Interview: Halestorm — "Def Leppard isn't playing tonight…"
Mon, 08 Feb 2010 08:42:29
Halestorm arrive with one mission and one mission alone—to kick some serious ass.
Ever since their eponymous Atlantic Records debut hit shelves last spring, the Pennsylvania quartet has been traversing the globe tearing up towns with sharp riffs and even sharper hooks. Frontwoman Lzzy Hale blends a raw charisma a la James Hetfield with a classic pop sex appeal that's more Madonna than Joan Jett—though she would've been a better choice for The Runaways than Kristen Stewart, that goes without saying. Lzzy's one of a kind and, most definitely, a frontwoman to watch. Halestorm shine the most on stage though, and they'll be ripping up the U.S. on another forthcoming headline run….
While on the road with Theory of a Deadman, Lzzy sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino to discuss the band's latest video for "It's Not You," serving as the Kill Bill of rock n' roll and winning over the big biker dudes in this exclusive interview…
What's the story behind the "It's Not You" video?
You have no idea how much fun we had with that! It's so funny; some of the shots show my brother completely distracted. After a couple takes of Arejay [Hale, drums] looking at these hot chicks in fishnets beating the crap out of each other, we told him, "You're going to be in the opening scene with a cowbell and you're just going to stare at the girls." He was like, "Sweet!" It was funny! They were part of the Jersey Girl roller derby team from New Jersey, and they're a bunch of kickass chicks. The team really wanted to do this for us, and they were fans of the band. We'd never done a video where there were a bunch of badass girls at the center. There's definitely a theme of female empowerment. We wanted that to show through subtlely, while we had a good time. The guys got a lot of face time with the girls [Laughs]. I got to strap on some roller skates and skate with them. The coach taught me some tricks. I'd do it again!
Where did that concept come from?
It was kind of a fluke accident. When we were in California, my band mates actually went to a roller derby and they came back with rave reviews. Somebody at the label then said, "The Jersey Girls are fans of the band, and they were suggesting that we do something together." We all thought that sounded like a great time, and we tried it. It turned out so much better than any of us could've ever expected. We got the idea maybe a few days before we were set on shooting it [Laughs]. Nobody really knew what the plot was; we just all got in a room together. They did some acting and we got to skate around—voila, there's a video! We were flying by the seat of our pants.
It's badass and stripped down, but it's got a girl hero at the front. You're like The Kill Bill of rock n' roll.
That's a huge compliment! I love that movie, by the way [Laughs]. I don't know if we were actually planning on doing that with the video, but when it came back, our fans loved it! A lot of people have said, "Wow, it's great to have a girl in the driver's seat." It's a really fun video where we walk the line between cheesy with the cowbell and badass with the roller derby girls [Laughs]. When we got the finished product we were really happy. There's a lot of substance to it and, in certain undertones, it speaks to what we're all about.
What's the story behind "Nothing to Do with Love?"
I fell in love with writing in a certain way for this record. The first song I wrote like this was "Dirty Work." This series of songs turns the tables asking, "What can I say that would start out one way and twist in the end?" I think Alice Cooper did that very well. On his earlier records, you weren't really sure whether it was him who was sick or if it was you who was sick for actually thinking that's what he was writing about [Laughs]. I ended up writing a few songs like that and "Nothing to Do with Love" was so much fun to play. I took some inspiration from Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do with it," but this has "Nothing to Do with Love" [Laughs]. There's a huge response live, and everyone's yelling that line. You write these songs for yourself—you're getting it all out. It's a whole different level now; we're playing live, and all of these people are singing back to us. It almost means something completely different than what we actually began writing it for. This song is kind of a warning saying, "I don't know if you want to mess with this. Maybe there are some things about me that you don't realize. Maybe you don't want to tap into them, or maybe you do…Either way, you've got to know it." [Laughs] "Bet U Wish U Had Me Back" has had one of the strangest responses I've ever seen too. We always thought it was primarily a chick song. It's one of the only songs on the record where you know a girl is saying the chorus. I've seen biker guys with bandannas and leather jackets singing every word to "Bet U Wish" though [Laughs]. It's the best feeling ever! I can never predict anything about this band! We're lucky.
Are you psyched to be back headlining in the U.S. after you get back from Europe?
We're so excited! One of our favorite venues is the Machine Shop in Flint, Michigan and we just played a sold out show there. It was so incredible! I literally went on stage and said, "You know Def Leppard isn't playing tonight…Sorry, it's us headlining!" Everybody laughed. On the headline tours, we really get to know our fans. We've got fans that are really diehard and passionate! It's just amazing.
Check out Rick Florino's new novel Dolor available now for FREE here…