INTERVIEW – Lzzy Hale & Joe Hottinger of Halestorm

On April 14th Halestorm are going to reach new levels of artistry with the release of their album “Into the Wild Life.” They’ve got two solid albums, but where they’ve really made their mark is their live show. Recently I got the chance to chat with guitarist Joe Hottinger and front woman Lzzy Hale about the new album and capturing their live energy in the studio.

Joe on why their live show stands out.

“We do something that’s kind of different. We just play. Our version of entertainment is the four of us playing together. We love playing together. Lzzy is such a good damn singer. Arejay on the drums is a spectacle in and of it self. He’s like David Lee Roth and Animal’s Love child. “

Lzzy on what fans can expect from their live shows

“What you can expect is the absolute unexpected.”

I fell in love with Halestorm after seeing them live. I liked their studio work, but it was the live stuff that kept me coming back. Howard Benson was the producer on the first two albums and I think it’s fair to say that Halestorm wouldn’t be where they are today if it wasn’t for those albums. This time around they changed everything up including their producer and brought in Jay Joyce to work on the album.

Joe on working with Jay Joyce for the first time.

“Our A&R guy at Atlantic suggested Jay Joyce and we were like who? And Jay was like Hale who? Which is awesome. He became a fifth member of the band. “

“Into the Wild Life” is far and away the best Halestorm album to date and it’s one of the best album of the last few years. They went from being just another rock band to Halestorm with this album. The album is full of personality that’s gonna make it stand the test of time. 20 years from fans are going to be demanding they play this album in its entirety.

Joe & Lzzy on what makes “Into the Wild Life” so special.

“We wanted to break the gap between our live show and our recording without being a live record.” - Joe

“We recorded all the basic tracks live in this beautiful reformed church in Nashville…as a performance.”  We enjoy the imperfections. It was part of our mission statement on this record. It was to error on the side of ourselves and focus more on making moments and hearing the personality. On the last two records we made sure everything was in time, in tune, and layered properly. With this one we threw all of that away which is scary.” – Lzzy

“We learned the rules and then we threw that book out the window. I’m glad we did it this way. Some of my favorite records back in the day, the old Stones records, the Beatles records, you’d hear that stuff and it’s human. It’s not this insane computer based thing. I mean we used Pro tools and whatever, but you can choose to take the easy road and make it perfect or you can choose to spend the time and get the performance of it right. “ – Joe

“One of the reasons why we did “Slave to the Grind” on our covers EP back in the day is because I love that track. If you listen to that entire record, specifically that song by Skid Row it sounds like they were all hung over and decided to go in somewhere and just run through the song. Even if that wasn’t the case I love that feeling that comes across. It’s fun, it’s sloppy, it’s all over the place, but it rocks. We wanted to make a record that made us feel like that.” – Lzzy

“Into the Wild Life” is an album in the greatest sense. It’s meant to be listened to beginning to end. That said one of the stand out tracks on the album is “Dear Daughter.”

Lzzy on the inspiration for “Dear Daughter”

“Most of the songs I write start specifically in one direction and dove tail and become their own little monster. This song was sparked by a conversation that I had with my mother about a year ago. As parents do, even after all this time they question what their parenting methods were. My mom had this conversation with me. She called me up and asked me if she did a good job and what my perspective on that was. I said. ‘Mom thank you so much for letting me run away and join the circus.’ I’m so incredibly thankful that they were supportive of me and my brother starting a rock band. This is what I needed in my life. It’s the only thing I do well.  After that conversation I started thinking that if and when I have kids, specifically a daughter it took a lot of guts for my mom to encourage me to be a rock n roller as a girl. She’s had to literally live with her decision of letting her kid go through a very unpredictable and dangerous career path.

Will I be brave enough to let her do whatever she wants to do in life regardless of what that is? Then that evolved into me annoying everybody on twitter with a conversation of what did your parents say to you that you’re really appreciative of and also got into a conversation of what do you wish was said to you that you would absolutely tell your own child and encourage them to do. It was kind of all of those things that made this song up. I think it was important for me to put this song on the record because regardless of whether you’re a boy or a girl this is life and it’s hard to prepare a kid for life and tell them it’s going to be ok because you’ve been through it. It’s hard to see your kid go through the ups and downs. It’s an ode to my parents and a passing of the torch as well.

It was funny for me to show this song to my management and label because I almost thought they were going to turn around and give me a couple phone calls, ‘uh Lzzy do you have something to tell us? Is there a bun in the oven? That’s something we don’t need right now in the state of your career.’ I’m glad nobody took it that way.”

One thing I was really curious about was their motivation. “Into the Wild Life” isn’t a concept record, but it probably could have been if that had been the plan all along. The album flows together like a concept album, it  tells a story like a concept album, but it was all unintentional, it was one big happy accident.

Joe and Lzzy on the flow of the album.

We knew that some songs went together and in the studio we developed those transitions. The record wasn’t written like a story but the sequencing of the record is almost a story if you think about what each song is about and how it flows. It’s really cool. – Joe

It’s something that we weren’t really planning on but through the process it fell together really perfectly. Again this is another example of Jay Joyce’s chain-smoking rock star genius. He’s the kind of guy when you look at him you don’t think he’s paying attention to lyrics. Then all of the sudden we’re listening to the sequencing and we’re like oh my god this is a story. It was awesome. I’m so glad it turned out that way. We’re so proud that in a state of the music industry right now where everyone is freaking out about the state of rock n roll and what are we gonna do. Maybe we shouldn’t put out records any more maybe it should just all be singles. In that state we are truly proud to have done an album that is a snap shot of where we are in our lives right now. - Lzzy

The album comes out April 14th. It’s sure to be in my top ten albums of 2015. I can’t wait to see these songs translated live. I have a feeling that after we see these songs performed live in concert it is only going to enhance future listenings of this album. Catch Halestorm on tour with The Pretty Reckless. You can find all things Halestorm at 

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's also the cohost of the I Hate Critics Movie review podcast at He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at
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