Lzzy Hale: 'We Didn't Realize We Were Gonna Take It This Far'

artist: Halestorm date: 07/10/2014 category: interviews
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Lzzy Hale: 'We Didn't Realize We Were Gonna Take It This Far'
Years ago, Lzzy Hale had a conversation with iconic rock singer Pat Benatar. Benatar was sharing a conversation she'd had with Chrissie Hynde about being a woman in rock and the kinds of doors they had to break down in order to succeed. It was a conversation about passing the torch. Benatar told Hale, "Lzzy, you guys are exactly what we hoped we'd be talking about in 25 years," Hale recounts. "She was like, 'I'm going to be covering 'Love Bites.' I practically dropped the phone as you can imagine. It's moments like that that make me think, 'OK, I'm not as crazy as I might have thought I was and we're moving in the right direction.'"

Moving in the right direction doesn't begin to define the singer's success with her band Halestorm. On the backs of just two albums - "Halestorm" and "The Strange Case of..." - the band has already scored big singles, major tours (opening for Stone Sour, Avenged Sevenfold, Heaven & Hell and others) and a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for the song "Love Bites (So Do I)."

The Pennsylvania-based quartet - Hale, brother Arejay on drums, guitarist Joe Hottinger and bassist Josh Smith - is currently working on their third album. As of this writing, it was still a bit premature to talk about the record's direction but Lzzy did say this. "I've been experimenting with different gears of my voice. When we come back out with this new record and we're playing two-hour sets, there's gonna be so many different dimensions of Halestorm that you will see. We're probably gonna end up doing a different setlist every night." She is excited about the new release and just generally an excitable girl all around. She constantly erupts in joyful giggles and it's easy to tell she is digging the ride.

UG: You've been playing music for a long time and have been in a band with your brother Arejay since you were nine years old.

LH: Honestly the light bulb officially went off at 13. Up until then we had a lot of music in our household. My dad's a bass player and we always had some instruments. I started out on piano first and it was always even little things like writing songs here and there as juveniles as we were. During Christmastime it would be like, "Hey, play this for your aunts" or for family that would come over.

What happened when you turned 13?

My brother and I decided to step outside our parents' living room and we entered ourselves in a talent show. Now the weird thing with the talent show is that it was at a county fair in Pennsylvania. It was this outdoor kind of auditorium and we were a little nervous. We're driving in the family van and my little brother with his 10-year old wisdom at the time turns to me and says, "We can't go up there as Lzzy and Arejay Hale." I'm like, "Well, what do you want to do?" He's like, "We have to have a band name?"

That was smart.

We named the band Halestorm on the way to the country fair. We thought, "It sounds good for today" and we didn't realize we were gonna take it this far.

How did you feel after playing the gig?

After that performance we turned to each other and said, "Oh, my god. This is it. This is what we gotta do and maybe mom knows another place we can play," hahhahhah. Literally after that we went up to our parents - this was the summer of '97 - and they were like, "Sure, we'll help you out."

What happened next?

We started playing coffeehouses and restaurants for free ice cream and anywhere they would let us play. Church functions and youth walk-ins and my mom was helping gig us around. After that summer, my parents sat us down and said, "So, we've noticed you've kind of obsessed with this" because my brother and I were like "This is it." Even our parents didn't even really realize when the light bulb went off for us, this wasn't for a gig - this was forever now.

At that point your parents started really taking you seriously?

I had some really cool parents and were like, "OK, this is really what you want to do. We'll support you." My dad was always cool about it and said, "Look, you're gonna regret it if you don't try now. You have so much time to get a normal job later that sure, let's do this." We were living on a 20-acre farm at the time so we started selling off chickens sheep and stuff like that.

You were selling the livestock to make money?

We got a bunch of equipment and a PA system and literally went out and again played anywhere and everywhere. There were a couple clubs in the area that would let us play happy hour for half-an-hour. Then yeah, I don't know. It just slowly started filing outward and it seems like it was six different lifetimes since then. It was definitely a strange way to come up in the scene but I'm glad we did. Those were good times.

