Lzzy Hale, frontwoman of hard rock tempest Halestorm, radiates joy through the telephone from her rock n’ roll bunker on other side of the world. She’s bursting with excitement to chat with us, and talks like she’s got a smile permanently planted on her face. And what’s not to smile about? Her band have well and truly conquered the US, smashing rock chart records, playing on monster stages with some of the biggest bands on earth, and even scooping a Grammy award for their troubles. And now, they’re about to come to Australia for the very first time.
Armed with their third studio album, Into The Wild Life, Halestorm are set to make landfall Down Under this December. But don’t let their singer’s warmth and bubbly personality fool you: she’s got a voice that will rip your balls off.
We caught up with Corey Taylor’s adopted little-sister-in-rock Lzzy Hale to chat about recording with Stone Sour, about being “scary” and loud in an industry where most women are dreamy and demure, and about just what her band has planned for their maiden voyage to Australia.
Watch: Halestorm – Apocalyptic
Music Feeds: Hey Lzzy, so exciting – you guys are finally coming to visit us here in Aus. First off, what took you so long?
Lzzy Hale: I know! I agree actually, because I’ve been bugging everybody to let us go down there for so long, and it always seemed like it was about to happen, and we got all excited, and then – “No, we can’t do that yet!” And then we were gonna do Soundwave for a couple of years and that always fell through. [Either]there was something else that we had to do, or we were, like, making a record or something.
And now, finally, the dates are booked, we can’t get out of it for any reason, we’re going! (laughs) So it’s finally happening. And I’ve never even been to Australia to visit, let alone do a tour, so it’ll be my first experience with everything down there, so I’m super stoked.
MF: Has anyone given you a kind of heads up about what to expect?
LH: A lot of my friends – like all the Avenged Sevenfold guys – love it over there, and M. Shadows was telling me, “Look, the rock fans are awesome, you’re gonna have a great time, but you’re probably gonna be tired,” (laughs) “Because of the jet lag!”
And I was like “oh dude, I’ve gotten through jet lag before”.
I think you’ve gotta just soak it in, and let the excitement carry you, you know? I think we’re gonna be just fine.
MF: Is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to?
LH: I think… meeting a lot of different people. People are always awesome, that’s why I love travelling so much because – even across the States, from state to state – everyone’s got their own culture, and way that they do things, and talk, and the beer that they drink. So I’m excited to really just meet everybody and talk with people…
And there’s probably gonna have to be a few beers that I will have to sample because, you know, science. It has to be done. That, and I love trying new food and everything so I’m gonna try to eat some stuff I’ve never eaten before, it’s gonna be fun.
Obviously I’ve heard some things from my musician friends. But a lot of my musician friends aren’t necessarily as adventurous – (puts on a voice) “Oh, well I saw the hotel” – that does not help me! So I think I’m gonna try to explore a lot.
MF: So what have you guys got planned for your history-making first ever Aussie shows?
LH: My goodness, you’re in a very good place to be experiencing what we do for the first time because we have three albums under our belt and a bunch of EPs and I think we’re gonna end up just kind of throwing everything in, you know, everything and the kitchen sink.
And no one has experienced my little brother [Arejay Hale] yet. Literally, he’s a walking drum solo… He’s just legendary. You have to kind of see him and experience him to understand. So that’s gonna be fun. We’re just gonna have a good time together – it’s a rock show!
MF: And of course you guys released your 3rd studio album, ‘Into The Wild Life’ earlier this year… I understand you took a bit of a unique approach to recording this one?
LH: Yeah, we did. We – for lack of a more intelligent answer – just kind of said “fuck it” (laughs) and threw away everything that made us comfortable about making the first two records. The process… new producer, new town, new studio, new mindset.
I guess the one thing that sets this record apart from everything else that we’ve done is the way we recorded it. What we ended up doing, in an effort to bridge the gap between what people have seen at our live shows and what people have heard on the radio – without doing a live record – was we performed all of these songs in the studio, all at the same time.
We literally played live together standing in a circle – looking at each other, trying to screw each other up – and played these songs while we were being recorded from beginning to end. Just in an effort to kind of err on the side of making moments, and that human element, and making those kind of ‘happy mistakes’ that only happen when we’re all playing together, when we’re not trying to think too hard about getting our parts right (laughs).
And it’s funny because – with each song – sometimes it would be 30 takes, sometimes it would be two. But the bottom line is that – because we’re all recording together and all the mics are on – if one of us royally screws up, all of us have to do the whole song all over again (laughs).
It was really awesome, it was a great way to do it because we ended up – like I said – having a lot of these ‘happy accidents’ where, you know, when I listen to some of the songs where that happened, I can hear this hesitancy of like “I don’t know where we’re going guys”, which is kind of like what we do live every night! So it was neat.
