INTERVJU: Lzzy Hale i Halestorm

I vårt samtal med den alltid så pratglada och roliga Lzzy berättar hon bl a om tjejen med rakbladet, den eventuellt kommande soloskivan och om hur man slutar bry sig om folks åsikter när man nyss fyllt 39:

I can´t wait for my 40´s, because I´m not gonna have one fuck left. I´ve still got one in my pocket for just in case, an emergency fuck… (laughs)

You´re playing Gothenburg on Friday together with Alter Bridge and Wolfgang Van Halen. What can people expect from the show?

Especially considering this is our first time since 2019 coming back to Europe, you can expect a lot of energy, you can expect us probably losing our minds a little bit and going off the rails, for a couple of different reasons. We´re excited to see everybody, we´re excited to be in all of our favorite countries finally again, but then adding to that fact that we´re out with Alter Bridge and Wolf Van Halen who are some of our favorite musicians of all time, I´m gonna up my game here. I feel like we´re gonna be everything at eleven. We have an amazing mixture of all the favorite songs, but then a lot of our new songs and I can´t wait to see the reactions to some of these songs off the new album (Back from the dead) because it´s our first time playing them live here. No tracks, no trickery. Just the four of us plugging in. You know how we roll. Every night you walk out there and it´s like this beautiful panic because it could be this magical, amazing moment that´ll never happen again, or it could be a complete trainwreck. You don´t know! (laughs) It´s gonna be a lot of fun.

How would you describe Halestorm in 2022?

I think that we´ve given a couple of our last fucks away and a lot of the little things that used to either annoy us or bug us or that we just thought were really important, are not as important. Also, I feel like what we´re doing is truly living kind of day by day and not worrying about what´s going to happen in the future and trying not to think about anything, like it was in the past, because it´s just not. I don´t know… we´re very in the moment these days.

Last time we spoke we talked about some of your favorite singers and you especially mentioned Ronnie James Dio. Do you think you could name three metal albums that have had a major impact on you and that you still go back to?

I do and it´s funny you say that, because I´m just now entering back into coming to Europe and I have kind of going back to my roots with that as well. It´s kind of a mixture. Obviously there´s “Holy diver” which is one of my favorites of all time. “Sacred heart” is amazing too. Let´s see. I love the “Ozzmosis” record. A lot of people don´t, but I love it and I´ve listened to a lot of that as well. For some new old school, Disturbed´s “The sickness” and Sevendust´s “Home”, which I don´t know would be considered metal but they definitely dabbled in it. I remember that jolting me forward out of my 70´s and 80´s hard rock and metal. Those two albums were like crazy modern, but then of course that was a long time ago. All these albums are having anniversaries now and I´m like “Oh no! I remember when that one was new.”

Have you ever gotten to meet the Prince of Darkness?

I´ve never met the Prince of Darkness, but we´ve performed with him at certain venues, opening up for him. Once in Japan and twice in the States for some of the festivals. It´s amazing considering he´s age and lyrics, how good it actually was. And he still cares, which is awesome. But no, I´ve never met the Prince of Darkness. I feel like I have to go through Sharon first. (laughs)

Looking at a guy like Ozzy who´s been doing it for so long and he´s in his 70´s, can you picture yourself going out on stage when you´re in your 70´s?

It´s so funny, because October is my birthday month, so I can´t tell you how many times I´ve been thinking about that. I just turned 39 and I´m like “When I´m in my 70´s…” and then you look at people like not just Ozzy but Mick Jagger and I just got to see Ann Wilson perform and she´s still got it. She sang so beautifully. So yes, I hope that I will because I´m going to want to. What´s so inspiring about artists that continue to make music and put out music, is that it´s life goals for me. That´s exactly where I wanna be when I´m in my 70´s. Something that was amazingly inspiring is that I got to see, all in the same lineup, Cheap Trick, Heart and Joan Jett and Robin Zander goes up there and basically says “Hey man, we´re all in our late 60´s, early 70´s and we´re singing every song in its original key!” You get to celebrate other things and that´s an accomplishment. Will I be able to sing “I miss the misery” in the same key as it is now? That´s gonna be a time to celebrate.

Have you ever thought of a solo album and do you think there ever will be a solo album from Lzzy Hale?

There might. My guys in the band are actually begging me to do that. They´re the ones going “Hey, you can do a solo album so we can have some time off!” I have a lot of songs that are very much… if you´re thinking of Stevie Nicks´ “Bella Donna”, you can here when you´re listening to Fleetwood Mac and when you´re listening to Stevie Nicks´ solo records, where her voice is in the band. Like where that killer is. Fleetwood Mac would not be the same without her, but you can really accentuate that corner of the world of the band. I feel like if I were to do a solo record, which I have plenty of songs that have never seen the light of day that I could choose from, you would definitely be able to hear what my specific influence is on the band. Yeah, absolutely, I think it most likely will be in the future. Whether it´s my decision or the guys are like “You just go!” Either way it´s gonna happen.

How do you look at writing lyrics these days and how do you look at the first album and the lyrics you wrote back then? How do you feel about those lyrics today and are there lyrics where you feel that you would never put it like that today?

Well, I think the biggest difference between our first album and our latest and how I´m writing now, is that the lyrics have more weight and they have more importance. I´m thinking about it more like “Is this really what I wanna put out in the world?” and not just “Hey, that´s fun!” I´m peeling back the layers of the onion now and trying to get to the core value. Also, I´m thinking about it personally, for myself in a selfish way like “If this is the last song anybody that hears from me, like it doesn´t mean something.”, but then you´re also thinking about the weight that your words carry because you have a fanbase now. On the first record we had a fanbase, but we weren´t sure how the entire world was going to take us, so I wasn´t really writing for that. I was like “Ok, let´s finish this song! Is it good? Is it catchy? Ok, we´ll get it on the radio and that´s awesome.” Now we have this amazing family of fans and friends and people where they care and they care a lot about what you care about and they care a lot about what you´re writing about. They take it to heart. Thinking about it in those terms as well, it puts a little bit more weight to it, but I like it because then it´s not just surface writing. Some of my favorite songs that others have written and also that I´ve written, are the ones that are seemingly simple, where there is this universal message that if you are not really a lyric person you can still get it, but if you actually dig into it there´s multiple layers of meanings for what the songs are about and we´ve been doing that lately and especially on this last record. I don´t know. Hopefully I just keep learning and growing.

Have you ever written stuff where you´ve felt that you couldn´t really use the lyrics because they give away too much of yourself? I mean, we live in a world these days where people react to everything you put out there.

Absolutely. I´ve written tons of songs that are either too specific, like too personal in an emotional sense or it´s too raunchy in a sex sense. It´s like that balance between the two. At the same time I go back sometimes and listen to those demos and depending on where you´re at in your life, some of those songs could be brought back to life.

Looking at the albums you´ve made so far and not picking the latest one, do you have a favorite Halestorm album?

Yeah! Normally I would speak from a fan´s perspective from what I see in the world, but when we made the second album, “The strange case of…” we were already over the first album, we knew what we were after, we knew what our fanbase was like and we just went in there with teeth and grit, whereas on the first album we had no idea what we were doing. We had all these demos and all these songs and we were trying to piece it together. It was chaos, but when we wrote the second album it was with a purpose and then the third album, “Into the wild life”, we went off the rails as in we just had to shake it up. I would say, I guess depending on your walk of life, the quintessential Halestorm album would probably be “The strange case of…” But there´s something to be said of Vicious” too. We were just not giving a fuck, in a good way. We isolated ourselves and we were doing a lot of experimentation, so every album… it´s almost like you´re a different person by the time you get to the next album and you just have to keep things interesting.

Not giving a fuck is something that comes with age. When you´re in your 20´s you really care a lot about what people think about you, but the older you get the more you feel like you couldn´t care less what people think about you. That´s a liberating feeling, is it not?

It is and it was a weird transition too because I´ve always been a yes person and I´ve always been like “Yeah, I´ll do it!” but over the past couple of years… I´ve been calling it the dawn of no. It´s funny because the more times you say “No, I don´t want to do that.”… the first couple of times I really started hammering down on that especially with our management and our label and it was like “What? Really? You don´t want to do this?” It was kind of a chock, because everything used to be like “Yeah, let´s do it!” The brilliant thing about saying no is that when you say no, you eventually end up getting better offers and better yes situations. But yeah, it is liberating and especially in today´s world and how everything is kind of messy on the internet. It´s like “You can love me and that´s fine. You can hate me and that´s totally fine too. I don´t care either way.” I´ve been saying that a lot to some young girls that are struggling right now on the internet… it´s not real life but there´s a connection and people get hurt and I´ve been talking to these young women where it´s like all that matters is what You like about yourself and how do You feel? What makes you happy? Who cares what people say and who cares what people comment. Turn it off! Put yourself out there! That´s something I´ve very much tried to embrace here in my 30´s. I can´t wait for my 40´s, because I´m not gonna have one fuck left. I´ve still got one in my pocket for just in case, an emergency fuck… (laughs)

I guess you´ve met a lot of fans throughout the years and maybe especially young girls who´ve said that your music and your lyrics have helped them in one way or another. Do you have any meetings or letters that stand out more than others?

My goodness, there´s so many to choose from. One that was monumental and I still have it… I keep all of the letters I get as long as I don´t lose them on the road, but the one that was really extra was a young girl in the UK, probably about six years ago. She wrote me a diary for two years and it wasn´t Dear diary it was Dear Lzzy and she was waiting for us to come overseas so she could give it to me and I got to see how her life evolved over two years. She wrote this beautiful thing in the beginning about how it just made more sense for her to be able to talk somebody and talk to me. I just thought that was beautiful. There was also one in the States a few years ago where a young girl gave me a letter outside the bus and she said “Just wait till your on the bus to open it!” I go into the bus and I open it up and it´s this little box and I open it up and there was a razor inside and the letter presided to say “I used to hurt myself with this, but if you throw it away, because I can´t throw it away because I´m too attached to it, but if you throw it away… and here´s my twitter account so tweet me when you do it and I´m gonna mark the date and time and it will be my anniversary and I´ll never hurt myself again.” I do the thing and to this day she´s gone through nursing school, she contacts me every anniversary so that´s beautiful too. Just to be able to be that for somebody is awesome.

Being in the business for this long, being the frontwoman of the band, all the touring you´ve done, what´s the greatest lesson you´ve learned so far?

What I´ve learned is that most times you are the only one standing in your way. It might seem like you´re not getting the opportunities you want, it might seem no one takes you seriously, it might seem like you´re not good enough and it´s very easy to put the blame on the world and circumstances and bad luck an all that, but if you just decide to take baby steps in the right direction and continue to work on yourself and your craft, there´s nothing that´s impossible. There´s been so many time with our life as Halestorm where it´s been like “Well, this could be it guys! We might not be able to do this.” and there is always something that we ended up doing that just opened up another door. When I look back on it, it´s just crazy because it could´ve gone so easily the other way. That´s one thing that I´ve really learned. You are the only on that can save you. You are the only one that can truly love you. All this stuff in life, adoration, fans and being able to do it as a career, talking about money, none of that shit matters. (laughs) It´s about moving forward.

Text: Niclas Müller-Hansen

Foto: Therés Stephansdotter Björk, Josefin Wahlstedt