Dear rockers, the storm has arrived to Spain. With a breath of fresh air full of rock n' roll, attitude, energy, nerve, sensuality, audacity... and above all, with tons of talent. Their name is HALESTORM, a quartet from Pennsylvania that is sweeping America and spreads more and more around the rest of the world, at unstoppable speed.
The release of their second album `The Strange Case Of...´ a few months ago, established them as one of the most promising bands in the worldwide rock scene, but the Hale siblings have been making their rock sound loud for more than fifteen years. Elizabeth (Lzzy) and Arejay Hale were only 13 and 10 years old respectively, when she raised her voice and he grabbed the drumsticks to form the band that today is complete with guitarist Joe Hottinger and Josh Smith on bass.
Since then, nothing could resist this band: they are able to break records, break the pop charts, sell out tickets wherever they go and make their addictive songs sound where you least imagine.
She has made history, has collaborated with big artists and even has her own Gibson Signature guitar. She introduces herself as the rock n' roll Joan of Arc, the queen of broken hearts... but half the world is speaking of her as the woman that rock music has been waiting for a long time.
Hello, Mz. Hyde... Lzzy Hale!
First of all, huge CONGRATULATIONS on the well deserved success `The Strange Case Of´ is having!
In fact, the first single "Love Bites (So Do I)" went nº1 on the Active Rock Charts, something that had never happened before with a band led by a woman... How does it feel to make history?
- I feel very honored and humbled to be waving that flag! And since that was announced, I've gotten so many letters from girls who have been inspired by that news. That makes me so proud to be a part of the next generations inspiration.
We could say Arejay and you were "born to rock", for the ages you both had when the band was formed. What is the earliest memory you have of being interested in music?
- Some of my earliest memories of being moved by music was sitting at my parents piano as a small child and tinkering out little songs I made up for my infant brother. I always had a connection to music and songs, even though at the time I'm sure I didn't know what it all meant.
I learned to play by ear, and write by feel.
The earliest songs are totally different from HALESTORM's current sound, how has the songwriting process changed over the years?
- I learned to play by ear, and write by feel. The only thing that has changed regarding my songwriting process is that now I am doing it for a living, and with that comes more pressure for hit songs. But I've never followed a formula, songs start and end differently every time and no song is the same twice.
Returning to the present, `The Strange Case Of´ seems to be a pretty bipolar album. Harder than the previous, but with a softer side too. What was exactly what you were looking for?
- 2011 was the year of change for me, my life was kind of being pulled in a few different directions. I was writing constantly and decided to take a chance on a few songs, and NOT be the super hero. This album was my way of letting both sides of myself coexist. There's still a young woman inside of me who still enjoys being called Elizabeth, and playing piano ballads. I think the Mz Hyde side of me was born from wanting to be a rockstar and a leader, and after I found my power, I suppressed my softer side. This album we see her coming into the light, standing equally as tall as my tough side. Bottom line, this record was therapy for me, and I came out on the other side for the first time being perfectly clear in my head about who I am and what I want.
I also think it is important to encourage all of the men and woman who are boss's or leaders, to not be ashamed to cry or have a softer side.
Recently, one of the tracks from the album was covered on Glee, a show with worldwide audience. Most of its viewers are people who are not familiar with rock music. Do you feel like your song ("Here's To Us") has contributed to introduce younger generations to this genre?
- Yes! Definitely! That show introduced us to so many kids who wouldn't normally seek a band like us out. The best thing is that now we are getting such a great mix of fans at our shows. You see both horns and hearts in the air!
Some great songwriters have collaborated on both of your albums. One of the best known is Ben Moody... What was your experience working with Ben? Would you consider working with him again in the future?
- Ben is a crazy man. He is so talented, and is as reckless as he is talented. We hit it off instantly, and between the two of us actually wrote about twelve songs together, only one of which made out record ("Innocence"), but I would definitely write with him again!
Many people knew about Halestorm thanks to your amazing cover of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" , because it has been well known internationally. And another song included on the same EP recently gave you the chance to sing with Slash. It Seems like `ReAnimate´ brought with it many good things for the band, how do you feel about that?
- It was so freeing to record all of these great songs on that EP! We actually grew as songwriters by having to breakdown the greats and rebuild them in our own way. I think it's something we will definitely do again!
You guys have toured with many important bands... At the moment you're sharing the stage with Evanescence, Cavo, New Medicine and Chevelle. How is it going?
- Everyone on this tour is amazing! Everyone hangs out every night with each other, and is very chill.
Amy Lee is my partner in crime on this tour. Since neither of us really get the chance to tour with other females, we are seriously making up for lost time and squeezing in every moment of girl time we can! The magic has shown through when she joins me every night on stage singing our song "Break In"!