I didn’t think that the four of us could get any closer as friends through this experience [but] we definitely rekindled this musical language and this love of playing together again, so it was a really cool experience.
MF: And please tell me you kept some form of blooper reel with all of the outtakes from the recording sessions?
LH: Oh absolutely, a lot of it is the makeup of the record! (Laughs)
MF: Oh hey and I heard you’re doing guest vocals on one of Stone Sour’s upcoming EPs?
LH: That is correct. They’ve been good friends of ours for years and just love them like brothers. I think it was Corey [Taylor] and Josh [Rand] – they said something to me after we first got to kind of meet them and tour with them – “You’re like our little sister, but in like rock n’ roll” and I’m like “Aw, that’s awesome!” because I feel like that when I’m around them.
So it was kind of a whim, they’re making this EP – all covers – and kind of getting it all close to the originals and everything. They’re spending so much time, I’m so freakin’ proud of them because it sounds amazing. And they were like, “Hey, we’re doing Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones, do you wanna do this girl part?” and I’m like, “Are you kidding me? That’s awesome!”
I’ve always wanted to sing that part, it’s just one of those monumental classic rock songs. So yeah, I went over and did it, and thankfully everybody liked it and it was a fun experience. So I can’t wait for everybody to hear it.
MF: And we saw your performance of [Temple Of The Dog’s] Hunger Strike with Corey at the APMA’s too which was just tops!
LH: Oh thank you so much. Dude, it’s such a pleasure always to sing with Corey. I consider him one of the great voices of our generation and it’s always a pleasure because I always know he’s gonna bring it. He’s not gonna bring down the song at all, he’s always gonna bring it (laughs) he keeps me on my toes.
MF: So Lzzy, something else that we really wanted to ask you is what it’s been like to go against the grain at a time where the norm for most female vocalists is to have these kind of dreamy, delicate, almost waif-like voices? Do you ever feel like the industry is scared of strong, powerful female vocalists?
LH: It’s definitely a rarity. When I was first coming up in the scene in my home state of Pennsylvania in the US, there were only two types of chicks. You know, there were the chicks who kind of wanted to be in a rock band but – again – had this kind of waifish voice, and then there were the girls who wanted to be Jewel.
But my driving force when I was a teenager was always to stand out. I was never one to follow the trends, and that was almost obsessively – and you know, my parents will tell ya, there’s a fine line between determination and obsession, and I don’t know which one I fell [into].
But yeah, I think that it’s a little frightening because girls approach heavy music differently than guys, because we do it for different reasons. We’re not doing it to get the chicks or the fast cars or whatever the stereotype of male rockstars is, we’re doing it for a deeper purpose. I feel like, for me personally, this type of music was always my form of rebellion and my form of therapy, like, this is how I figure my stuff out, you know what I mean? This is how I figure my shit out, through this. And that makes it personal.
We have to go against the grain so much harder as women, especially girls of my generation – and obviously our parents’ generation – were not necessarily brought up and taught that “Oh, no, you should totally go into this industry that’s unpredictable, drug-laden, STD-laden!” There is a lot of trouble and it’s not a guarantee, it’s a risk.
And everyone’s fine and encourages the boys to take the risks. But for us to step up and take the risks, it takes this internal fire that is scary for people. It’s hard for people to accept because, again, it’s almost like you become this nuisance (laughs) you know? Cause you have to be louder than everybody else and you have to work twice as hard, that is the way it is. To do what we love and to go after something [when] there’s no rulebook.
So yeah, there is still that fear, combined with people around you saying, “You know what? Maybe you should just go for the waify voice and play it safe and follow the radio [because] there’s a better guarantee”.
I dunno, I’ve made it kind of a life mission to encourage every girl that I meet to go for the scarier… (laughs) let’s go for broke here, you know? If you’re gonna do it, do it loud.
MF: Right on. Is there anything else you’d like to add before we let you go?
LH: Last but not least, just thank you so much for allowing us to come. This is a first for me and one of those things that I’ve dreamt about since I was a kid – coming to Australia.
Because of all of you guys – buying the CD and the T-shirts – that makes us able to do this. The reason that we’re here is because of you guys, so thank you.
Halestorm kick off their debut Australian tour this December, to celebrate the release of their third studio album ‘Into The Wild Life’. See dates below.
Watch: Halestorm – Amen
Halestorm Australian Tour Dates
Tuesday, 8th December 2015
170 Russell, Melbourne
Tickets: Live Nation
Wednesday, 9th December 2015
The Gov, Adelaide
Tickets: Live Nation
Friday, 11th December 2015
Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
Tickets: Live Nation
Saturday, 12th December 2015
Anu Bar, Canberra
Tickets: Live Nation
Sunday, 13th December 2015
Manning Bar, Sydney
Tickets: Live Nation
Tuesday, 15th December 2015
The Tivoli, Brisbane
Tickets: Live Nation