Interview: Matt Tuck of Bullet for My Valentine and Lzzy Hale of Halestorm
Mon, 22 Apr 2013 06:44:58
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Bullet for My Valentine and Halestorm joining forces on the same bill is something like a modern day Clash of the Titans. Both acts stand out as leaders in modern heavy music , boasting their own respective arsenals of bona fide arena-size anthems. Neither is similar. Bullet for My Valentine pick up the torch from Metallica and Pantera, transposing thrash technicality into incendiary grooves. Singer and guitar Matt Tuck remains one of the tightest guitarists in the game right now, and he's got the perfect voice for metal. Meanwhile, Halestorm add a sexy strut to hard rock, punctuated by singer Lzzy Hale's immense vocals. That said, they both kick ass in their own right.
In this exclusive interview, Matt Tuck of Bullet for My Valentine and Lzzy Hale of Halestorm talk to ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino about the current hardDrive Live 5 tour, potentially collaborating, their own histories, playlists, and so much more.
How did you both first discover music?
Lzzy Hale: For me, it was because of my crazy Spinal Tap-ish family [Laughs]. My parents are both very much into music. I remember listening to their records growing up. My mom was very into Heart and Van Halen. My dad was into the darker stuff like Deep Purple and Black Sabbath.
Matt Tuck: It was the same thing for me. Growing up, my dad wasn't a musician or anything, but he was a music fan. He had all of these records like Led Zeppelin and stuff like that.
Lzzy Hale: We were influenced by that generation first. Thankfully, both of our parents were into rock.
Was it more encouraging that your parents were into rock or did you want to rebel and grab on to something else?
Matt Tuck: Yeah! I used to not like the music my dad listened to. Then, I actually got into heavy music because of that. Now, I'm older and I actually appreciate all of the music he introduced me to as a kid.
Lzzy Hale: I didn't really rebel. My family's crazy so the way I would rebel was by making my bed and cleaning my room [Laughs]. I caught the bug early. Halestorm is the only band I've ever been in. It started when I was 13-years-old. Thankfully, my family was crazy enough to be like, "Go for it now or you're always going to wonder later". I had a lot of support. I did have to fire my dad like four times out of the whole Halestorm situation. That wasn't fun [Laughs]. He was a bass player. He was in the band for almost a year and then we were like, "He's old. He shouldn't be in the band". We had him run sound, but we found out he's kind of deaf and shouldn't be running sound. We were like, "You can drive the van". He's a horrible driver so I decided that didn't work out. Now, he's just dad!
What made you both want to pick up the guitar for the rest of your life?
Matt Tuck: Personally, it was when I got into bands like Metallica. I found my own musical tastes and preferences. When I got into that music, all I wanted to do was learn guitar. It really set me up from that moment. There was nothing else I wanted to do with myself. I focused all of my energies and efforts into buying a guitar and learning how to play it. In school, I managed to teach the other guys around me to do the same.
Lzzy Hale: I started on piano first. You have to make a decision whether you want to go the Elton John route or the Black Sabbath route. I started guitar when I was 16-years-old. We had a guitar player in the band, and he quit. I was devastated like, "I'll never find another guitar player so I might as well learn". I bought a cheap guitar, started learning it, and fell more in love with it than the piano. I pale in comparison to Mr. Tuck though…
Matt Tuck: Oh no [Laughs].
What was your first guitar?
Lzzy Hale: It was a B.C. Rich Mockingbird, but I don't think it was all Mockingbird because there was something seriously wrong with the neck. It was a freaking candy apple red guitar. It was all I could afford at the time.
Matt Tuck: That's funny! The first guitar I actually bought was a cream white Squire Stratocaster. About a year and a half later, I sold it to get something else, which I wish I'd never done. I don't have my first guitar. It's a shame. I went on to bigger and better things, I guess.
When did you learn how to sing and play simultaneously?
Matt Tuck: I can't really remember. It's always been that way. I don't know why or how. I learned to do them at the same time. It was something I just did.
