"Halestorm joins Avenged Sevenfold and Disturbed for Rockstar Uproar." - Interview

The Rockstar Uproar Festival (photos) is in full swing and the headlining bands, Avenged Sevenfold (review) and Disturbed (review), are reaping the rewards with a great opening band that is making its own name for itself. That band is Halestorm (review), fronted by the dazzling Lzzy Hale. Halestorm, which consists of siblings Lzzy and brother/drummer Arejay, guitarist Joe Hottinger and bassist Josh Smith, has a great self-titled album with a hard rock feel to it. Joe Hottinger recently stopped by to talk about the band and what it is like opening for A7X and Disturbed.

Q - The band has been together for more than 10 years. How did this decision come about?

A - Funny you ask! We actually had a meeting when the band was formed. In this meeting the question was posed, "Should we be a band for less than 10 years or more than 10 years?" We chose "more than 10 years." And here we are! Seriously though, this is what we want to do and what we love to do. No matter what happens, we just love playing music and that's what we'll do, as long as we are able.

Q - Being together for so long, have there ever been any thoughts to quit or do something else from yourself or any of the members?

A - No. We all started our interest in music at the same time. Before Josh and I joined Halestorm, we were the ones in our bands that were driven, booking shows and getting it done. When we joined Halestorm every member of the band had this drive. We still have it. It's what keeps us going.

Q - You're currently on tour with Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold and Stone Sour for the Rockstar Uproar Festival. How did you get involved with this tour?

(Photo by Phil Mucci)

A - This tour is amazing. We have never toured with any of these bands before. We got the opportunity because of John Reese, the guy who owns/runs Uproar and other tours. He asked for us to be on the tour. Who are we to say no to such a great guy?

Q - I saw your performance during the Chicago stop and I thought the crowd had an unexpected surprise with how great you performed. It seemed that the majority of fans were waiting for Avenged Sevenfold and Disturbed. What did you see from the crowd's reaction?

A - The crowds are definitely showing up for Avenged and Disturbed. That's why we are so happy to be on this tour. We have never toured with these bands before so it's the perfect opportunity to play for a different set of music fans. We design our set to twist people around. When Lzzy starts out the show a cappella signing "I’m in love with somebody..." at a metal show, all the people that haven't seen us before are thinking "oh great..." then the song slams in with the whole band playing a really heavy riff and they are taken by surprise. We try to put a few moments like that in an opening set to keep the crowd interested and wanting more when it’s done.

Q - During your set Arejay (Hale) broke into a drum solo while the rest of the band brought out garbage cans and played them like drums. How did this come about?

A - We have been doing a full band drum solo for years now. It's become one of those things for us that if we don't do it at a show, we get angry letters from people that came to see it. So, we keep changing it up as often as we can to keep the show moving forward.

Q – What has the band learned from a tour this big?

A - We are learning from Avenged and Disturbed how to use amazing production to enhance an already great rock show. I can only hope to one day be able use pyro the way these bands are using it.

Q - The front woman Lzzy Hale has one of those rocker voices and energies about her such as Joan Jett does. What does Lzzy bring to the band that would not be existent if there were a male lead singer?

A - She brings a fierce presence and confidence that I think takes people by surprise. You hardly ever see a woman with as much talent and stage presence and I'm glad she's doing it. It makes my job easier. :)

Q – Who were Halestorm’s influences starting out?

A - I know Lzzy and Arejay were brought up on a lot of classic rock. Josh and I started getting into music because of 90's rock. Grunge. Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden. Those were the bands that got me interested in music and wanting to play.

Q – How do you incorporate influences while maintaining individuality?

A - Learning from my influences has helped me find my individuality. When I was just starting out playing guitar, I would learn songs note for note. After awhile you learn a little something from each song that blends together to make up your own individual style. Learning from different artists that influence you gives you your own personal ingredients that make you individual.

Q – Congrats on the tour and best of luck to you. Is there anything you wanted to add?

A - Thank you! Yes, head over to www.Halestormrocks.com and check out our new video for "Familiar Taste of Poison." We are really proud of the video. It's a murder mystery set in 40's film noir. If you love the song, check out the "Familiar Taste of Poison" EP on iTunes. There is the album version, radio edit, a live version from our soon to be released live DVD and the new video all for $2.99. Check it!!!


Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at jason@zoiksonline.com.

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