From playing their first show at a Pennsylvania County Fair to performing before a sold-out Casino New Brunswick tonight as the special guests of Three Days Grace, it’s been quite a ride for American hard rock band Halestorm.
Fronted by the dynamic Lzzy Hale, the Grammy Award-winning group is riding high on the success of their third full-length record, Into The Wild Life, released this past April.
Speaking with The MusicNerd Chronicles last week, Hale credits Halestorm’s relentless commitment to touring as having helped them earn their ever-growing fanbase.
“Playing live has been so important to the growth of this band,” she says. “It is what we have always been about. Even before we landed our label and management deals, we played anywhere and everywhere we could. It has always been a huge part of who we are.”
Hale says it is the dedication of their fans that helps motivate the group to deliver 110% night after night.
“We will see the same people show after show, which just astonishes us. On one hand, you think ‘These people have rent to pay,’ yet here they are coming to four shows in a row. The passion these people show is not part of a fleeting trend or anything like that.”
Music played an early part in both Lzzy’s life and that of her younger brother Arejay, who plays drums in Halestorm. While she was enrolled in piano lessons as she grew up, she and Arejay cut their teeth in music thanks to their musician father.
“My father played bass in a bunch of local bands when he was younger, but put that aside to start a family. Growing up, my brother and I were introduced to the music of any band that had a colour – Blue Oyster Cult, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath,” she laughs.
Although some parents would bristle at the thought of their children telling them they want to do their best to carve a career out of music, Hale says their parents were, on the surface, supportive of the siblings in whatever they decided they want to pursue.
“I remember our parents telling us that no matter what we wanted to do, whether we wanted to play football or go to medical school, we had their unequivocal support.
“It was only years later, once we had the band up and running that they actually confessed how terrified they were of us getting into the music business. It wasn’t that they didn’t think we were capable of being successful, they knew how tough the music business can be, and that nothing was going to be a guarantee,” Hale shares.
Fortunately for Hale’s parents, the best-case scenario ended up playing out for her and her brother.
Eight years into their career, in 2005, Halestorm were taken under the wing of a New York City club owner, who enlisted the band to perform bi-weekly shows. Over the course of many months, the crowds grew larger and labels started paying attention.
It wasn’t necessarily the first time that the group had received label attention, but it was the attitude and approach of Atlantic Records – the label with whom the group would sign – that won them over.
“They weren’t interested in just throwing us against the wall and seeing what stuck. They wanted to let us be us and do what we do. Our label has bigger selling acts but they have stood by us and supported us at virtually every turn. There isn’t a day that goes by where we don’t feel extremely fortunate for the situation we are in,” Hale declares.
Now three records into their career, Hale says their latest effort, Into The Wild Life, represents perhaps the most concise vision of who they are as a group.
“We are figuring ourselves out a little bit more with each successive record, but with Into The Wild Life, we are definitely getting into the groove of what this band is about. We aren’t the kind of band who wants to make the same record over and over. Life moves quickly; we’ve been fortunate that we have been able to grow both individually and collectively.”
While Hale is unquestionably proud of all that her band has achieved over the course of the last decade, a recent performance at Rock In Rio allowed the vocalist-guitarist to play alongside some of rock’s biggest figures.
The excitement in her voice when it comes to talking about her performance of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” with the Hollywood Vampires – a “supergroup” consisting of Alice Cooper, actor Johnny Depp, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry and others – is downright contagious.
“I’m not normally one to get nervous, but going into rehearsals with those guys, I was nervous,” Hale laughs. “Here I was singing with rock and roll royalty and a movie star. My first thought was ‘What did I get myself into?!’
“As soon as we started chatting and playing though, my initial nervousness went away. That band isn’t something they do for money or for any reason other than having a good time. It’s all about fun, which they made sure everyone on stage got to take part in. It was such an amazing experience.”
What: Halestorm, special guests of Three Days Grace
When: Saturday Nov. 7, 8 p.m.
Where: Casino New Brunswick, 21 Casino Dr., Moncton
The show is sold out