The best thing in the world is just being able to be somebody’s inspiration.”
Lzzy Hale: Hello.
Wikimetal (Nando Machado): Hey, Lzzy.
LH: Hi, it’s Lzzy, how are you?
W (NM): Good, good. Thank you for your time. Are you ready to start?
LH: Absolutely, thank you so much.
W (NM): This is great. Halestorm has quite an unique story, you started playing with your brother at a very young age and you even played with your father in the early days of Halestorm. What is it like to play with family members and how important was this early experience as a preparation for your current success?
LH: Wow, my earliest experience was Halestorm. I mean, we started when I was 13, and my brother was 10 years old. And it really did solidify the base for what Halestorm is today. I think that the aspect of family, and my brother and I being able to work together and be so goal oriented with this band was really the reason that we’re still here, it’s the reason that we’re still a band, it’s because even having two other members that aren’t related to us, because of that feeling of family, everybody is automatically family and has that mentality. So it’s quite amazing actually, we’ve been talking about that a lot lately. Because, you know, we’ve been a band – this year it’ll be 10 years that the four of us – Joe, Josh, Arejay and I – have been together. And we definitely credit that to those early years of my brother and I playing everywhere and anywhere. And I think that’s definitely the reason that we’re still together and that we work so hard to do what we love everyday.
W (NM): Oh, this is great, and we are very happy with the success that Halestorm is achieving now, it’s really great. And how did you end up choosing Hard Rock as the main musical style for Halestorm?
LH: I like to blame my parents for that one, because my parents introduced me to a lot of 70s, 80s Hard Rock and Metal, so there was a lot of classic Rock growing up. Even though I’m a child of the 90s, I definitely primarily was always listening to songs from the 70s and the 80s, and bands like Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple, and Van Halen, all of those… I think that listening to that from such a small age became how I recognized Metal, and how I recognized Hard Rock. Because it’s very much still an influence of mine today. I think that listening to that kind of music growing up never really goes away, so I think that it was only natural to push my band – when we finally started Halestorm – in the Hard Rock direction.
W (NM): Oh, this is great, and I noticed a bit of an influence of these 80s bands as well… You have probably been influenced by these bands that you mentioned, but also the 80s Hard Rock bands, what people call now Hair Metal, like Poison or Mötley Crüe, or bands like that. Do you think there is still prejudice by the fans from both ways, like Heavy Metal when you play Hard Rock, and Hard Rock fans when you play heavier stuff?
LH: Yeah, it’s interesting, because the Hair Metal now is viewed very neutral, you know, as in: there are people in the Pop world that enjoy it, there are people in the Metal world that respect it. And I think that by having that influence, not being traditionally Metal, but not being all popular – we’re kind of always floating in the middle somewhere, and I think that that’s the reason why we’re able to open for bands like Megadeth and not get booed offstage. But also, we can open for other bands, for lighter bands as well, and still be accepted. So it’s really hard to categorize what we do, but for whatever reason, I think that we’re Halestorm, and I challenge any audience.
W (NM): That’s great. And do you change your set when you’re playing for Megadeth, or before a lighter band? Do you change, or do you do exactly the same set?
LH: Sometimes we do. We opened up for Megadeth a few times overseas, and for those shows, we basically always end up maybe cutting out a ballad. And maybe that night I won’t go to the piano.
W (NM): Well, I’m asking you that because the 80s were probably the most popular period for Hard Rock, and many Metal bands had ballads: Ozzy had great ballads, so there’s no reason for any kind of prejudice, I suppose.
LH: I agree completely. After we did that show, it’s funny, because one of the members of Megadeth actually asked me why we didn’t play a softer song, and I was like “You’re Megadeth, you’re heavy”, and they said “No, no, no, you could have played that song.” So next time we open up for somebody like that, I don’t think we will change too much.
I was always attracted to the power that came from certain women being on a stage and being intimidating. The 90’s was the opposite of that, a little too girly for me.”
W (NM): Yeah, that’s great. Halestorm was the first female-fronted band to top the rock airplay chart with the Love Bites So Do I. What is the importance of this achievement for you?
