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INTERVIEW WITH LZZY HALE OF HALESTORM
By Rebecca Kane
Lzzy Hale from Halestorm is a force to be reckoned with. Her band is the first ever female fronted group to top the rock radio format. Halestorm is touring in support of their latest album The Strange Case of…Halestorm. Their album has also drawn critical acclaim, with Billboard praising the collection as “full of chugging riffs, wailing solos, drums that kick like a boot to the gut, and never-out-of-style soft/loud dynamics that lead to massive choruses.”
Lzzy dishes to CoolGrrrls about her weird tastes in food, the pyrotechnics that melted her dress while on stage, and the best advice she ever got while opening for Ronnie James Dio. This girl seems to have done it all and she’s just getting started.
Rebecca- “How does it feel to be the first ever female fronted group to top the rock radio format?”
Lzzy- “OMG, it’s so crazy. Especially in the last few weeks because everyone is calling me.I kept thinking, are you sure…it’s got to be somebody else. I had to get confirmation from the Head of Radio at Atlantic Records, before I believed it was true. It’s very humbling and very cool. My mother was so thrilled. She’s like, “My baby’s making history!”
Rebecca- (Laughs) “That’s awesome! Congratulations on that achievement. On your album Reanimate, how did this idea come about to record cover songs?”
Lzzy- “At that point in time, we had been touring for three and a half years in support of our last record. We had no new material coming out because we were touring all the time. We wanted to be able to do something that we wanted, but it had to be fast. We literally had six days to record, and the great thing about it was a lot of those songs ended up inspiring our new songs.”
Rebecca- “I can see you covering the Gun’s and Roses, Temple of the Dog and Heart, but what made you decide to cover the Beatles?”
Lzzy- “That was a special one because when the guys and I first got together to record, we wanted to jam on something to loosen up. We picked that tune we could all play, and it was so such a cool moment because it was perfect for all of us. We could jam and it was magic that we were creating. We hadn’t actually played the song since then, and so we wanted to commemorate and record the song, with the sound of the band.”
Rebecca- “I was at your show when you kicked off the Mass Chaos Tour in Augusta, Georgia. You totally connected with the audience, and you mentioned that you had missed being on tour. What was it about touring that you missed?”
Lzzy- “You know, I think that touring is easy, and real life is hard. (Laughs). When you are making a record, it’s an emotional experience and you are trying to get the songs right. There’s a lot of hurry up and wait. It gets to the point where I feel if we can just get out on tour, everything will fall into place. You get to see new places every day, and you get to see people. When you are touring, you are also playing every day. It’s one of those things that I want to do as long as I can. Even if they have to wheel me up in a wheelchair, I’d still want to do it.”
Rebecca- “Do you ever get nervous when you get on stage, or is that something that doesn’t really happen anymore?”
Lzzy- “Not so much. I still get anxious, like okay, lets go. You just want the show to start and get into it. You can ask any of the guys, I get dressed really early, and they are like, you know we have an hour. (Laughs).
On this record we have a vocal piano performance, and I haven’t played since I was about sixteen years old. We just played it for the first time live, about a week and a half ago. It actually felt a little bit like piano recital. I was a little nervous about that. I love playing a rock show, because you never know what’s going to happen.”
Rebecca- “Do you have any secret cravings that you get on the road?”
Lzzy- “I do have this weird food craving and everyone’s grossed out by it. I love making avocado and banana smoothies. I blend them together so they become like a pudding. It’s actually really good! At least to me, anyway. (Laughs). Every time I offer something to my little brother, I’m like, taste it, it’s good. He always says, do you think it’s good, or does the rest of the world think it’s good?
Something that I miss while I’m on the road is my bicycle. I really need to try to find a way to bring that on board. A lot of my satisfaction comes from seeing something different every day.”
Rebecca- “Do you have an unforgettable tour memory that your mind always wanders back to?”
Lzzy- “I got kissed on the cheeks by two girls at a meet and greet once. That is a favourite memory of mine, although my cheeks were a little wet after. (Laughs). They were really sweet.
Another cool memory is that we got to play Japan last year. That was an awesome experience. The people there are so giving and loving. They showed up at our hotel with presents and t-shirts. I thought, how did they know who we were, since we had never been over there. They were great to us.
One time we ended up playing in New Jersey, and we opened up for Ronnie James Dio before he passed. That was a great moment as well. We all got to hang out with him.”
Rebecca- “I love the concept behind Hello, It’s Mz. Hyde, being that you have two different personalities. In today’s day and age, most artists end up releasing singles and you don’t see too many concept albums anymore. Have you started writing the next album, and would you stick to the concept album idea?”
Lzzy- “I think I was in more to the concept album idea when I was younger, around fifteen. I remember writing about a guy that lived in an elevator and shows you all your past mistakes so you can confront them. I don’t know why, but that was where my mind was at.
We have already started writing for the next record, because when there is something in your head, you just have to get it down or you’ll kick yourself later. I’m in that phase right now, compiling new ideas. Sometimes I’m a bit of an eavesdropper, I like great one liners. (Laughs). It could be anybody’s conversation, guys or girls, when you overhear what happened to them that day, it helps inspire me.”
