Fam­ily band Halestorm bring­ing its hard rock, metal sound to Rupp

Lexington Herald-Leader (Sunday) - - Living - BY WAL­TER TU­NIS

So you think hard rock and metal mu­sic is strictly a boys club? If so, you need to give a lis­ten to Lzzy Hale. As one of the gen­res’ lead­ing fe­male artists, she has filled are­nas in­ter­na­tion­ally fronting the Pennsylvania band Halestorm.

Sure, she’s not the first woman to go knuckle to knuckle with the guys when rock ‘n’ roll turns heavy. But Hale may well be the first to spear­head an arena tour ty­ing to­gether two other

sim­i­larly loud and proud bands — In This Mo­ment and New Years Day — that also put the ladies in charge.

“I think it’s a sign of the times,” Hale said. “With this heavy mu­sic, girls are find­ing their voices in this gen­er­a­tion. For me, I’m re­minded of the way I felt when I was 17, when I was maybe only one of five girls own­ing this mu­sic. Be­ing on the other side of it for this tour, Maria Brink (of In This Mo­ment) and

Ash Costello (of New Years Day) and my­self can show these girls at the shows that it’s to­tally pos­si­ble to do what you love as a ca­reer, to carve out your own path. It’s like, ‘Don’t ever let any­one tell you that you can’t do some­thing, be­cause we’re liv­ing proof that you can.’ It’s been an on­go­ing con­ver­sa­tion that has been re­ally cool to be a part of.”

What has Halestorm out on the road in the first place is its fourth stu­dio al­bum, “Vi­cious.” The record is full of typ­i­cally tune­ful but ag­gres­sively tex­tured mu­sic with Hale’s tire­less wail lead­ing the way. Though the band has proven stylis­ti­cally adapt­able to a num­ber of set­tings through­out its his­tory (Hale sang the Na­tional An­them at a Syra­cuse Crunch hockey game as re­cently as last week­end), the singer/gui­tarist said it was im­por­tant the band’s new al­bum re­assert an ensem­ble sound that an­swered to no­body but it­self.

“When we were writ­ing this record, I put down a lot of songs I put a lot of work into. I ended up re­view­ing them later when we were de­cid­ing what was go­ing to go on this record and, to be hon­est, I hated all of them. The songs sounded like I was try­ing to please ev­ery­body but my­self. You could al­most pick them out. ‘OK, this song is for ra­dio. That one is a crossover song for the la­bel.’ It sounded like what­ever was trendy. I just didn’t like that feel­ing, so we scrapped all of that and started again.

“It’s in­ter­est­ing when you de­cide to start again like that. I started ques­tion­ing my­self a lot. Can I even write in an ex­cit­ing form that I’m re­ally into any­more? Can I write my truth any­more? Do I even de­serve to be here?’ I mean, I’ve had so much suc­cess, you would think I would have all this fig­ured out by now. It was that kind of thing. But what you re­al­ize through the process is that by pleas­ing your­self and by stick­ing to your truth, you make what you’re do­ing more uni­ver­sal. So I’ve had a re­newed view of how I felt about mu­sic and how I used mu­sic to work through my own stuff in my head.”

What guys and girls alike may not re­al­ize about Halestorm is that it is, at heart, a fam­ily band. The singer/gui­tarist and her younger brother, drum­mer Are­jay Hale, be­gan the band while in their teens and (in Are­jay’s case) pre­teens. Their orig­i­nal bassist, in fact, was their fa­ther, Roger Hale. Lead gui­tarist Joe Hit­tinger and bassist/key­boardist Josh Smith have com­pleted the cur­rent Halestorm lineup for the past 15 years.

“Are­jay has fol­lowed me down ev­ery prover­bial rab­bit hole since we were kids,” Hale said. “When we first had the con­ver­sa­tion about start­ing a band and call­ing it Halestorm, he was al­most 11. I was at the din­ner ta­ble talk­ing to mom and dad. We were hav­ing Shake ‘n Bake Chicken. Re­mem­ber that? I was like, ‘We’re go­ing to do this. I’ve got to do this.’ Are­jay was sit­ting there with a mouth­ful of mashed pota­toes go­ing, ‘I still get to play drums with you, right, Sis?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, man. We’re a band.’

“We’ve still got the same con­tract. He’s like, ‘Yeah. I still get to play. We get to do this in front of all these peo­ple. It’s amaz­ing.”

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