Lzzy Hale is one bad ass chick. Whether it’s politically correct or not to say, it doesn’t matter, as she will tell you herself. As the lead singer/guitarist for Halestorm for over a decade, Lzzy’s been belting out songs about love and life on the edge. As the band prepares for the upcoming “Avalanche Tour,” they are readying a release of new material for 2011, also having an album full of cover songs already in the can. RockMusicStar staff member Jim Hackett recently caught up with Lzzy for an exclusive interview, taking us into the eye of the Halestorm.
Jim Hackett: Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity of seeing you perform several times in concert. You have an amazing and powerful voice. How do you keep it in such great shape?
Lzzy: Thank you very much. For the most part, in the most general terms, it’s just pretty much having common sense. 1. If it hurts don’t do it. 2. If your voice is tired, shut up. Make sure you get a lot of sleep, and don’t party and stay up till four am. On the more technical side, I was trained by the 80’s metal singer, Steve Whiteman, of Kix. He taught me a lot about preservation, and about how to warm up. So I do my warm ups, and cool downs, and drink a lot of water. I, for the most part, as impossible as it might be on the road, try to stay in some kind of shape.
Jim: One thing that I’ve noticed is that you have several guitars. Do you have a favorite one you like to use in concert?
Lzzy: That changes from tour to tour. As of right now, my Gibson Explorer is actually my favorite guitar. It’s so funny, I am so glad guitars aren’t children, or one of them would be mad at me right now. My very first Gibson was a white Gibson Les Paul custom, which I still have, and it always sounds great.
Jim: When it comes to song writing, what inspires you to write?
Lzzy: Wow, um lots of things. I kinda write songs in two ways. One is fantasy, because I like bringing things to life on stage. If I can sing about it, it’s kinda my way of having it become reality on stage. On the other hand, writing about actualities, is kinda the more therapeutic way of writing. Where you are, writing about something that happened to you, or you’re trying to get something out. A lot of what comes out is just what kinda pops into your head. I live a very odd life style. I’m around a lot of odd people almost all the time. There’s usually a lot of great one liners, especially being the only girl in an all guy band. Everything is a sexual innuendo, which makes good fodder for a new song.
Jim: The song “Tell Me Where It Hurts” is not on your studio album. It’s only available as a download (single). Why is that? Was it because the song was written after the album was released?
Lzzy: It was actually written during the writing process for the new record, but what ended up happening, is we wanted the album to be more or less a complete thought. That was, “Tell Me where It Hurts,” was maybe a broader song, and delving a little bit into, you know, whether it’s metaphoric or not, the more S&M side of that whole spectrum. So we thought we might wanna be a little safer, and just kinda put that out as a B-Side for those people who are actually looking for it.
Jim: Both, your guitar and vocals are so powerful. I was wondering, who are some of your influences, which made you want to play guitar and sing?
Lzzy: As far as the guitar goes, a lot of my influences were classic rock. Black Sabbath, and the things that I identify, and recognize as heavy. It usually comes from the era. It is a weightiness, and there’s nothing like an old plexy sound. And with a Les Paul, it’s fairly simple. So a lot of that was influenced by classic rock. As far as vocally, it changes over time. But when I began, I’ve always been about ten to twenty years behind, as far as my influences in music. And in the 90’s, when I was a teenie bopper, I was listening to Van Halen and Cinderella. My parents put into my hands, the Beatles, and Heart, Pat Benatar and all that. So a lot of classic rock. Now, as I got a little older, it’s kinda expanding onto other new metal. Anything really that was good. A good song is a good song, whether it’s heavy metal or country.
Jim: You have a new tour coming up - the “Avalanche Tour.” Are there any bands on the bill that you haven’t toured with before?
Lzzy: We haven’t (technically) toured with Skillet yet. We played a few shows with them. Same with Art Of Dying. We haven’t really played with them. We played some festivals with both of the other bands. We’ve gotten to meet some of them, just at different functions. It’s kinda a small pool, you know? Anybody who’s touring right now, most likely you’ve toured with them before, or at least you’ve bumped into them. I’m excited man, not only are we touring with some of the best bands we’ve ever toured with, but they’re just really great guys. Stone Sour, Theory Of A Dead Man, and now we get to make some new friends, and really get to know Skillet, and Art Of Dying. I can’t wait because it’s been a little while. We’ve actually begun writing for the new record. So it’s been a few weeks since our last show, and I’m starting to get a little antsy. I’m counting down the days until ‘Avalanche’ starts.
Jim: Most bands tend to wait until they have quite a few studio albums out before they put out a live album. However, you’ve already released two live recordings (the “One and Done” EP and the full length “Live in Philly 2010”). What made you decide to put another one out at this time?
Lzzy: Our band has primarily been a live band for pretty much out whole existence. In the beginning, we really couldn’t afford to put anything down (record music), besides some crappy demos, that didn’t really show what we could do. So we ended up relying on our live show to get us to get the point across. Even with our last studio album, we still would get people coming up to us and saying you have to go out and do the live show. We decided to come back home to Pennsylvania again, and what was recorded was, that first headlining show of our first official tour. We decided to record it back in PA, and do a 1 ½- 2 hour show, and put it all out there for everybody. We always tell our fans, and especially the people in our hometown, that everything that we have gone through, they’ve kinda been with us, every step of the way. It takes a village to raise a band. It’s not just about us doing what we do. It takes a lot of people believing in you, and a lot of big mouths talking about you. So this is kinda our way of saying this milestone, and every triumph that we go through, is for you. So it’s kind of a big thank you to them too.
Jim: I understand that you have a cover album coming out in the future? What are some of the songs that might appear on the CD?
Lzzy: We recorded and array of kinda all of our influences. My brother and myself were influenced by a lot of classic rock. It wasn’t until my bass player and guitar player, Josh & Joe, came into the band, that we really started to expand into the grunge side and all of that. We ended up forming a collection of songs, just a few songs, that showed all of our influences. So one of them is a Heart cover, one is a Skid Row. And then Guns & Roses, and we did a Temple Of The Dog song. The last one that we did was a Lady GaGa song. We initially weren’t gonna put that on the record. We were just pulling from our own influences and we needed one more song, and I said, “What if we asked our fans?” Lets put up a list of a bunch of crazy songs, and see which ones they want. The number one song they voted on for us to put on this record was Lady GaGa’s “Bad Romance.” That one’s now gonna be on there too. It’s one of those things where it’s gonna be great, because we can release this one, kinda during the time that we’re recording our new record (of original material).
Jim: I saw you recently started writing an advice column in Revolver magazine. How did you end up getting that gig?
Lzzy: The lovely Christina Scapia, of Lacuna Coil, wanted to retire from her column. I don’t know if it was her recommending me, or it was just the Revolver people. But for whatever reason, I got the call, and their people asked if I wanted to do it. I said “Sure.” First I said, “Who wants my advice?” Either way, I’m happy to give it, so it’s really fun. You know, you get some great questions. I’m starting to realize there’s a hell of a lot of crazy people in the world, that need a little bit of, you know, maybe a fucked up ‘Dear Abby.’ You know what I mean? It’s a lot of fun.
Jim: What is the best thing about being in Halestorm?
Lzzy: The best thing? Wow, I mean, the best things I can think of, as of right now, is being able to walk out on stage. It’s something, not to completely quote the song, but literally, it’s you know, go out on stage, that what I get off on. I love the freedom of it, the power of it. The ability to get up there. With me personally, I’m just very proud to have the opportunity to carve my own path, and to be able to do what I love, every single day, with the people I love.