You recorded the EP "Don't Mess With the Time Man," which was your first attempt at singing and songwriting.

I knew I wanted to be the singer and that's kind of how it felt. There was no real discussion. It was just my brother and I kinda knew what our roles were gonna be. I was the songwriter and at the time Arejay wouldn't have much choice because I'm still the older sister and I can still beat him up, hahhahhah.

What was that like recording those sessions?

There was one right before that and we made this cassette tape, hahhah. That was actually our first time in the studio ever. We had some help from the local community and they're like, "Hey, there's this studio and they'll give you an hourly rate." We're like, "Hourly rate? That's sweet. We can go through all of our songs in two hours."

Right. Two hours and you're done.

We didn't understand the whole track-by-track thing at the time but it was such a cool experience with both of those projects. "Don't Mess With the Time Man" we went track-by-track and I did layered keyboard parts and we did everything one at a time.

You were starting to get a grasp on the recording process?

The first thing was just like, "OK, live," hahhahhah. You know? Like I said, we came up in kind of a musical family so we grew up watching performances from the '70s and '80s on VHS tapes. Documentary stuff. I just remember being so obsessed with like, "Man, that would be so cool if you were in the studio and get some songs out." I remember being so enamored with the way my voice sounded and the way our music sounded hearing it back through speakers.

The first time you hear your voice or your music played back is an amazing moment.

If you can think about you're 14 at the time when all this was going on and you're like, "This is so crazy." I remember the only time I was ever called into the principal's office was because I was peddling my CD in the hallway. I was just so happy and I'm like, "Guys, check this out." It was such a cool experience.

Were there bands you were listening to back in the day?

Oh, definitely. Between my mom and my dad, I had kind of a weird, wide range of very generational music. My dad was into Vanilla Fudge, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and that kind of stuff and my mom was into Janis Joplin and Heart. She loved Van Halen. We listened to a lot of that stuff. It's funny. You're making me go back in time and I'm getting all these flashbacks. If you go back to "Don't Mess With the Time Man," there's a track called "Got No Clue" and the whole ending was pretty much knocked off of Vanilla Fudge's cover of what's it called "Set Me Free"? [sings] "Set me free why don't you babe..."

"You Keep Me Hangin' On"?

Yeah, "You Keep Me Hangin' On." That's what it was. I remember my brother and I locked into the live performance of that and did this whole psychedelic ending.

Did you see yourself as psychedelic?

We weren't necessarily psychedelic. We didn't know what we were. We kinda soaked it all up and then just spit it out another way. Yeah, I would have to say all those early influences you can probably hear on that tape.

When you were 16 you took up the guitar and made the switch from keyboards?

Yeah. You know what's funny? I wanted to learn and at the time I turned 16, we had hired this young guitar player [Leo Nessinger] who was like 16 years old. He was obsessed with Slash and he could really play for 16. He was in the band for six months because his mom and dad were like, "Nope." After six months they're like, "This is not gonna work out for you."

That's when you decided to pick up the guitar?

He quit the band and I hadn't even contemplated starting guitar but that was like the nail in the coffin. 'Cause in my 16-year old brain, I was kind of distraught and I'm like, "We're never gonna find another guitar player." I was like, "You know what? I'm gonna go out and get a used guitar somewhere and I'm gonna start learning."

What kind of guitar did you get?

I went to this local shop we had been frequenting forever called Player's Exchange in Harrisburg. I got this really cheap guitar and I'm sure it had a lot of problems - a B.C. Rich Mockingbird. That was my first guitar. Destroyed the hell out of that and then my mom and dad got me for Christmas my first Les Paul Custom. It was used and it was like a '91 tobacco burst that they had gotten a good deal on.

Was the guitar easy for you?

