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Interview: Lzzy Hale of Halestorm

I think as the years go by you just become more and more comfortable with just being unapologetically yourself in front of people and I think that has been a personal goal of mine, regardless of the band, but I do site this band as the reason I was able to come out of my shell, and the reason that I am able to be my best self, is because of the music.

After taking Download Festival by storm, hard rock juggernaut Halestorm are returning to Australia in December 2019 for a headline tour and they are bringing along their friends in Black Stone Cherry. We caught up with front-woman Lzzy Hale, and no stone was left unturned in this candid chat. You would be hard pressed to find a more gracious and humble person than Lzzy. The fact that she is crazy talented just adds to it all. Sit back and enjoy our chat with Lzzy Hale of Halestorm

H2Z: So Congrats on the album, even a year later is still really fresh and exciting as the listener. As a creator do you still find it fresh and exciting?

LH: It does, actually. Its funny, we have a renewed sense of a little bit of everything that we are, on this album cycle, and there is also this renewed connection with our fan base so, there has been this elevation of everybody lifting each other up, and the chatter about this record is quite different than the last couple of records. I guess to summarise, this album is more tattoo-able (laughs). We have seen a lot of tattoos on this tour, so I guess that means we connected lyrically in a different way with our fans, and we are going hard until the end of the year when we see you guys, and I cannot be happier with how this cycle has gone.

H2Z: For all songwriters, their songs are so personal, but it seems on “Vicious”, they are a little more soul bearing. What one was the most personal for you?

LH: For me, the one that came out in the most honest way. But it depends on which side of the coin. If it’s emotionally personal it’s “Heart Of Novocaine”, if it’s sexually personal it’s “Do Not Disturb” (laughs). But you know, I roll on both sides of the spectrum. I think as the years go by you just become more and more comfortable with just being unapologetically yourself in front of people and I think that has been a personal goal of mine, regardless of the band, but I do site this band as the reason I was able to come out of my shell, and the reason that I am able to be my best self, is because of the music. Again, I feel like this might have been just the right time to start letting people in. After a few years of working in this state it makes me excited to think what might happen for our next record (laughs). Do I keep going down the rabbit hole (laughs).

H2Z: Speaking of personal, a few months ago you released the B-Side single “Chemicals” which has become extremely important to a lot of people, as it deals with mental illness. With artists like yourself breaking down that stigma, do you think that through these channels people dealing with mental illness are feeling more socially acceptable? And was the song written from a personal standpoint?

LH: Absolutely. I started with a conversation my little brother and I were having. We just found ourselves meeting more and more people that were struggling. They were seemingly normal people., successful people, all the way to other end of the spectrum of kids who were really in need of help. We had this conversation how its really all of us. Everybody is dealing with something, and when we were kids growing up, if someone was saying “Oh I am going to go to a therapist” or “Im going to go and see a shrink” or how ever they would say it, as kids and teenagers we had a multitude of nicknames for them, we would be like “Wow! That person must really have problems because they have to go talk to somebody”. Now we know that’s not really the case. Just through meeting so many people, who just because they don’t talk about it, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t going through it. Now I am seeing that change happen. It used to be that nobody wanted to go. Now I look at it as, I go to a dentist for my teeth, I go to a doctor for my body, I should go to somebody to try to figure out my mind too. So we had this conversation, and then after making ourselves more aware, we were kind of seeing it everywhere, and then the song kind of fell out like that. I think it was important for us, while we didn’t end up putting it on the record, to release it later, and it’s also a lot of fun to play live.

H2Z: As you said on the other end of the spectrum, you have “Do Not Disturb”, which does get a lot of attention online. I see the song differently to most. I see you being the vehicle of sexual empowerment for women, and a role model. Wether you wanted it or not that role has somewhat been bestowed on you. How do you feel knowing you are helping women around the world know its ok to make their own choices on what they do with their bodies and to be heard in general?

LH: WOW! Firstly, thank you for saying that, its wonderful you see it that way. A while ago, I got a letter, a hand written letter from a Dad, in one of our Meet N Greets. I get a lot of letters from young girls and kids, but this was directly from Dad and he was like “This is from me, for you”. This three page hand written letter was about “Do Not Disturb” and how he hopes that his daughters grow up and when they are my age they are as confident about knowing what they want and feeling sexually empowered and he goes on to say “Im sure its strange for you to hear a dad saying this because its about sex, but that is how I view it”. I thought that was a beautiful thing. In all honesty (laughs), that was a discussion we had in the studio, the guys were like “Ok you really want to say this?”. For me, if I’m not 110%, then what the hell am I hear for writing lyrics and trying to connect, on some human way to people. So when we put it on the record I wasn’t really expecting it being received in that way. I assumed it was only going to be received the way the other 50% of listeners have received it in the other way (laughs). And its ok that some people also think it’s shocking. I love that too, and I hold it all in high regard. For me, writing about sex, and talking about it candidly to people is empowering. Its empowering for me. It something I haven’t always been able to do in the past so many years of my life, and by starting this band can now do things such as this. If its now bestowed, ill take it (laughs), and I appreciate the people who see me in that way.

