Razor & Tie Records, after the band’s split with Interscope Records, which released “Light Me Up.”
“It was very amicable and understood on both sides that it wasn’t the right fit for us,” Momsen says of the Interscope departure. “We were getting heavier, and they were getting more and more into the pop side of things, so it just wasn’t the right place. Now I’m on a rock label, and it’s great to be on a label that’s saying, ‘Make it louder.’ ”
Momsen has no problem making it louder. She’s always been loud when it comes to expressing herself, and the Pretty Reckless is her main creative outlet.
“I’ve always done what I wanted,” says Momsen. “I don’t cater or bend to anyone.”
The Pretty Reckless
7 p.m. Friday
Saint Andrew’s Hall
431 E. Congress, Detroit