I don't know. It was just one of those things where kind of fell into place. I started learning primarily by ear. I would take lessons here and there at the local shop just to get the basics down but learned primarily by ear.

You didn't miss the keyboards?

It was really liberating to step away from the piano because then all of a sudden a whole new [sound happened]. That really I think helped push our sound in one direction or the other. There's a point in time where you have to pick between, "OK, are you gonna be Elton John or are you gonna be Black Sabbath?" Yeah, a whole new world opened up when I played guitar.

About five years after recording "Don't Mess With the Time Man," Halestorm signed with Atlantic Records and released that first EP "One and Done." How did you make that leap?

Honestly, it was a lot of gigging. Even Atlantic will tell you we got signed off our live show. We were doing I wanna say 220 to 235 or 250 shows a year depending on the volume of what we booked ourselves at on our own regionally. Basically in 2003, we found our current members Joe Hottinger [guitar] and Josh Smith [bass]. We had a couple people in and out before them like I said. A 16-year old guitar player here and an 18-year old bass player and then they can't stay in the band so nobody was ever in for more than six months.

When you found Joe Hottinger and Josh Smith, that was the turning point?

It was like boom. They had the same parental support and they had the same drive and they weren't just actually trying to get signed. They wanted to be a part of something and we all really connected and became best friends. So we started gigging and it really exploded for us over those five years in the local scene and regional scene. We'd be doing four-hour shows at local bars for tip jars trying to make money. I don't know. It was just awesome. We really had a chance to find our sound and understand what we wanted to do.

Those early gigs were really testing grounds for finding the band's identity?

I think it was in the beginning of '04 and we had met a lawyer friend and he was helping us shop our CDs around to labels. Everybody kind of said the same thing, "We love what you do but we have no idea what to do with you." So after a couple times of hearing that same answer, we're like, "Hey guys, why do we need a label right now? We're doing really great on our own. If it happens and it's the right thing, sweet. But let's stop wasting our time and get back to the grindstone and start gigging out again."

You didn't strictly pursue a label deal then?

We ended up going to New York City and ended up playing at a place called Don Hills. Don, the club owner, was probably responsible for us getting signed because he loved what we did. He was like, "Hey, why don't you come up to New York City once or twice a month just to build a fanbase here and I'll bring out some of my friends." Don was a legendary club owner in New York City so we're like, "Sure. That's awesome." So every time we'd come he'd have his lawyer come and see us and then his lawyer started bringing certain people from labels, intern people and club owners and everything.

The buzz was really getting out there?

One of those guys happened to be an A& R guy from Atlantic Records. He was kind of old school and he was like, "Hey, I love what you do. Let me go to bat for you." We're like, "Yeah, yeah. Sure. You do that."

You were a bit skeptical?

It ended up being every time we went back to Don Hills, somebody more from Atlantic Records were there. The interns for their opinion all the way and it got to the point where the head of Atlantic ended up coming and they started talking to us about a deal. But it was a very long process so by the time Atlantic popped the question, we had gotten to know a lot of them and really liked them as people. So it was like, "Well, this is our decision - we can either go here and go big or go home" basically.

You signed the deal?

Yeah, we decided to go big, hah.

That's when you did the live EP "One and Done?"

The great thing about Atlantic is the live EPs we did. They weren't interested in, "We're just gonna put you in the studio and throw you up against the wall and see what happens and what works." Basically they wanted us to do this live EP and go out on the road nationally for a little while. We did this five-song live EP and then we went out on the road with so many bands and had our first national tour all around the country. We were touring in an RV and went through nine alternators, hah hah hah.

But it was fun?

It was such a fantastic time and we sold a sh-t ton of those little EPs and really proved ourselves to the label to the point of, "OK, we've gotta get you in the studio to do a full blown record that we can push to radio."

That's when you recorded Halestorm with Howard Benson?

We went into the studio for our debut in '07 and we spent 19 months making that record then the record came out in '09. It was a long process and we had a lot of songs to weed through and then we had a lot of songs we had written. So that was a crazy process in itself.

That's when you began your relationship with Howard Benson who became a pretty important part of the process. Right?

Oh, definitely. I mean it takes a village. It was during the time we made that first record, we had written so much and we got into the studio and got halfway through the recording of the record and Atlantic decided to let a lot of people go and our A& R guy was included in that.

Did you think Halestorm might get dropped?

We basically turned to each other like, "Well, what do we do now? We're next because nobody's going to bat at Atlantic for us." Howard Benson ended up bringing in Pete Ganbarg who is our current A&R guy. He was freelance at the time so he was kind of helping us organize the record and get it done to present to Atlantic. Then in the process he ended up getting hired by Atlantic and we were his first project.

Pete Ganbarg is now executive vice president and head of A&R at Atlantic Records.

You couldn't really buy that type of luck. But there were a lot of moments where we said, "OK, guys. We're going back to playing Whiskey d-ck's every Tuesday night in Philadelphia. It was a fun ride but we're gonna end up going home." It didn't happen that way thankfully but it was a very trying time. I'm glad we got it out and basically everything exploded there in another lifetime. We ended up touring our asses off until we did the last one.

Was it remarkable being in a big studio with a big producer for that first album?

Oh, absolutely. Especially coming from four kids who were like, "OK, we saved up $200. How long can we be in the studio and what do we have to cut?" It was amazing to have that freedom. It was awesome to jam as a band in the studio and really hear each other in a professional manner for probably one of the first times. Arejay got to shine and we played our absolute best. We were a little nervous going in because of like, "I don't know, man."

Howard Benson helped you get over your nerves?

Howard Benson's team was awesome. Mike Plotnikoff is his engineer and his guitar engineers are like mad scientists. I remember one time I was like, "The tone of my guitar has to sound like a truck going over broken glass into a house." I remember I had this weird scenario and they were like, "Yeah, yeah. We'll combine this with that."

What kind of amp did you use on Halestorm?

A lot of my parts were a Marshall JCM800 combined with a Diezel. I had never really combined amps for a recording before and it was very, very cool.

There were other singers out there like Amy Lee, Hayley Williams, Florence Welch and Kelly Clarkson. Did you feel like they had raised the bar for a female vocalist?

Oh, absolutely. Just being in a studio and knowing you have a chance to put a record out and make your mark on the world. I guess what was mainly the battle was the chain that goes into making a record - and especially how nowadays you can't really trust records anymore because you can take a guy off the street and make him into a star with the technology now.

You didn't want Halestorm to sound like another manufactured band?

The battle was to make sure we were setting ourselves apart from all of our peers and the people that were out there and especially the girl-fronted bands. I think we accomplished that but I also think what made a lot of that record was partially the struggle and the pressure. I feel like we found out during that whole process we worked really well under pressure and because of that pressure certain magic things start to happen.

When that red light goes on, it can be a good thing and a bad thing.

Then of course there's the blessing and the curse because I can yell pretty high and so when Howard Benson figured that out he's like, "Oh, sweet. It's gonna be like every song," hahhahhah. But it was kind of cool to have somebody to bounce those ideas off of and somebody who understood the industry and who was out there doing what. So that we could end up finding our place and making sure we weren't stepping into anybody else's territory. We still continue to do that. We pride ourselves in if everybody's going right, we go left.

In 2011 you did the covers EP "ReAnimate." What was the reasoning behind that?

There was a lot of, "Hey, this is fun. These are people we admire." We also were kind of using it as a tool. In the back of our minds there was something about playing somebody else's songs where you end up discovering things you can maybe do or pull off that you didn't know you could be doing just by working on your original songs.

That is a very astute observation.

