Halestorm
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It Gets Harder Not To Lose Yourself In The Game And In The Politics. We Got A Little Lost There For A Second…”

Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale sinks her teeth into the band’s new album, Vicious.

There’s this misconception that with success it gets easier, but it really doesn’t,” says Lzzy Hale. 

It gets harder not to lose yourself in the game and in the politics of all of this, and not chase after things for the wrong reasons. We didn’t get too far out, but we got a little lost there for a second.” 

The Halestorm frontwoman is reflecting on a period of turmoil, the like of which her band had never experienced before. But in the run-up to writing their new album, Vicious, things were different. It seems strange to think of the Pennsylvanian quartet – completed by her brother Arejay on drums, guitarist Joe Hottinger and bassist Josh Smith – having a hard time at all. Especially when you consider the on-the-surface smooth sailing of their career to date: a major label deal with Atlantic Records, a GRAMMY Award for 2013 single, Love Bites (So Do I), and soon-to-be four albums to their name, not to mention all eight dates of their September Academy tour in the UK and Ireland selling out months in advance. 

Yet something wasn’t right as the band embarked upon the creation of their latest record. So much so, Lzzy scrapped the first batch of songs they wrote. The weight of expectation rested heavily on her shoulders, leading to self-doubt and creative second-guessing. To put it right, Halestorm had to reconnect as bandmates and seek out the same spark that initially inspired them, way back when. 

In order to get back to that, it takes so much more than being strong and riding out the storm,” she explains. We had to show our teeth and be aggressive. We’re all still best friends. We were fierce and defiant about it. We used vicious’ in a very positive way.” 

Vicious, it seems, is not just the album’s title. It represents the very spirit and soul of how the band got themselves back on track. Over to Lzzy, to find out exactly what it is to be vicious… 


WHAT’S THE MOST VICIOUS THING THAT YOUVE DONE?
I’ve tortured my little brother Arejay for most of his life. When we were in London two years ago, he emptied a bottle of vodka into a couple of used water bottles and then filled the vodka bottle with water, so that he could chug it on camera before he went on stage to freak everybody out. But during his drum solo, I went back to our dressing room, took all of the vodka-filled water bottles and that night, the guys and I replaced all of his bunk water bottles with the vodka ones. So we’re sitting there, waiting for him to take a sip and when he finally does he’s like, That’s crazy,’ we all laugh about it and go to sleep. The next morning, we’re driving to a gig and our bus driver’s complaining about how the coffee tastes like shit. Then we realised that there’s booze in the coffee. I come to find out that in the middle of the night, Arejay put all of the vodka water bottles into the water case and the driver made coffee with vodka the next morning. He was pissed. He was like, Oh my God I could get pulled over – I think I’m drunk!’ So Arejay did get everybody back, but we do all that stuff to him all the time… 

Uncomfortable

WHAT’S THE MOST VICIOUS THING THAT’S BEEN DONE TO YOU?

When we first started the band, my parents were always super supportive, but not everybody around us was. I went to a private, Christian middle school, right around the time I started the band and the only time I was ever called into the principal’s office was because I was giving our first Halestorm cassette tape away. It was me, the principal and two other teachers – it was an intervention. It was like, Hey, I know you’re trying to be a musician, but where’s the ministry in this?’ and, We’re not going to allow you to talk about it or to pass around your music any more in the school.’ First of all, I wasn’t writing songs like I Get Off when I was 14. It was silly songs about my first boyfriend and parents and all that stuff. So, for me that was a mean thing to do to a young kid, especially a young girl. They made me feel guilty for wanting to go after what I did. Luckily, I didn’t listen… 

WHAT’S THE MOST VICIOUS SONG THAT YOUVE WRITTEN?
Heart Of Novocaine on this record, only because I know that there are certain people that are going to hear it and know that it’s about them. So in a way I’m having the last word, which is positive. But from their perspective it could make them a little uncomfortable. 

WHAT’S THE MOST VICIOUS CROWD THAT YOUVE PLAYED TO?
We were opening for Megadeth in France and we were scared to go on stage because when the lights went down, everyone was chanting Megadeth!’ and nobody knew that we were there because the promoter hadn’t advertised that we were opening up for them. So Megadeth’s crew – who we’ve known for a couple of years – were all like, Hey Lzzy, just keep your head up, they throw shoes, they throw quarters, just make sure that you know that there could be things coming at you!’ At the time we were starting our gigs acapella, it was just me. So, the guys were like, Go get em tiger! Have fun.’ I was a little terrified going out on stage literally in my skirt and high heels singing It’s Not You – one of the cheesiest songs we have – opening for Megadeth! Everyone was really angry until the last chorus when the rest of the band kicked in and we got going, everyone was like, Okay, alright, I think I can buy this, cool.’ So it was a vicious crowd, but it was one of the biggest accomplishments to win them over. 

Do Not Disturb

WHAT’S THE MOST VICIOUS RUMOUR THAT YOUVE HEARD ABOUT YOURSELF?

That I’ve been pregnant with Brent Smith’s (Shinedown vocalist) baby – which is not true! It was on Wikipedia for a second and then it got taken down. That was so weird. Brent’s like a big brother to me; I definitely would never be pregnant with his baby.

WHAT’S THE MOST VICIOUS NIGHTMARE THAT YOUVE HAD?
It was a recurring one. I have a tendency to have those every couple of years and it concerned my brother. We were on a rooftop bar with a pool, he was drowning, and for some reason I couldn’t get to him. Every time I dreamt it I would wake up and text him, like, Are you okay?’ and he’s like, Yeah.’ So I’m like, Sorry! I had that dream again.’ Those are usually my worst nightmares; having bro in some situation where I can’t help him. As much as I tortured him as a kid – he’s still my little buddy. 

Words: Chelsea Smile

Halestorm’s new album Vicious is set for release on Friday July 27 through Atlantic. You can pre-order it here. The band return to the UK for a sold-out tour in September. Dates are as follows:

September

19 Dublin Academy 
20 Belfast Limelight
22 Sheffield O2 Academy
23 Glasgow O2 Academy 
24 Birmingham O2 Academy 
26 Manchester O2 Apollo
28 London O2 Academy Brixton
29 Bristol O2 Academy 

Posted on July 24th 2018, 8:51p.m.
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