LH: Oh, isn’t it crazy? It’s very surreal for me, because, like I said before, that’s been my life since I was 13 years old, so the fact that we made it this far and there’s all these milestones that we hit that I never thought that we would ever achieve as a band… You always hope for that, you hope for the Grammy and you hope for toping charts and breaking down barriers, you always hope for that stuff, but you never think it’s actually going to happen, because it’s like winning the lottery, it’s luck and it’s opportunity, and it’s hard work, and hopefully all these things line up. But it’s very surreal to be holding that torch. And one of the most amazing things that came out of breaking some gender barriers and being a female on top of the charts, is that it’s inspired so many young girls that come to our shows to start a band. And that’s what they talk about, they say “Look, when we saw that you did this, it means that we can do it too.” And I’m telling you, that’s the best thing in the world: just being able to be somebody’s inspiration, and be somebody that people look up to. It’s something that I wish I had more of when I was growing up, I wish I had more bands, more female bands that I could say “Oh, yeah, I’m going to definitely be her!” So it’s very cool.
W (NM): Yeah, I was going to ask you that. There are three question that you already mentioned here: first, about winning a Grammy, especially when the other bands that nominated were Megadeth, Anthrax, Iron Maiden, Marilyn Manson and Lamb of God, I think. I guess it was an unbelievable night for you, right?
LH: Oh, absolutely! When we found out that we were nominated, that blew our minds, and we were just so beyond ourselves – it was unbelievable. And when that finally sunk in, and we said “OK, we’re nominated, so that means that we get to go, and we get to dress up and go to the red carpet…” You know, every little girl’s dream! “And we get to go to the parties and just have a good time.” But we told ourselves “We’re not going to win – look at our competition! They are our idols here, Megadeth, Anthrax, Iron Maiden, and our pears, Lamb of God” which is such an amazing band, and a lot of these bands actually inspired the songs that we were nominated for, so we didn’t think that we were going to win at all, to the point that we had absolutely nothing prepared – we had no notes, we had no thank you, nothing prepared! So when they said “The Grammy goes to…” and when we realized it was us, we freaked out! And everybody went running to the stage, and we were very unprofessional, and all we could hear was the screaming in our own heads. My brain was mush for the rest of the day. But it was an incredible honor, and it’s something that you never think is going to happen to your band, and… It’s too surreal, it’s still something that I hope that I can continue to work hard and live up to whatever it is that the Academy saw in us. It’s an honor because they recognized that we had been a band for a long time, and that we had been working so hard for so long. We were talking about that the other day, I think the Grammy is the validation that we’re not as crazy as we think we are.
W (NM): Changing the subject, Lzzy, we have a classic question on our show, that we guest: just imagine you’re listening to maybe your MP3 player on shuffle mode, or to a rock radio station, and then a song starts and you just go crazy, you lose your mind completely and you start head banging anywhere you are. Which song is that, so we can listen it now?
LH: Oh, if you want to know what that is, it’s actually the song that just came on the radio yesterday, “Turbo Lover”, by Judas Priest.
W (NM): You were talking about the models that you had, and there weren’t many girls in bands, but now there are so many girls in bands… Who are your biggest heroes and influences in Rock?
LH: My biggest Rock N’ Roll female heroes come from the generation before me. First Heart, the likes of Doro Pesch, and also Chrissie Hynde, The Pretenders, that type of thing. Very, very strong women, especially for that time. I was always attracted to the power that came from certain women being on a stage and being intimidating. Whereas, my generation, which was the 90s, was kind of the opposite of that, there was a lot of vulnerability, I think it was a little too girly for me. And I was trying to find a balance between things – yes, women are complex, and there’s a feminine element, but I was interested in finding a girl to look up to that was a badass, you know, that could hang with the boys, but still be proud of being a girl. So a lot of it, again, as I said before, was more from my parents’ generation, but I wish I had had more of my generation that stood up in the way that I felt should. But yes, you’re correct, there so many more now, and I’m just so lucky to be a part of this kind of exclusive club of girls rockers that are out, and we’re working on the road and we’re doing the best we can, and having great time doing it. It’s very encouraging, actually, because I think that because there are so many of us out there right now, I think that in the next generation of music, all those girls that are coming to our Rock shows, I think we’ll see even more girls fronting bands and playing in shows and rocking it out, letting it all hang out.
W (NM): Wow, this is great, we hope for the same. You are famous for the hard work and non-stop touring schedule. What can the Brazilian fans expect from this show on the 16th of June? Is it the first time you come to South America?
LH: Yes, it’s our first time in South America, our first time in Brazil, and I’ll tell you, to come to South America has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. I’ve always wanted to go, I’ve known a few other people that have gone, and now all of my friends that are in bands that have played, have informed me that you guys have the craziest rock fans that they’ve ever seen. So I’m going to have to tell you: what you can expect from us is: we’re going to let it all out on the stage, we’re going to leave nothing behind, and just pour our freaking hearts out, and just have a great time with you guys. And I have a feeling that it’s going to be one of those nights to remember. I know it’s definitely going to be a night that I will never forget, that I can put in my memory bag as one of my greatest memories. So I encourage all of you guys to just bring it, because that’s what we’re going to do!
