Halestorm is quickly becoming one of my favorite newer bands. The first time I saw them live was on the Uproar tour with Avenged Sevenfold and Disturbed. I had gone to that show wanting to catch Hell Yeah not knowing much about Halestorm. Unfortunately the Hell Yeah set overlapped a little bit with the Halestorm set, so I only caught the tale end of their set and they did this cool drum thing that caught my attention. Immediately I went home and started looking shit up on you tube and a fan was born.
I was sent to cover The Carnival of Madness stop in Bridgeview Illinois at Toyota Park. The weather was gloomy, but I thought for sure the show would go on. New Medicine and Cavo played their entire sets when Halestorm took the stage and performed like a headliner. It seemed like the rain only made them play better. Unfortunately the weather was starting to get out of control and during Halestorm’s final song the plug was pulled and the rest of the concert was cancelled. While it sucks for the fans that came out to see Chevelle and Evanescence it was still a pretty cool experience that none of us will ever forget…for better or worse. Fortunately for me I got the chance to hang out in Halestorm’s dressing room and chat with the band. I highly recommend listening to the audio interview, which you can find below this paragraph. Otherwise enjoy the interview.
Zoiks!: How’s the tour going so far?
Lzzy Hale (LZ): So far its great man, every body is really cool.
Arejay Hale (RJ): So far so good.
Joe Hottinger (JH): We’re actually in the homestretch we have a few shows left, which is going to be a bummer because everybody has been awesome and having so much fun. Some of the best times ever have been hanging with Evanescence.
RJ: There are no egos; all the bands get along really well. They all take care of us really good, it’s awesome. And Amy Lee gets to sing with Lzzy.
LZ: Vice versa actually, I get to sing with Amy.
Z!: How did that come about?
LZ: It’s funny, we had talked in the beginning of the tour, ‘oh we should do something.’ What would we do? Do we do a cover? Do I come out during her set? She came up to me, I think it was two weeks in and said, ‘I’m obsessed with your song “Break In” right now.’ I was like, ‘thanks so much.’ Then she said, ‘I know all of your parts, all the backing parts and everything.’ I was like ‘sweet that’s awesome. Then she said, ‘this is going to sound really weird and please feel free to say no, but do you think I could come up during that song and sing it with you.’ ‘Of course, this is awesome.’ We didn’t have a whole lot of time to rehearse. We literally ran through it once before our show in El Paso, right before the doors opened. It was perfect. I told her, queue insane crowd noise. She was like, ‘oh I don’t know.’ ‘No seriously they’re going to freak when you walk out on stage.’
JH: And they did
LZ: They did, we couldn’t hear each other for the first four lines.
Z!: You mentioned egos earlier and you’ve been on other big tours, has that been something you’ve encountered a lot of?
LZ: There have been a few, but we’ve been really lucky.
RJ: Sometimes there’s one person or two people that’ll make it a bummer for everybody.
LZ: Yeah usually Arejay.
JH: And the worst that it has gotten is that they don’t hang out or something, which is fine.
LZ: Now after doing a couple of headlining tours and with how crazy things are, I actually respect a lot of that now. They’re not yapping all night, they’re not staying out till 4 am. They’re taking care of their business and I have a newfound respect for that.
JH: What makes this tour so cool is that everyone hangs out.
Z!: You’ve gotten to tour with a lot bands, is there anybody you haven’t toured with that you’d like to tour with?
JH: Foo Fighters would be fun.
LZ: Foo Fighters would be awesome.
RJ: Stone Temple Pilots would be cool.
LZ: We know Wolfie Van Halen so it’d be really cool to tour with Van Halen at some point. We’d get into a bunch of trouble with him I’m sure. Metallica we haven’t toured with yet. It’s been really cool. We’ve gotten to tour with and open for most of the people on our bucket list.
RJ: I would love some day to tour with Evanescence (laughs) Oh wait it’s a dream come true.
Z!: What’s the different between your onstage personas and you?
RJ: No different.
LZ: Arejay’s is not different. He’s the same on stage as he is off stage and it’s perfect.
RJ: I think we’ve all become our characters a little bit over the years.
JH: There’s definitely offstage Lzzy and onstage Lzzy. There’s Mz Hyde up there.
LZ: The switch gets flipped. Even when I was a kid I was an extremely shy child. It took being in this band to bring me out of that. Yeah, I don’t know, something happens when you walk out on stage and you’ve got your freaking big girl boots on.
JH: I know when I put my big girl boots on...crazy.
LZ: It’s fun, you dress up a little bit and you get to be an amplified version of yourself. There’s normal me and then there is me on Rock n Roll crack up there.
Z!: What is your bands songwriting process?
LZ: It happens a couple of different ways. I’m the token lyricist, but sometimes the guys will throw something out there where I’m like, ‘that is brilliant, we’re putting that in the song.’ There’s no real formula for how we do things. Sometimes it starts with a melody sometimes it starts with a line, sometimes with a riff sometimes with a drum groove. Especially when we were making this record, it was all over the place. We were chasing over whatever got us excited.
JH: Josh (Smith) wrote all the lyrics to “American Boys.”
Josh Smith (JS): I did, I have a special place in my heart for boys from America.
RJ: I wrote “You Call Me a Bitch Like it’s a Bad Thing.”
Z!: You (Lzzy) were on the Adrenaline Mob “Omerta,” how did that all come about?
LZ: We had met Mike Portnoy when he was touring with Avenged Sevenfold, we were out on that tour with them. We exchanged numbers, but didn’t really talk until we were in California making our record. Then all of the sudden I started getting all of these missed calls from Mike Portnoy when we were in the studio. He would call at the most inappropriate times (laughs). Then he called Arejay and was like, ‘can I talk to your sister.’
RJ: I was pretty much Lzzy’s secretary between Mike Portnoy and Lzzy.
LZ: He was telling me about this Duran Duran song they wanted to cover, “Come Undone.” You asked if I knew that song and I was like, ‘yeah and I’m really interested to see what you guys will do with it.’ So he sent me the song and Russell had sung all the parts. He said do whatever. So I sang everything thing and said you pick. I ended up doing it in my engineer’s basement then sent it to them with my figures crossed hoping they liked it. It was so cool. It was such a neat experience because Arejay has been the only real drummer I’ve played with, so it was really cool to play against the styling of Mike Portnoy who has a complete style all to his own. It was actually really difficult to sing to it, I learned a lot.
RJ: He’s incredible.
LZ: It was like, ‘wait a minute, I have to accent that hit.’
RJ: It was really weird hearing it, because I was use to Lzzy singing to a drummer that is a little more beast like than technical. Getting to watch him play with Avenged Sevenfold was really cool. That whole style is something I’m not used to, it was pretty inspirational.
LZ: We haven’t done it live yet, but that’ll probably happen in the future.
BYLINE: Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.