Rebecca- “I read that you made home made explosives that would go off in your face while you were on stage. Is this true?”
Lzzy- “Well, this tells you how cool my parents are. My dad made these explosives, and used just had a little bit of gunpowder, or something like that. He would just use a tiny bit. We would get special paper and light it. My dad’s pretty handy with mechanical and electrical stuff. It was actually a horrible idea because we had them set up to the front and side of the stage. When it was time, he would ignite them. I’d be singing and they would go off right in front of me. They were really hot and I remember thinking that I had burned all my eyebrows off.”
Rebecca- “Did you ever have to stop, drop and roll?”
Lzzy- (Laughs) “I will say that it did melt my dress. At the time, I was into wearing these old wedding dresses that I would cut up and wear on stage. This particular dress I had on was a wedding dress, and thank god they are made to melt and not go up in flames. It just kinda melted on me and didn’t ignite. That’s when my mother put her foot down and said, no more pyrotechnics. Then that unfortunate Great White incident happened and clubs were putting a stop to it anyway. That’s one of the last times we added pyrotechnics. I was thinking, let’s not do it again until we can afford a team that can actually set everything up safely.”
Rebecca- “You need to keep those fire extinguishers handy!”
Lzzy- (Laughs) “For sure!”
Rebecca- “Congratulations for making Revolver Magazine’s “Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock” calendar cover this year! How does it feel to be the Hottest Chick in Hard Rock?”
Lzzy- “It is really flattering, actually. Even my grandmother is very proud that her granddaughter is now a calendar girl.”
Rebecca- “Did they tell you that you made the cover, or was that something you found out later on?’
Lzzy- “No, that was a surprise. I had done a shoot for them because they were doing a piece on girls that rock. I had already been flattered that they picked me for that. It turns out my publicist didn’t even know about it. When I got the picture, I was like, wait a minute! That looks like the cover! OMG it’s me! (Laughs). I sent calendars to everyone, my mom, and so forth. It’s really cool.
Revolver is a great magazine. They are a great outlet for female musicians. They are one of the few that really do open up doors for us. Even if it’s the Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock that opens the door, what’s within is the articles inside. They have given a lot of exposure for women in rock. I was just talking to them about that the other day. We may have a sexy photo shoot, but when you open up the pages, you will read all about our band, where we are going to be playing, and they give us a lot of exposure in the articles. To me, that’s my perfect balance.”
Rebecca- “Do you have a secret talent that nobody knows about?”
Lzzy- “I like to sew and I make my own jewelry. I can do a one-handed hand clap, but I don’t know if you would call that a talent. (Laughs). I have been doing the sewing and working with junk and metal things for a while. When you are driving for fourteen hour sessions, you’ve got to keep your hands busy…plus I have trouble sitting still. (Laughs). I make jewelry for the guys, and I like the aspect of recycling things. A pair of pants becomes shorts, shorts becomes a skirt, a skirt becomes part of a jacket. I have a trunk full of stuff that I’ve acquired on the road. It’s my own pay it forward recycling program. (Giggles).
Rebecca- “That’s really cool. What’s the best advice you were ever given?”
Lzzy- “Oh wow. Hmmmmm….it’s going to have to come from Ronnie James Dio. This is really something that I took to heart. We got to play with him in Atlantic City, New Jersey. We got to hang with all the guys from Black Sabbath, including Ronnie. He was amazing. We were walking out of the coliseum one night, and there was probably around thirty people at his bus waiting to get autographs. He walked over to the bus and signed everybody’s anything, whether it was a t-shirt, poster, or pictures. He did not stop until everybody got everything that they needed signed.
He came back over to me and apologized for the delay. I told him that it was totally cool. I’m sure his fans would understand if he was just tired and wanted to go to his bus. I mean, he’s been in this business for over forty years. Then he said to me, “When your fans are standing there, you may not be able to remember their names or their faces, but they will remember this moment for the rest of their lives. You better make it good for every single one of them.”
I thought that was great advice for interacting with fans, even the crazy ones, you know what I mean? It’s important to give everybody their time. They may be taking the time to wait hours by your bus waiting for you to come out, or maybe they are waiting in line to buy tickets, or driving six hours to see a thirty minute set. You have to give them what they came for.”
Rebecca- “I think that’s awesome advice.”
Lzzy- “I really want to thank you, because it’s outlets like CoolGrrrls, that translate something powerful about being a female in rock music. In this industry you have to find your own path, and you need outlets to help do that.”
Rebecca- “Lzzy, just keep on doing it and kicking those doors down!”
Lzzy- “Thank you, Sweetheart. Hope to see you soon, since we will be on tour forever.” (Laughs)
Talking with Lzzy, I was reminded about how far women have come in the music industry. It’s still a man’s world, but musicians like Lzzy Hale, who take charge of their own destiny and arm themselves with a positive attitude, are breaking down the barriers. She is proving that Halestorm can truly cause some serious long-term damage.