H2Z: You have just come off the road with Alice Cooper. How did it feel to be able to jam every night with him, and have you got any funny stories from your time with him?

LH: As you know, he is easily the nicest, most genuine person in the business. I don’t think he would have a bad word to say about anybody. It was so amazing to see this dual side to him, because offstage he is a perfectly normal guy, a Dad and a Husband, and he just happens to be this rock star. I remember talking to his wardrobe and costume girl Amber and she goes “Yeah man, you watch him change, every night”. He changes between the dressing room. Its like he steps out of the dressing room going “Oh I am normal”, then as he walks to the stage you literally see him stand up a little taller, and he becomes Alice Cooper, and its an amazing thing to watch and we would have so much fun. We would get up there every day and I would give myself the same pep talk, because this is the guy, when I was 11, I took an Alice Cooper CD to a slumber party (laughs), and that was absolutely the night that I found out I was not like the other girls (laughs). This is the guy who showed me “my weird”. So I would give myself the same talk, I would be like “Ok, I have done some things in my life. I have my own empire I am building, I got my leather jacket, cool lets get out there”. And you get out there and he stares right at you, and you see this idol that you had when you were a kid and was probably a huge part of the reason that you are in this business, and you just freak out inside and go back to that person. And then he would introduce me, and he would do it in a different way every night. The first night it would be “ And on this guitar, the incorrigible”, then it was “And on this guitar, the beautiful”, then “on this guitar, the undisciplined” (laughs). Every night it would be something different. It was such a cool thing! Some nights he would put his hat on me and inside I was like “Oh man life is freakin’ good”. That was one the best tours I think I have ever done. Such genuine people. Its the first time I we have been on the end part of a decent run and I didn’t want to go home. I just wanted to keep going. It definitely made me feel like a kid again.

Lzzy and Alice Cooper. Photo courtesy of Ceral Kyler Photography

H2Z: And on touring, you are headed our way later in the year with Black Stone Cherry, I’m sure you know the guys well. Do you have any favourite BSC songs?

LH: We have know the guys probably about 14 years, and been out with them before. They are the most fun to be on tour with. We have very similar mission statements as bands. Both bands there is no tracks, no trickery, no orchestras. Its just the members of the bands and their instruments. We have jammed with each other many times. We prank each other all the time. There was this one time, the first prank they did touring with us, was in the middle of “I Get Off”, they set up a Meet N Greet table right behind us onstage while we are playing, and had a whole line of people, and were signing autographs on stage, all while we are playing. So we ended up getting them back. They would have me up to sing on of my favourite songs of theirs called “Peace Is Free”. We always had this kind of private joke that it sounded like he was singing “Pizza Is Free”. So we decided to get a couple of pizzas and a big sign, and I made up different lyrics one night. I rewrote the second verse and chorus to be about pepperoni and mozzarella, and really wanting after show pizza (laughs). So we have a great history and relationship with those guys and we are super excited to be able to come to Australia with them, and to see what shenanigans we can both get up to, and if you have ever been in the same room as John Fred and my little brother Arejay, its definitely something you should do once, because its like when a hurricane meets a tornado (laughs).

H2Z: Time for some speed round questions. First words that went through your mind when you won a grammy?

LH: Holy Fuck!

H2Z: First words that come to mind when you look at your signature guitar?

LH: Hot!  (Laughs)

H2Z: Bucket list collaboration?

LH: Ann Wilson from Heart

H2Z: What sentence would Lzzy 2019 say to Lzzy 1997?

LH: Honestly if I could go back I would tell my younger self “Screw everyone and do your own thing, and don’t worry too much about what everyone else thinks” It took me a few years to figure that one out. In the beginning I was doing my thing but also trying to please everyone else. So I think I would say that at the moment, and just say “You got this” (laughs)

H2Z: And to finish up, some final words for your Aussie fans?

LH: My goodness, first up, Thanks so much for having us back, its amazing to be back so soon, it truly is one of the most amazing areas for rock fans, some of the best rock fans in the absolute world, so its truly our honour to be able to come back and play for you guys, I cannot wait.

H2Z: We cannot wait either Lzzy. Thanks for your time and see you soon

LH: Thank you Andrew see you soon

We would love to thank Lzzy for her time and for the fine folks at Collision Course PR and MJR Presents for putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

YOU CAN FIND HALESTORM AND LZZY HALE HERE:

HALESTORM WEBSITE
HALESTORM FACEBOOK
HALESTORM INSTAGRAM
HALESTORM TWITTER
LZZY HALE FACEBOOK
SCISSOR HAPPY BY LZZY HALE

Dont forget that Halestorm and Black Stone Cherry are headed to Australia this December with special guests Black Stone Cherry

Friday 6 December – Sydney – Enmore Theatre
Saturday 7 December – Brisbane – The Tivoli
Monday 9 December – Adelaide – The Gov
Tuesday 10 December – Melbourne – The Forum
Tickets from mjrpresents.com or halestormrocks.com

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