We were using it as a vehicle to kinda figure out where we wanted to go for the next record. It's funny because that Skid Row song ["Slave to the Grind"] was a direct influence on "Love Bites" at that point because we loved how that came out and we're like, "OK, we've never really experimented with this type of tempo before and hitting these certain notes." It's interesting because you admire these songs and not until you try to go in there and take them apart and put them back together again, that you really understand how that song is put together and the moments it created. So yeah, it enabled us to move forward as songwriters while doing something really fun for the fans and fun for us. So it was kind of a win-win situation.

You also covered Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance," which was an interesting choice. Were you a Lady Gaga fan?

[Much laughter] Definitely. Still my favorite record from her was her second one "The Fame Monster." In all honesty, I'm not quite sure if she topped that yet. Sorry, I'm being honest. But at the same time we loved the track and I was getting into it. I don't think my guys were really into that but what we ended up doing to fill in the last two slots of that EP was we ended up putting a poll of 50 songs we all loved and it was that and some Katy Perry song. We kind of put in some oddballs just to shake it up and be like, "No one's ever gonna pick that." But lo and behold after the poll and everybody voted on our website, the number one most requested song was Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" and number two was "Sad but True" by Metallica.

Did you think about doing the Metallica song instead?

We thought about that for a second but we're like, "Everybody can see this so we have to do it." It's a great song but we're of the mindset and we have been that we listen to everything from Tom Petty and Lamb of God. There's something about a good song that really you could probably play it in any genre.

Absolutely true.

It was already kind of laid out for the parts. It was a lot of fun and the most amazing thing was we went out on tour after that and we ended up throwing it in to a couple sets. You could pick out the poster child for masculinity like the biker dude with the bandana and he is singing every word of this Lady Gaga song and I'm like, "This is freaking fabulous."

Halestorm got heavier on "The Strange Case of..." album. Where did the heaviness come from?

I think our goal no matter what with each of the records was, "We're getting closer." We're working on our third now and I think we're probably gonna nail it on this one finally. But our goal has always been to try and bridge the gap between what people see live and what people hear on our records.

You tend to be heavier onstage than in the studio?

Because it's tough to capture energy anymore with everything competing for radio and competing for perfection and it's hard to capture personality and energy. On the last record we ended up doing the drums to two-inch tape, which really helped because you could kind of hear my brother and a little bit of his personality oozing through the speakers. But in our opinion as we take these songs we've written and recorded and then play them out for however many gigs over a period of a year or two, they develop a life of their own. So I think that's always been the goal.

Songs do take on a life when they're played live.

Now as far as actually having a game plan for each record? No, we never do. We always think we do but halfway through the process something happens and it's, "OK. That's the direction." But I think it's just a process of searching and chasing whatever gets you excited and that's kind of what we did with the last record and we're doing that with this one too.

You're working on a new record now?

Basically we wanna have songs on there that move us. We write a lot but not every song we write is particularly right for this record. So yeah, it's simple and it's also complicated at the same time because you're following your gut and you're chasing whatever is getting you excited at the same time that kinda becomes a rabbit hole of, "OK. Where are we going?" But so far so good and I'm really excited about the new songs we've been writing and I can't wait to play them out and I can't wait to get in there and just show everybody what we got. Because I feel like I'm sitting on this secret now.

"Mayhem" is one of the early songs that Halestorm has been playing live. Is that the kind of music we'll hear on the new album?

Definitely that's one mood and again we kind of explored a little bit of what we learned about ourselves over the past records. Kind of the same aspects I was telling you about the covers EP. You listen to a lot of different things and because we've had all these opportunities we've been able to experiment a little bit with the songwriting.

Are you working with Howard Benson again?

We're working with a different producer this time so that's gonna add in a whole kind of fresh perspective of where we need to go.

Who's the new producer?

We're talking with a couple people and we haven't made a decision. I'm not quite sure if I'm allowed to announce that at the moment but I would love to tell you [laughs].

Typically the third album in a band's life is really the pivotal record.

Yeah, I think we've kind of made the decision no matter what, there isn't gonna be one song on this record that we aren't extremely passionate about. It's not gonna be any filler and those are just our personal feelings about the band and those types of standards. Also I think the traditional pressure that comes with, "Oh man, this has to be successful" isn't necessarily in our mindset right now because we've continued down this slow and steady route.

That has always been your pursuit - slow and steady?

Any type of success we've gotten over the past couple years - however it is you measure success - has been very slow and very steady. It hasn't been overnight and we just continue to put one foot in front of the other and with each step as long as we keep that mindset of following our gut and chasing whatever gets us excited and being passionate, it just continues to be the right decision. Or continues to at least be a step forward in the right direction. So I'm excited to see what happens next.

That is such a cool mindset to have if you can maintain that perspective.

I think that's what we've always done as a band. The goal was never actually to get signed or get a Grammy and all these things that people measure their success on. The goal was always to continue and that's what we're doing.

Do you ever feel or sense any of that "girl in a rock band" sentiment?

No. Honestly if there's any negativity, I kind of have blinders to that. Forever it's always been about, "Do I love what I do?" and any wall I come up against, I ultimately have put that in front of myself. Like, "Oh man, I've got to get better as a musician. I need to make sure I can preserve my voice for a tour." Make sure when you go out there, you have something to back up the aspect you're a girl.

You certainly don't dress like a guy when you're onstage.

I like to wear the short skirts and the hi-heels and my rule again is always to have something to back it up and make sure you're not basing your entire career off of that. Because all that goes away [laughs].

You don't have to worry about that for a while.

Thank you. I had the most amazing opportunity about two years ago to speak with Pat Benatar. She is the coolest 60-year old I know and she still rocks. She was telling me about certain things she had to go through when she was my age. For example, I've never had to sit in anybody's lap to get my records played. I don't have a label that looks down on me because I'm a girl or tries to push me in one direction. So I'm very, very lucky and I think a lot of girls that are my peers and coming up in the scene as well are very lucky with each generation somebody's always gotta go through something and break down some doors somewhere.

Certainly Pat Benatar broke down a lot of barriers for the female artists that followed.

I think because they were an anomaly and there wasn't the Internet where you could see, "Oh, there's lots of girls like me," they had to make up the rules as they went along. I got the most amazing compliment from Pat. We were talking about this generation and she told me a story about how she was on tour with Chrissie Hynde and how they were discussing - this is 25 years ago - "So who do you think we're gonna talk to in 25 years? Who do you think is gonna be doing what we're doing and I hope we did the right things and made the right decisions. Because it would suck to go through all this crap and have nobody be out there in 25 years and still be where it is now."

You have become a role model.

I'm telling you there are so many girls that come to our shows. Even the difference between now and five years ago when we were touring and the majority was guys and a quarter of it would be girls. There are so many girls that come to rock shows and little girls that are getting guitars and we sign so many first guitars for young girls. Their parents will bring them to the shows and we get to talk to them so I'm really encouraged. I think it's either gonna even itself out or you guys are in for a revolution of lots of up-and-coming girl rockers.

In the video for "Here's to Us," there's a scene where you take a drink. Did you have any sense of how that might impact on young girls thinking it was cool to drink?

Absolutely. I have a very strange and open relationship [with my fans] and I thank the great gift of technology. Probably moreso than I should, I'm constantly on Twitter and have used the social networking as this kind of soundboard to bounce off ideas and also communicate openly with a lot of these kids. It's so funny 'cause it's a glorified version of what my generation when I was coming up was like. AIM or something like that. But it's been really cool to hear their opinions and they ask me a lot of questions and I always error on the side of honesty.

Do fans ask about drinking and stuff like that?

It's funny you bring up that moment in the video because in all honesty I haven't even really thought about that particular moment. The more I'm open and honest and people do ask me how I keep up my vocals live and the kind of lifestyle I have and what I eat. If I'm going out for a drink with the guys, I'll post a picture of what I'm drinking or I'll cheer everybody. By erring on the side of honesty, you get a lot more respect than if you're just trying to be a rockstar or if you're trying to hide the fact that maybe you are an alcoholic.

That happens a lot.

You're under the guise of, "I'm very clean." No matter what I do or what I am or the mistakes I make, it's very freeing to all of a sudden be, "You know what? This is who I am. I know I'm gonna make mistakes and somebody is gonna be mad in the future." But I'm so surprised because the more I decide I'm gonna be open, the more people send me letters saying, "Oh, you're such a great role model." And you're going, "No. Wait a minute."

Was there any kind of response when you took a shot in "Here's to Us?"

To kind of touch on "Here's to Us," that song came in at the 11th hour. We already had the record done and we were finishing up the recording and we ended up writing this song really about the making of our first record and the ups and downs we ended up having. It's like what I was telling you before about our A& R guy getting fired and so many bands getting dropped and falling on our face and thinking we were next.

"Here's to Us" was a biographical song?

What we would end up doing is we were living at this Oakwood Apartments complex in the middle of L. A. And there's this little corner store. They had this really, really cheap awful champagne and every time - I still have the bottles - we'd be like, "You know what guys? We're going home," we'd go and get a bottle of champagne and we all toasted. We said, "Here's to us, guys. Whether we go home or move on, we're still a band and we're gonna continue." Like I said our goal was to see what happens next.

Did you have a big collection of champagne bottles?

Every time we did that, we would all date the bottle and sign it and kind of write out a little thing about why we were celebrating. I ended up taking five or six empty bottles home when the record was done. Because it was such a monumental [thing] and to me it was more about the accomplishment of being in that type of relationship with three other people and it's kind of like do or die. So in that aspect we did do a lot of drinking, hahhahah. It's funny because we turned it into the label saying, "Here's a song. I don't know if it's gonna be good for the record or not but we just did this." Everyone's like, "Wait, this has to go on the record" and so we ended up chopping something else off to get that on. I'm glad we did. It's so weird how it kind of came full circle with that song and it took us forever to go through the mental filter to actually write that type of song for ourselves.

Wolfgang Van Halen sings backup on "Here's to Us?"

He does. And that was on a whim too. That was Halloween night because he had met us at the studio and were were gonna go to a costume party. He met us at the studio 'cause he was driving us over and he was just kind of sitting in the break room while we were doing backup vocals and I'm like, "Dude, get your b-tt out there" and he's like, "Really?" I'm like, "Yeah, go sing." We had the lyrics up and he sang with us. What a sweet dude by the way. Like totally has no clue that he's his this famous dude and his dad is a famous guy. I mean obviously he knows it but he doesn't act like it. He's the sweetest guy and really talented too.

When you think back to that moment when you were 13 years old and you knew what you wanted to do with your life, this all must seem pretty unbelievable.

Yeah, it blows my mind. It does feel like six lifetimes ago but what a weird journey. I don't think we even knew that it was gonna get to this point. I know we didn't because again there's a fine line between believing in yourself and being obsessed with something enough to take it there and then it actually happening.

You can dream about something but we all know lots of dreams don't come true.

There's a difference because I know a lot of talented bands and a lot of people don't get these opportunities. We had a moment literally every month the four of us where it's our stop and smell the roses moment. Where we're like, "Jesus, guys. Can you believe we're still doing this? Can you believe this is happening? People actually wanna see us play." It's just amazing to me because I remember being at the grocery store with my mom when I was a teenager and saying to my little brother, "Wouldn't it be weird if our song came on the radio right now? Or if somebody recognized us and we had to give autographs? Wouldn't that be cool?" It's just weird how now that is part of our normal life. It's weird and it's beautiful and yeah, it's mind blowing. I can't even really think of this fully without getting like ... feelings. So it's awesome.

Interview by Steven Rosen
Ultimate-Guitar.Com 2014
More Halestorm interviews:
+ Halestorm's Joe Hottinger: 'Now I Can Surround Myself With My Guitars' Interviews 09/03/2013
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