Also the opener New Medicine are my favorite new band right now!
What songs from this album are you specially enjoying playing live? Do you feel attachment to any particular song?
- Right now my two favorites are: "I Miss The Misery", because Joe and I rip intro lead guitars together in the love intro... And "Break In", is emotional every night.
After all these years being on tour, playing lots of shows... what are the most unforgettable memories you have?
- Every night is different and every night is special. I keep a journal, and it's great to look back on our progression over the years and relive some of the memories we've had with each other!
Some of the most unforgettable ones are: Going to Japan, for the first time; going on our first headlining tour; having the opportunity to create and release a second record; hearing our song on the radio for the first time, etc... It's all about the journey and the milestones for us. With everyday comes new adventures! And there's something to be said, about doing what you love all around the world, with the people that you love!
I don't regret any decision I've made regarding my dreams. When it comes to making your dream a reality, giving up is not an option.
The bravery of your lyrics combined with your killer attitude on stage leaves no one indifferent. I heard that years ago you were a shy girl... but I can hardly believe it! How did you become such a confident frontwoman?
- I was very quiet and very shy as a kid. It wasn't until the band started when I was 13 that I began to come out of my shell. I loved front men and women like Freddy Mercury, Dio, David Lee Roth, Pat Benatar and Alice Cooper who could captivate an audience. I was frustrated because I wanted to be them so badly!
One if my tricks I used to try and snap out of it was a "staring match" technique. I would pick out one person in the audience and look them directly in the eye until they looked away... I guess it was intimidating to most people because I'd almost always win. The eye contact was my connection to the audience, and it slowly but surely gave me the confidence to own the stage.
Furthermore, Arejay seems to be a complete showman on the drums. In some videos we can see him playing upside down in a rotating drum kit, playing with giant drumsticks, kicking the cymbals... Do you think it's important to entertain the crowd or is it just his personality?
- I think it is very important to not only entertain the crowd, but also, each other while on stage.
But my brother is a special case, he is an entertainer on and off stage.
From birth to now, from morning til night, he is a fireball! I'm so proud of him! He is a natural born showman. And it doesn't stop when the show's over.
You guys fought hard for your dreams. Becoming musicians was a risky choice for two teenagers, knowing how difficult is to make a living from music. Have you ever seriously thought about giving up?
- It's no more difficult than trying to be a successful Olympian or doctor or lawyer. If you want it as badly as we did, and still do... you work hard, and make sacrifices. To be good at anything there's a lot of risk involved.
People ask me sometimes if I regret not living a normal life because of music. I always respond with a resounding NO. I don't regret any decision I've made regarding my dreams. I've lived more than most people twice my age... and I've never once thought about giving up. When it comes to making your dream a reality, giving up is not an option.
If you love and are proud of what you do, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of you.
Lzzy, you have one of the best voices I've heard in my life, you play guitar and keyboards, you write your own songs... undoubtedly, you make me really proud to be a "daughter of darkness". But your name usually appears on the lists of the hottest chicks in rock and metal... Is the rock world still sexist? What do you think of the comparisons between female musicians?
- I don't get caught up in all of that... I remember my mother telling me when I was young that "nobody knows your story but you"; and "if you love and are proud of what you do, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of you". I still live by this today.
Bottom line is I am my biggest critic and as long as I continue to strive to be great at what's do, I can allow myself to dress in the short skirts and high heels. Sex and rock n' roll has gone hand in hand since the beginning. You just have to make sure you have something to back it up. Sex should be the icing on the talent cake.
Let me flip it around for a second... Freddy Mercury, David Lee Roth, and Tom Keifer all dressed sexy, but they were amazing singers, frontmen and musicians... therefore no one could ever say they were just riding on sex. Most of us girls in rock are the same.
What are the future plans for HALESTORM? Is there any chance of you guys coming to Spain anytime soon?
- It is a dream of mine to come to Spain! We definitely are planning on it! So keep your eyes peeled.
Next is a European headlining tour, going to Russia for the first time, and finishing up the tour in Japan. After that we come back to the USA for a west coast headlining tour. There's no end in sight for touring... we will be on the road for a while!
Thank you very much for your time, and my best wishes for the future! Any last words you'd like to add?
- I would like to thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me! I cannot wait to come to Spain!
Thank you to everyone in your lovely country for their love and support, and all the messages on Twitter!
My pleasure, Lzzy. It was a great honour for me to interview a woman who has become a role model for thousands of people, and a source of inspiration for thousands of female rockers including myself, to let our country and all the readers of Eternally Rock! know better about HALESTORM... We wait for you guys in Spain with open arms, horns and hearts in the air!
Interview by: KRIS M.