Lzzy Hale: It's the same for me. You play out, and you've got to write on something. I've been doing it since the beginning.
What were the bands that inspired the both of you?
Matt Tuck: It was Metallica first and foremost. They were my gateway band. I went in to a lot heavier stuff later like Pantera, Slayer, Machine Head, and Sepultura. Metallica was my introduction to hard rock, and it spiraled from there.
Lzzy Hale: I'm just humbled to be here. It's going on 16 years of Halestorm. Being on this tour is amazing. The Bullet for My Valentine fans are awesome. They show up and sing every word! They've welcomed us with open arms. The inspiration comes full circle now. You look out at these people, and they're singing every word. They're probably emoting more than you are half the time. It's amazing because you end up taking that with you. You end up touching someone with a piece you freaking made up in your living room. It means a lot to you, but you never know if anybody else is going to like it.
What fosters evolution for the both of you?
Matt Tuck: For me, it's about not repeating the last record. You can't become predictable or stale. A band has an identity though and you try to preserve that. It's about finding a balance between evolving naturally and maintaining your sound. It's not super easy, but it's something we've managed to do since the second record. Whatever comes out comes out. It's natural. We don't fight it. You don't want to become stagnant. You want to be relevant.
Lzzy Hale: It's not an easy thing to go in and make a record. With this last one, we didn't have a whole lot of time. It's very true that you have your whole life to write your first record. We had around 420 songs narrowed down when we made our first record. When we got off the road to make our second, we had a handful of songs that were finished, and a handful that were unfinished. We had to follow whatever got us excited and hope and pray we were doing the right thing. It's definitely gotten easier to collect ideas and write on the radio. It's awesome being on tour with bands like Bullet for My Valentine, Young Guns, and Stars in Stereo. You see the show and you're like, "I've got to practice!" Seeing all of those great bands is the perfect challenge.
Do you miss the road when you're home?
Matt Tuck: I don't necessarily miss it [Laughs]. It's nothing I hate. When I go home, I'm blessed to be with my beautiful family. I love being home so when I'm there, I don't miss it at all. When I'm on tour though, I love it. It works both ways. It's a love-hate relationship to be honest. I do love it, but I hate being away from the ones I love.
Lzzy Hale: It's the opposite for me. I don't know what to do when I'm off tour [Laughs]. I'll be in the kitchen and think, "I actually have to make stuff?" There's a shower at my disposal. The first three days you're off tour, you're like, "Oh yeah, I can shower now". It's different for me because I'm not married and I don't have kids. I think when that chapter comes into play, the priorities switch. Tour is easy for me right now. Real life gets complicated.
Do songs always start with riffs for both of you?
Matt Tuck: Oh yeah! I've got to have a soundtrack to be inspired by when I'm writing. Then, when you put all that together, you get a song.
Lzzy Hale: You really are chasing after what gets you excited. Sometimes, I'll be in a soundtrack and my crazy little brother will play something and I'll be like, "Wait, record that on your phone!" It's a throw and go thing always. I don't have a lot of time to sit down and be meticulous. I think I work better under pressure.
Have you written something together yet?
Matt Tuck: We haven't yet. We've been performing together every night on stage which is amazing. We're doing a song called "Dirty Little Secret" off Temper Temper.That's definitely one of the highlights of the set. I'd definitely love to do something at some point in our career if Lzzy's available.
Lzzy Hale: Now that you've put the idea in our heads, we've got to do it, right?
What are you both listening to right now?
Matt Tuck: I'm not listening to anything new. It's all of the stuff I grew up on.
Lzzy Hale: I'm pretty much the same way. Although, Gojira has been jamming in our dressing room as well as Soilwork. Then, there's a band called Ghost that I just got into. They're incredible. I agree with Matt though. There's something about going back to the records you grew up with that inspired you initially. You can always learn something new from them.
Do you want to see Matt and Lzzy collaborate?
See our latest interview with Matt Tuck about Temper Temper here!
See our latest interview with Lzzy Hale about The Strange Case Of.... here!