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Lzzy Hale and Joe Hottinger Talk Halestorm's Latest Album and More | Interview

Published 4 months ago on October 27, 2023

By Jonathan Graham

Lzzy Hale and Joe Hottinger Talk Halestorm's Latest Album and More | Interview

Easily recognised for their slamming riffs and frontwoman Lzzy Hale's dynamic, soaring vocal performances, Halestorm has become one of the heaviest-hitting bands in the American modern hard rock scene. The band released their fifth studio album, 'Back From The Dead' last month and Gi caught up with Lzzy and, Halestorm's lead guitarist, Joe Hottinger for an exclusive in-depth interview on the creation of the new release.

Halestorm is a band who were born to do what they do. When the group formed in the late 90s in Red Lion, Pennsylvania, siblings Arejay and Lzzy (Elizabeth) Hale were still only children—ages 10 and 13 years old, respectively. Lzzy recalled first learning piano at age five before later picking up the guitar at 16. The Hale siblings released their first EP called '(Don't Mess With) The Time Man' in 1999, and while that first release was stylistically much different from the band's later releases, the young sibling's objectively impressive songwriting and performance were perhaps indicative of the success to come.

Quickly trading in the smooth lo-fi grooves for heavy riffs and ripping vocals, Halestorm signed with major label Atlantic Records in 2005 alongside some of music's most notable artists. In 2013, the lead single, "Love Bites (So Do I)," from their second album 'The Strange Case Of…' earned the band their first Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance. Notably, Halestorm became the first female-fronted band to be nominated and win this particular Grammy Award.

Now, nearly 25 years into the band's career, Halestorm is continuing to push the boundaries of rock and roll music sonically, creatively, and topically with their most recent record, 'Back From The Dead', which hit the stores and airwaves earlier this year.

With 'Back From The Dead, ' Halestorm once again reach deep within and have conjured some of their most engaging and eclectic songs to date. It's a record that truly sees the group push their musical boundaries further than we've seen thus far in their catalogue, crafting songs that rise from a whisper to a scream and back again, and will comfortably fit within any crowd-pleasing set from the band for years to come.

"'Back From The Dead' is about survival, not in a physical sense, even though I know we all have been touched by death, especially these last few years," said Lzzy Hale. "This song is personal and written from a mental health perspective. I wanted to give myself and the world a hard rock song we could shout out loud as the gates opened again. I was on the edge of this world getting completely lost in oblivion, but even though it was the harder of two choices, I didn't just let the darkness and depression in my mind dig me an early grave. I didn't just sit and let it take me. I've erased my name from my headstone, so save your prayers, I'm back! I hope this song, as I pass it on to you, reminds you of your strength individually and that you are not alone."

"We started writing this album about three months B.C. (Before COVID)," explains band leader Hale. "Once we went into lockdown and were unable to perform and tour, I fell into a dark place and something of an identity crisis."

"This album is the story of me carving myself out of that abyss. It is a journey of navigating mental health, debauchery, survival, redemption, rediscovery, and still maintaining faith in humanity."

Hale's scope of influence certainly extends beyond her overall musicality. On social media and her blog, she has consistently challenged modern beauty standards and the often unrealistic expectations that are placed on women by default. Furthermore, she uses her platform to create open discussions regarding sexuality, authenticity, and various societal issues, and has (on multiple occasions) expressed her support for the LGBT community and the #MeToo movement.

"So I dive into the unknown, combating the negative, condescending and ignorant things people spew, with positivity and by continuing to do me," Hale wrote. "I am also so grateful for our community and fan base that support all the things I stand for; empowerment, individuality, equality, positivity, and Rock."

Hale goes on to encourage the younger generation of musicians, in hopes that her influence and support will ultimately play a role in shaping the next generation of empowered individuals.

"I'm so honoured to get to meet and receive so many letters from teenagers and little women who draw pictures of me holding my Gibson and tell me all about how they are starting a band because their parents took them to a Halestorm show," she said. "Remember my Dear Daughters… your life [is] yours, your story is yours… never change who you are for anyone! You have all of our support through it all, stand or fall, I will be right here for you!"

Following the success of her previous signature models with Gibson, this year has brought an exciting new development from the partnership—announcing Hale as Gibson's first female brand ambassador and launching a brand new signature guitar.

As a Gibson Brands Ambassador, Lzzy Hale joins legendary musicians, in thought leadership, brand research and development, and represents the entire portfolio across all brands including Gibson, Epiphone, Kramer, MESA/Boogie, KRKand Maestro. In addition, Lzzy is involved in mentorship of the next generation of players, as well as exploring and supporting philanthropic endeavours that she is passionate about.

The fourth collaboration between Gibson Brand's luthiers and Lzzy Hale, the Explorerbird—a stylish mash-up with an Explorer body, neck, and a Firebird headstock—is the first guitar of its kind and is available worldwide now at authorised dealers and www.Gibson.com.

"As synonymous as lipstick and leather, the ExplorerBird brings two iconic worlds together," says Lzzy Hale. "This guitar is a statement and celebration of owning what makes you stand out. Because no one has ever made history by playing it safe."

Hale's new Gibson Explorerbird is a hard-rocking, great-looking guitar that is built for heavy music and follows the release of her three sold-out guitars the Gibson Lzzy Hale Explorer, Gibson Lzzy Hale Explorer Dark, and the Epiphone Lzzy Hale Explorer. As the first-ever design of its kind, the Explorerbird combines the body shape of the classic Explorer guitar and a Non-Reverse Firebird headstock into an artist model, with gold hardware. The Explorerbird comes with a striking Cardinal Red finish that matches Lzzy's explosive live performances.

 

Halestorm' Back From The Dead' Tracklist

  1. Back From The Dead
  2. Wicked Ways
  3. Strange Girl
  4. Brightside
  5. The Steeple
  6. Terrible Things
  7. My Redemption
  8. Bombshell
  9. I Come First
  10. Psycho Crazy
  11. Raise Your Horns

Halestorm has also announced an ambitious tour that will see the Lzzy Hale-led rockers perform in various cities throughout the UK and Europe alongside rock giants Alter Bridge and Mammoth WVH.

 

For more information on Halestorm, please visit:

halestormrocks.com

 


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