It’s been a whirlwind 20-year journey for Lzzy Hale and Halestorm; three albums, four EP’s, line-up changes, countless tours and all those fans. When frontwoman, Lzzy Hale stops to reflect on those years, she embraces the good with the bad, and takes each pitfall as a learning experience.
Recently, I had the chance to speak to Lzzy via phone from Knoxville, Tennessee. We talked about the power of music in today’s society, her parent’s endless support, and friendship.
Shannon: Last year marked Halestorm’s 20’s anniversary. What has been the biggest “up” in these past 20 years?
Lzzy: We keep raising the bar with that. For me, right now would be keeping it together, with the 4 of us. For 15 years with Bill and Scott, basically out brothers from another mother. We see so many great bands, wonderful people, that, for whatever reason, they break up over silly things. They don’t like each other, they can’t stand looking at each other. We were hanging out in my basement last night, listing to music, heating up left-overs, like we were all still living in my parent’s house. And this was just yesterday. It’s really incredible that we still like each other.
Shannon: And then there’s the opposite, what’s been the biggest “down”?
Lzzy: There’s been a lot of them, it’s hard to say they’re really “downs” anymore, but I look back on them, right before Joe and Josh, we lost half our band. We lost our guitar player, bass player, we had all these shows booked on a local level. We were doing really well, and we had label interest. I was devastated. Then about a year or so of just practicing, honing the writing, then you meet Joe and Josh, and everything clicks. You look back on it, and you think ‘I’m so glad I had to go through that.’
We got signed in 2005, we don’t know what kind of producer we were going to do our first record, then our A & R guy that signed us gets fired. And it’s like ‘Ok guys, I guess we’re going back again.’ (laughs)
Every time something like that would happen, the guys and I, we were living in a small apartment together. There was a little convenience store about a block away. We’d go to the store, and buy a cheap bottle of champagne, and toast to the predicament we’re in. We’d be like ‘no matter what, we can always go back to PA, and still be doing what we love to do.’ Whether the label goes away, the management, if we break down, never put this record out – it was almost like a celebration of the low times as well. It would be an ebb and flow. Luckily no one picked up a coke habit along the way, it could have gone horribly wrong somewhere along the way. (laughs)
Shannon: “Dear Daughter” – You released the song in the spring, and now in the fall and through winter, there’s these two very powerful movements with #metoo and #timesup, where people are starting to pay attention to women, but in a different way. Do you see it as, you were a little foretelling? Where did the concept, or the idea to write such a powerful, and touching song, where all the sudden now it seems to play into what’s happening within our society? It is weird that it’s all kind of tied in together?
Lzzy: Absolutely. This is kind of the mystery and magic of music too. I’m very fortunate to grow up with parents that regardless what outside family or neighbors thought of what I was doing, my parents were always supportive of me, not as their kid, but as a girl too. My mother and my father never put up barriers. It was always anything you want to, of course you can! So, I grew up with this base layer of ‘of course I can, and I’m going to’ attitude. I wrote the song in 2014, I kept it away for a while, because I thought it was funny, because I don’t have a daughter. It was sparked by a conversation I had with my parents. They came out to see me, and we were reminiscing, about things, and the early days of Halestorm and they both started going off on how scared they were about me getting into this business. At the time, when it was happening, I didn’t think anything of it. My parents are awesome, they’re letting me do this. They never let on that they were terrified. I started thinking about that, how brave they must have been to say ‘ok’ to this world of sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, no guarantees you’re actually doing to make it, or have a career. They still let me do it. So, it was sparked by that idea of either talking to my nieces, or my unborn, possible future child. Would I be brave enough to do that?
Now, here’s where the weird thing comes in – so, I don’t show the guys that song for a while. We need a ballad for the new record, so, we record it for the record. Low and behold, everybody; my manager, my A & R guy, my booking agent, they all have daughters. Everyone one is listening to this song and crying. And I’m thinking ‘wow, ok, I guess there’s something to it.’ So, we put out the record, before any kind of music, the election, all these things. It does well, obviously there’s a message there, and I start seeing, live, how much this goes beyond a parent and daughter relationship. Then, all this crazy stuff happens, and the song takes on a whole other animal, a whole other meaning. To me, it’s the ultimate example of the power of music, and how it can change your way of thinking, and your course of life. Just all by itself, in the right timing, hit the nail on the head. For me, I look at that song, I don’t even look at as ‘oh that’s something I wrote’, I look at it, ‘wow that’s something I did.’ I’m just really lucky to be a part of it. I’m glad that people are able draw, possibly some hope from that. I talk about that all the time. I’m in a very, very lucky position where for some silly reason, people are paying attention to what I write, and what I think. So, you have a choice, you can either choose negativity, and put that out into the world, or you can choose positivity.
Shannon: What would you say if any of these movements approached you, and wanted to use the song?
Lzzy: I feel like, musically, we should stand for something. Especially in these times. I talk to people all the time, when you’re talking politics, it gests so incredibly messy. But when you’re talking human rights, it’s not about gender, it’s about what you bring to the table. Whether you’re a girl or a man, if you do something spectacular, that’s what you do. For me, if my music can help with that, and help everything move forward as a species, absolutely.
Shannon: Another rough topic, last year was a brutal year for the industry with a lot of losses. I want to touch on Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington. I want to touch on those two, because the focus on those two seem to be depression and mental health. What kind of steps can this industry take for people that are suffering, and we had no idea?
Lzzy: It’s hard, because everybody has their own journey. My personal perspective, this industry, the mental health situation, in the music industry, turns a blind eye, because, ‘they’re creative, they’re an artist, they’re supposed to be crazy.’ Then there’s these people that say, ‘whatever it takes to them happy.’ So, if they need, whatever pills, if they need a beer, even though they’re not supposed to have one. I’m just extremely lucky that I have a road crew that will tell me if I have a booger in my nose, or anything. I suffer myself with depression, and my own feelings, I’m sure everybody does. I can’t imagine going
out in this life, in this career, so incredibly alone, where you don’t have any body that you can trust. It’s a communal thing, I don’t have all the answers, but something in our world we try to pay attention to. Everybody looks out for each other. If something seems weird, let’s talk about it. Try to dig a little deeper, because sometimes that goes a long way. If something’s going on, be a buddy.
Shannon: Speaking of tours, you’re heading out on some Canadian dates with Stone Sour. You and Corey Taylor go back a long time. Is there anything you’re looking forward to going out with these guys again?
Lzzy: You know it’s funny, with your band friends, you kind of pick back up where you left off, no matter how much times goes by. That happens to Amy Lea and I, and the same thing with Corey and me. I guess I’m looking forward to a family reunion of sorts. Just seeing everybody and being out with a band that loves touring as much as we do. The last time we were together, Corey and my brother had this competition to see who was going to surprise the other one first, every day, and who was going to tell each other off in a public way. They have this weird culture thing they have. I’m looking forward to seeing that live.
Shannon: Every tour there’s always the horror stories. So, is there anything you’re dreading? We all know Corey’s sense of humor. So, is there anything you’re dreading?
Lzzy: Yeah, exactly! (laughs) Dude, it’s so true.
The first time I ever met him, he was dancing in the hallway, of whatever arena we were paying in, and he was signing to himself, Lady Marmalade, like the 90’s song. It was awesome. I was like ‘oh, see we’re going to get along!’
Halestorm is currently on the road with fellow rockers, Stone Sour through to February 11th. Check their website for dates near you!