Grammy-award winning band Halestorm released its fourth full-length album, Vicious, last year on July 28th, 2018, via Atlantic Records (check out our review!). Called a “muscular, adventurous, and especially relevant rock record” by Rolling Stone, Vicious earned the group its second Grammy nomination, a ‘Best Hard Rock Performance’ nod for the song “Uncomfortable,” the band’s fourth #1 on rock radio.
Halestorm, which includes singer/guitarist Lzzy Hale, drummer Arejay Hale, guitarist Joe Hottinger and bassist Josh Smith, has earned a reputation as a powerful live music force, headlining sold-out shows and topping festival bills around the world, including this year’s Sonic Temple Art & Music Festival in Columbus, Ohio. Currently, Halestorm is preparing for a co-headlining summer tour alongside Alice Cooper (see dates below), which kicks off on July 17th in Pennsylvania. On the heels of that tour’s unveiling came the announcement of Halestorm joining Epiphone’s Signature Artist family with the launch of the Ltd. Ed. Lzzy Hale Signature Explorer Outfit guitar.
I had the pleasure of doing some Q&A with Lzzy Hale herself on behalf of PureGrainAudio. Simply put, Ms. Hale could not have been more pleasant, humble or wonderful with her responses. Additional tour dates, news and other information related to Halestorm can be found online at www.halestormrocks.com.
“Vicious” is the latest hit single and music video from Halestorm. Check it out:
You’ve regularly kept active as a musician, doing a lot of guest appearances on recordings for other artists. Do you have a home-based recording setup? Lzzy Hale: I do have a home studio. Two, in fact. One is set up simply as a “songwriters” studio, around my piano. It has a small amp, a guitar, piano, Fender Rhodes, bass, keyboard and mic set up so that I can pounce on ideas as they happen. Then in my basement, I have a more pro setup with vocal booth speakers, keys, amps, all the guitars, etc...
How often do you write or at least try to create? Do you need to be in the mood to be creative, or do you go out of your way to be creative almost like a 9-to-5 job? Hale: I quite literally write and finish something every day. Songwriting, to me, is about two things, recognizing when something is special, then showing up and putting in the work to see it through. I also use writing for my mental health. It’s almost a primal need to do it every day, or I don’t feel like myself. And I’ve gotten good and creating wherever and whatever the environment. If you ask my bandmates and crew I’m constantly making noise, drafting and re-drafting in between soundcheck and meet and greets on the road.
You co-founded Halestorm as a teenager. Was there a band for you before Halestorm? Perhaps a group you played covers with? Hale: No, Halestorm was (and) is my first band. Just like my songwriting... I always see my passions through. I’ve technically been in Halestorm now longer than I haven’t been in Halestorm. (laughs)
Per your upcoming co-headlining tour with Alice Cooper, how did this trek come together? Was it pitched by management or booking agents? Or did someone suggest the pairing organically? Hale: The joint venture was a combo of the two. Coop and I have known each other for years. We’ve shared the stage together many times. I’m buds with his daughter, and we all have an almost unhealthy love of touring. So when it happened that we both had the time to share some space, we all called up our peeps and decided to make it happen. There is a small fangirl moment, though. My booking agent, Scott, who has been my agent for over a decade, knows who all my influences were and he has been constantly helping me tick some dream tours off my bucket list. This is one of those.
Take a look at the artwork for Vicious, released July 28th, 2018, via Atlantic Records.
Do you remember the first time you heard Alice Cooper? Or what song it was? Hale: Yes, technically Alice Cooper was the reason I found out I was “not cool.” When I was 11, my parents moved to a 290-acre farm in Bethel, Pennsylvania. I was just discovering rock music at the time and was listening to a lot of ‘70s and ‘80s hard rock. What I call the ABCD’s that are my foundation: A: Alice Cooper, B: Black Sabbath, C: Cinderella, and D: Dio.
Since I was new in the neighborhood, a few of the local girls my age invited me to a sleepover. But the rule was I had to bring a snack and a few of my favorite CDs so we could all listen to each other’s music. So I brought this candy-coated popcorn I liked at the time, Alice Cooper’s Love It To Death, and Dio’s Holy Diver. Now, it’s important you know that this was ‘95, ‘96 and what was popular to young girls was TLC and Aaliyah and boy-band stuff. When it was my turn to put on one of the CDs I brought, I put in Love It To Death. Those girls looked at me like I was an alien from another planet. I don’t think we made it past the first chorus of “Caught in a Dream” before someone suggested we put someone else’s CD in.
The next morning I get home and my parents asked how the sleepover went. I told them that it was fun but they didn’t like my music. My parents, without skipping a beat, both said “Good!” I asked them why that was even remotely good. I’m a weirdo. They replied that the only reason those girls like the music they do is because it’s cool and popular at the moment. But I like Alice Cooper because I love it, not because someone, some society or generation, told me to like it. So be proud of being “not cool.” It’s funny how, now in my ‘30s, I can trace my confidence in myself and my unapologetic mission statement back to that moment.
Shots of Halestorm with Avatar @ O2 Apollo in Manchester, UK on September 26th, 2018:
After the tour with Alice Cooper wraps, what is coming up for Halestorm? Hale: We have so many surprises coming up! Besides touring, we have new releases and special packages in the works!
Is there a career accomplishment you’re most proud of? Hale: I think the biggest accomplishment to me is the fact that we’ve kept it together. We’ve been Halestorm for 22 years, we’ve been the same four members for sixteen years, and we always kept our eyes on our Northern Star, even when things were/are hard. Quitting was never an option.
When not busy with touring or recording, how do you like to spend your free time? Hale: Besides my obsession with songwriting, I like to fish, I draw and create art based on lyrics or phrases, I sew, and I go to local rock shows.
What was the last concert you attended for fun? Hale: I recently went to see a band called Starbenders, they rocked! They are, in my opinion, an attitude fueled mix of The Divinyls and T. Rex. They had a really cool live show and presence.
Finally, what do you wish more people knew about Lzzy Hale? Hale: I’m a pretty open book, so there isn’t much I can say that someone couldn’t find out about me. But I guess I hope that people know that I’m very thankful to be where I am. And I am humbled that what I represent can influence them and empower them in a positive way. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to my heart that I put out into the world through pieces of music... and thank you PureGrainAudio for taking the time to talk with me!
Don’t be “Uncomfortable”... Watch the music video for the first single from Vicious.
Upcoming Summer Tour Dates (w/ Alice Cooper):
07/17 – Allentown, PA @ PPL Center
07/19 – Pittsburgh, PA @ KeyBank Pavilion
07/20 – Detroit, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre
07/21 – Chicago, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheater
07/23 – Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
07/25 – St. Louis, MO @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheater
07/26 – Kansas City, MO @ Starlight Theatre
07/28 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Zoo Amphitheater
07/29 – Cedar Park, TEX @ H-E-B Center
07/31 – Irving, TX @ The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory
08/01 – Houston, TX @ The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
08/04 – Nashville, TN @ The Opry House
08/07 – Canandaigua, NY @ Constellation Brands – Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center
08/08 – Bethel, NY @ Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
08/10 – Portland, ME @ Maine Savings Pavilion at Rock Row
08/11 – Gilford, NH @ Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion
08/13 – Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live
08/15 – Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
08/16 – Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion