A critically acclaimed new album, another smoking Download Festival appearance and a slot opening up for arena botherers Shinedown across the UK have made for a special 2012.
But the best is yet to come with Halestorm’s headline UK tour an obvious highlight throughout September.
RUSHONROCK editor Simon Rushworth caught up with Lzzy Hale ahead of next month’s shows.
rushonrock: Who did you look up to as an aspiring artist?
Lzzy Hale: A lot of my rock heroes were part of my parents’ generation – music I heard in the house growing up. There was a lot of Queen, Alice Cooper, Pat Benatar, Scorpions and Van Halen. That’s what I grew up listening to and there’s something about that late 80s era that’s larger than life and for me it was something to aspire to. It was never quite normal and I liked that. I used to study a lot of the older 80s videos and rockumentaries and wondered if I could actually do some of that stuff one day.
rushonrock: Did you and your brother always play in bands together or was there a time you thought you might go your separate ways?
LH: It’s never really crossed either of our minds to do projects with other people. If Arejay got an offer to do something really awesome I’d be really pleased for him. As a big sister I’d be very proud of my little brother! We started playing music together in our parents’ house – a big part of being a Hale kid was music. My dad’s a bass player but my parents actually bought a drum kit for me when I was younger. I never touched it but my little brother kept sneaking into my room and playing on it – in the end I created a monster! But we always enjoyed playing music together and I was 13 and he was 10 when we started our first band. I don’t think it really crossed our minds to do other things.
rushonrock: Is it all good playing in a band with a family member or are there downsides?
LH: We get along really well and we’ve always been really close so it’s great. Music-wise and chemistry-wise it works well. We know each other so well and I don’t even have to look at him on stage to know what he’s going to do. The only issue is that sometimes I try to mother him and Arejay gets a little bit upset when that happens for some reason! He reminds me that I’m not his mother. But he’s a good guy. In the last few years he’s become my big little brother.
rushonrock: You learnt piano when you were younger and it’s making more of an impression on Halestorm’s records – is that intentional?
LH: I think the piano is something that I’ve got back into. For a long time I pushed it into the corner – when I got hold of a guitar I just thought it was more badass. But I’m very happy about the fact that the piano’s making a comeback! It’s bringing it back to the beginning where my musical journey is concerned and I just like being back behind a piano again. The memories come flooding back and it’s really nice to have that whole range of emotions influencing my songwriting again.
rushonrock: The piano-led Break In is a standout track on The Strange Case Of… and it sounds very much like Halestorm’s take on the classic 80s power ballad…
LH: I’m a huge fan of the big 80s power ballads and perhaps I got in touch with my inner Tom Keifer at times during the making of the new album! With Break In I’m just so glad that we ended up putting that song on the album – we started adding some layers and when the final song came about we said we just have to do this.
rushonrock: You made a big impression on the Shinedown tour earlier this year but how much are you looking forward to headlining your own UK shows?
LH: From what we’ve heard sales are going well for the British tour and we can’t wait to get back over there. We’re very humbled by the fact that people want to buy Halestorm tickets and humbled that we can come back over to the UK so soon and be accepted as something other than a support band. It’s something that we’re hoping we don’t royally mess up! It’s just a huge opportunity for us to show people what we can really do. As an opening act you don’t always get the chance to show all your different sides or your true colours. It will be very interesting to see how we’re received but we’re so looking forward to it.
rushonrock: Why is the UK still so important for US bands?
LH: It’s been a dream of ours forever to come over to the UK as a headline band and it’s hugely important to Halestorm. It’s just one of those things. US bands always hope they’ll be accepted by UK audiences because of the history of the music scene there and the knowledge of the fans. People in the UK have always liked Halestorm and it’s mutual – maybe when nobody else in the world likes us anymore we can still come over to the UK and play a few shows!
rushonrock: Descroibe this year’s Download experience?
LH: it was quite the honour for us to be invited back but this was our first real Download experience. In the past it was sunny, the weather was great and everyone was enjoying their beer. This year it was muddy and wet and I’d ruined my shoes by midday! But it made for an incredible experience. Everyone was so intense – it doesn’t what time of day you’re playing Donington or what stage you’re playing because everyone is ready to go. The festival has really influenced us over the years – both in the way we conduct ourselves and in terms of the songs we write. The rock culture is unique and it’s rubbed off on us. Rain or shine Download delivers.
rushonrock: What has been the biggest hurdle you’ve faced in your career?
LH: This entire business has its ups and downs. The most you can do as a musician is make sure that you keep moving forward even when things are a little confusing and even dark. It’s just about making sure that you can sell records and do the best that you can. We took about 19 months to make our first album. We lost our A&R guy and suddenly we’d been with Atlantic for five years without making them any money. We were worried about being dropped and wondering whether we’d ever get the chance to put that first record out or if we’d be stuck playing pubs for the rest of our careers. The biggest challenge is making sure that you recognise opportunities. We’ve had a lot of close calls. It’s important that you can always put one foot in front of the other and never lose sight of why you’re doing what you’re doing. A lot of bands fall apart when they lose sight of that and lose sight of each other.
rushonrock: Can you ever see yourself doing anything else other than being a singer in a rock n roll band?
LH: Well it’s still the best job in the world. Even in the darkest of times of it’s still a special thing. You can’t beat the felling that you get when you step on stage to play a gig.