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This article was originally published in issue #59
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While there is no shortage of incredibly talented women in the music industry, the ratio of men to women in hard rock/metal scene has admittedly been historically disproportionate.
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 fourth studio album, 'Vicious' back in July and Gi caught up with Lzzy and the Halestorm's lead guitarist, Joe Hottinger a for an exclusive live performance of two new tracks from the record—filmed at Hanel & Hendrix in London—plus an 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 than 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.
While there is no shortage of incredibly talented women in the music industry, the ratio of men to women in hard rock/metal scene has admittedly been historically disproportionate. Alongside other modern female rock and roll powerhouses such as Hayley Williams (Paramore) and Amy Lee (Evanescence), Hale has worked to charter her influence by consistently proving that hard rock is not just a boys club.
“Because talent has nothing to do with being male or female,” Hale wrote in a recent blog post. “There is no ‘superior gender.’”
“It’s about what you bring to that stage, holding your standards high, and [being] great, not just ‘for a girl,’” she explained.
In her blog, (available at http://lzzyhaleofficial.tumblr.com/) Hale recently opened up about the struggle that comes with being a woman in a male-dominated industry, despite the band’s considerable success.
“We as women, have to deal daily with sexism, harassment and making hard decisions that often are unfair, choosing the lesser of two evils. Lose your soul, keep a career path. Keep a career path, lose your soul,” she writes. “And don’t get me wrong, I like dressing up in tight leather, and I like the sex that goes hand in hand with Rock n Roll… but are we being judged or accepted on talent or how we look? Are we being denied at the gate for not being sexy enough to turn on the gatekeeper? Are our passions being suppressed because they threaten the egos of a dinosaur mentality? There’s a big difference.”
Nevertheless, 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 women, 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!”
Now, 21 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, 'Vicious', which hit the stores and airwaves in late July.
“There are so many different layers to what we are and what we’re passionate about,” Hale states. “I think at this point in time in our career, we are on the side of being all of those things and being unapologetically us. When those subjects came up, the personal became more vulnerable, the sexier tracks go sexier and the heavy tracks got heavier. That’s a testament to the decision, ‘Do you want to go all in or not?’”
With 'Vicious' 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.
HALESTORM 'VICIOUS' Tracklist
Halestorm has also announced an ambitious tour that will see the Lzzy Hale-led rockers perform in various cities throughout the UK and Europe, including eight shows in the UK and Ireland, and the band's first-ever performance at London’s O2 Academy Brixton.
In preparation for the tour, Lzzy stated; “We are so excited to return to you with our biggest headlining tour ever! And we are beyond pumped to finally get to perform at the legendary Brixton Academy, one of the places that has been on our rock 'n' roll bucket list forever! Can’t wait to see all of you there!”
Halestorm 2018 European Tour Dates
Sep 19: Dublin Academy, IE
Sep 20: Limelight, Belfast, UK
Sep 22: O2 Academy, Sheffield, UK
Sep 23: O2 Academy, Glasgow, UK
Sep 24: O2 Academy, Birmingham, UK
Sep 26: O2 Apollo, Manchester, UK
Sep 28: O2 Academy Brixton, London, UK
Sep 29: O2 Academy, Bristol, UK
Oct 01: 013, Tilburg, NL
Oct 02: La Cigale, Paris, FR
Oct 03: Trix Antwerp, Antwerp, BE
Oct 05: Vega, Copenhagen, DK
Oct 06: Train, Arhus, DK
Oct 08: Debaser Strand, Stockholm, SE
Oct 09: Rockefeller, Oslo, NO
Oct 11: Markthalle, Hamburg, DE
Oct 12: Kesselhaus, Germany, DE
Oct 14: Batschkappm, Frankfurt, DE
Oct 15: Live Music Hall, Cologne, DE
Oct 16: Backstage Werk, Munich, DE
Oct 18: Simm City, Vienna, AU
Oct 20: Les Docks, Lausanne, CH
Oct 21: Dynamo, Zurich, CH
Oct 22: Alcatraz, Milan, IT
Oct 24: Bikini, Barcelona, ES
Oct 25: But, Madrid, ES