W (NM): Yeah, we’ll be there for sure. And are you ready to do a second day, because I believe it will be a sold out show with these two bands playing together, and the venue is a venue for, like, 800 hundred people. So in case it’s a sold out show, are you ready to do a second night?
LH: I am always ready to do a second night. If it was up to me, I’d stay even longer. So I believe that this will not be the last time that we play there. I’m so excited, you have no idea, in fact I’m already packed!
I never thought that I would have the likes of Slash himself on one of my albums, so it’s definitely a wonderful thing.”
W (NM): Oh, that’s great, we’re very excited as well. And talking about the experience of singing with so many talented artists through the years, especially now, we have a song being played on the radio all the time here, that you recorded with Slash, a version of “Here’s to us”. Tell me about your partnership with Slash, I know you sang Guns N’ Roses’ songs with him before, what is it like to play with a guy that was a big idol for you when you were young?
LH: Oh, absolutely, he’s always been one of the few guitar players that have continued to inspire me since I was a kid. And what a nice dude, too. For any of you guys that have a chance to actually sit down and talk to him, he is the sweetest man in the world. But we got together of a covered EP, maybe a year and a half, almost two years ago. And on it, we covered Out To Get Me, which was the Guns N’ Roses’ song. And obviously he heard it, and then the next time that we played together, basically, he asked me if I wanted to sing with him, and of course, I’m freaking out inside, and it was amazing to be able to be on the stage with him. And we did that a couple more times over the course of the next couple years. And then, we were talking about what Here’s To Us means to us, and this song is kind of my personal anthem, I mean, I vote it for me and my band members, because we’ve been through so much together, so many ups and downs, so when we were talking about certain things that we wanted to do with this song, to promote, we said “You know, it’s not just us anymore, we have this extended family on the road.” And Slash is one of those guys that’s very close to our hearts, so we asked him to be a part of the song, and he didn’t even blink an eye, he was like “Absolutely”, and he came in and did it for us… We have another version as well, that has a couple more guest vocalists, that are our extended family, our road family. So it’s definitely amazing to – talking about milestones – I never thought that I would have the likes of Slash himself on one of my albums, so it’s definitely a wonderful thing.
W (NM): Well, it’s a privilege, and you deserve it. Can you chose a song now from Halestorm that we can listen to on the show?
LH: Oh, yeah, let’s play a deep track, let’s play Mz. Hyde.
W (NM): We’re almost reaching the end of our interview now. I want to thank you for your time, first of all, thank you also for taking Hard Rock and Metal to a mainstream level, where the bands can be interesting both commercially and also very popular. What can you say about the relationship you have with Adrenaline Mob? You also recorded a Duran Duran cover on their album, and what is it like to tour with these guys?
LH: Oh, I love these guys. Adrenaline Mob has been good friends of us since we began – even before then. I’ve been good friends with Mike Portnoy for quite a few years. We’ve exchanged numbers about three or four years ago, so it was such a neat thing. When we were recording this last record, I started getting calls from Mike Portnoy, and he asked me to do a duet with them, covering Duran Duran’s Come Undone, and I loved the song already, I was just so anxious to hear what they’d done to it, and they killed it. And if you guys haven’t seen Adrenaline Mob live yet, you have to. They are the most amazing live band, and what an incredible group of musicians, there’s just nobody slacking, there’s no blink in this band. The first time I saw them live, they inspired me so much, I thought “Wow, we’ve got to practice!” It’ll be a great time, and definitely we’ve been talking about pulling off some surprises for you guys.
W (NM): So can the fans expect some jamming between the bands?
LH: I think that we’re definitely going to do that.
W (NM): That’s great. Lzzy, thanks so much. First of all, congratulations on anything that Halestorm has achieved, and we know that the band will become more and more popular, so count on Wikimetal to promote everything you do, OK?
LH: Oh, thank you so much, and I cannot wait to see all you guys, and hopefully we get to meet in person. Maybe we’ll have a beer.
W (NM): Yeah, it’ll be great, we’ll be taking to the promoter here to make it happen, so we can also record a video interview. And welcome to Brazil in advance, and have a safe trip.
LH: Thank you, sweetheart, so much, I can’t wait.
W (NM): OK, Lzzy, thank you so much, it was really nice talking to you, and we look forward to seeing you here in São Paulo.
LH: It was so great talking to you to, thank you so much, darling.
W (NM): Thank you, bye, bye.
Listen to the full episode: