Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale Talks New Album Progress, Ronnie James Dio Tribute + More
While Halestorm are still playing gig in support of their last album, ‘The Strange Case of …,’ the band is busy working on their next disc. ‘Loudwire Nights’ host Full Metal Jackie recently spoke with Halestorm frontwoman Lzzy Hale to get the lowdown on the progress of the band’s next album, her current influences and more. Check out the interview below:
Loudwire Nights, Full Metal Jackie with Lzzy Hale on the show with us tonight. How ya doin’, Lzzy?
I’m doing so well, thank you so much for having me and it’s great to hear your voice, Jackie. It’s been a while.
It has. For you guys, Lzzy, after almost two years on the road supporting the last record, what’s been your process to shift gears and get back into the creative mindset of writing new music?
It’s really hard to shift gears automatically. It’s like you’re coming down from this high of the road and all of us, we actually love touring. So that’s more of a home right now. The bus is like home. Now it’s weird to be in a studio that doesn’t roll anywhere or a bed that doesn’t move. But, it’s been cool though. We’ve been calling it a kind of creative purging because our process on the road for writing, we just collect ideas. A chorus here, maybe a full song that’s crudely recorded into my phone because we’re doing sound check. Then we get off the road and just record everything for real, hash out all these ideas. Probably 60 percent of it doesn’t even go on the next record, but we just have to get it out. It’s been a crazy process thus far. We have a lot of really great songs. I think we finally cracked the code for this next record.
Lzzy, what’s the difference in your musical taste now compared to what you listened to when you were writing ‘The Strange Case Of’? How has that been affecting what you’re writing this time?
My musical tastes, I’m always searching for new things. I know a lot of people say they listen to everything, but I kind of do. [Laughs] I have a lot of different friends in a lot of different genres. They’re always like, “Hey! you should listen to this” or I’ll listen to someone’s new record. So there’s been a lot of alternative records I’ve been listening to lately.
There’s always a spot, any time we make a new record, where I literally go back to Judas Priest and Motorhead because you have to. You have to go back and understand where this all started for you and keep reminding yourself of that. You can get so excited about something new and weird, but you’ve gotta try not to lose yourself in all of that.
Really, the biggest thing were trying to do on this record or the biggest difference is we’re really trying to bridge the gap between what people see live and what people hear in our records. We haven’t actually captured that yet. I’m really proud of the last two records, but I think its time to simplify and really get back to what in all honestly, what we do best [laughs]. Trying to put our best foot forward with this one.
Lzzy, you’re always getting up on stage to duet with other bands. What’s that adrenaline rush like to do that and put your personality into songs that shaped you as a musician?
It’s a lot of fun. I think in earlier years I was a little more nervous about it because you don’t know how someone else’s audience is going to react to you being there. Maybe someone has some diehards that are like, “Aww! Why did you have a girl come up and sing with you?” I have a lot more confidence now, maybe the past year and a half of understanding what I can bring to the table. I’m not saying that in a cocky way, but after doing it for so long you kind of understand of where to bring it and when to work an audience a little bit. So far, so good.
I’m so honored that there are people, peers, that I’m inspired by and looked up to for years and actually want me to do my thing with them. It’s quite the honor and it’s been wonderful to see everybody’s fan base kind of melting together. There aren’t a whole lot of people right now that are too scared to blur the lines anymore.
Lzzy, the way you perform it really comes across as an outpouring of your heart and soul. Is there an emotional price you pay opening up like that?
Over the years, it’s funny, my guys will tell you and anyone that I have a problem not giving 100 percent. Because there are some nights where I probably shouldn’t actually say everything or do everything I think I should do. [Laughs] I can get into trouble doing that. But, over the past few years I think it’s more freeing to be honest and yourself, wholly. Whether that means you’re going to totally embarrass yourself on stage or not, it’s just so much better than trying to go up there and sing a song.
It’s either going through the motions, or try to be someone else. It’s just too much work in this day in age. There’s always going to be somebody that’s going to take a picture or a video and say that’s not what they said they were going to do! So, I’ve become a very “I’m going to say and do what I want with whoever I want, when I want to do it” kind of girl. It’s actually been amazing, just how the fans have really accepted that and have in turn opened themselves up to us, so I really recommend honesty and pouring your heart out, first and foremost, before holding back.
Halestorm are one of the bands on the recent tribute compilation album, ‘Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life.’ Lzzy, what set the wheels in motion for Halestorm to be involved? Why was ‘Straight Through the Heart’ the perfect choice for your band?
We were going to record that song anyway, no matter what. We had a cover EP coming up. Honestly, it was Wendy Dio, and I guess the years of me [laughs] trying to persuade my peers and friends to become Ronnie James Dio fans because I’ve been quite obsessed over the years.
I remember even in middle school, I was very obsessed with ’70s and ’80s hard rock and metal. Dio was a huge influence of mine, so apparently I guess, for me yapping my head off about that throughout the years it goes through the channels and we actually ended up, we got to open for Ronnie and Heaven and Hell. We found out later that I think it was his last live show, because it was right before he got sick. I don’t know, it was just an amazing experience.
Wendy Dio got wind of that and then asked us to be on the record, and for me to write the forward. We decided to do ‘Straight Through the Heart’ because honestly, ‘Holy Diver’ was probably the first record that really introduced me to Ronnie James Dio. From there, I worked into his other catalogs. I think that song is such, it doesn’t get the airplay. It doesn’t really get the recognition that it deserves, it’s one of my favorite songs. We decided to go a little more off the beaten path, introduce people and say hey! this song is great, too.
It came out great. That whole record is awesome. Sometimes with tribute records, you never know. What a great list of bands that came out to do that record. Did you hear the Jack Black cover [Tenacious D's version of 'The Last in Line]?
He killed it! We got to perform at the Ronnie James Dio Gala. It was just so amazing to see all of these musicians who are touring, writing or making records right now. Busy people that dropped everything that they had to come and do this for Wendy and her cause. Also, just to glorify the legend that is Ronnie James Dio. It was so great trading stories with all these people, everyone that got to meet him and we would all talk about him and what kind of guy he was. It was such a wonderful experience that brought all of us together. Such a cool thing.
Lzzy, tell us about where things are now with writing and recording for the next Halestorm record.
Honestly, we are almost done with recording the record. We have a lot of great songs. It’s really going to be a very difficult narrowing down process. Somewhere along the line, you figure it out. That’s what I love about writing records, you don’t really know what you want to say on a record when you begin writing it. At least we don’t. It’s always halfway through the process and then all of a sudden, the light bulb goes off and the floodgates open.
I think that when our fans began to kind of let me into their lives a little bit, they made me feel so incredibly comfortable in my own skin that they’re going to be hearing some stories on this record that they might not know about me. It’s just a wonderful relationship that we can have with these people. I’m so excited to play new songs out live and I’m excited to unleash it to the world.
Everyone is excited to hear it. Take your time, do your thing and we’re looking forward to it. Lzzy, really appreciate it you taking the time to be on the show and look forward to seeing you again soon.
Oh, of course darling. And anything for you, Jackie!
Our thanks to Lzzy Hale of Halestorm. Though they’re working on a new album, you can still catch Halestorm live at a number of shows this summer and late fall. See their dates here. You can listen to ‘Loudwire Nights’ with host Full Metal Jackie Monday through Friday at 7PM through Midnight on more than 20 stations across America. To find out where you can hear ‘Loudwire Nights,’ click here.