Lzzy Hale kan vara världens mest sympatiska varelse. Efter att har intervjuat henne åtskilliga gånger de senaste åren står det klart att hon är en av de mest genuina och roligaste människorna i rockvärlden. På Sweden Rock Festival blev det ännu ett samtal och vi rörde bl a vid ämnen som skillnaden mellan män och kvinnor, tacksamhet och arbetet med vad som ska bli deras nya album:
Musically it´s kinda been a long journey to the beginning, so we´re kinda going back to our total roots. We´re gonna do a rock record this time. It´s like total balls to the wall, but lyrically it´s been a little weird and that´s my fault. You display so much about your life that you kinda don´t wanna repeat yourself and after a couple of records you´re like “Ok, I wanna show a little more about this.” and “I wanna go a little deeper here.”, so I feel like this next record is gonna be the extreme on both ends where you´re gonna see an extreme debaucheries side of me which I have been very much embracing the past couple of years and then you´re gonna see an extreme hangover, vulnerable side of me on that end, so I can say that in a guarantee this time.
What would you say has been a high point in your career so far?
I think the highest point is the camaraderie that we have with each other. I´m not trying to be cheesy or anything, but I literally have the best fucking bandmates and the best fucking crew that I could ask for. It´s been kind of like an emotional ride the past couple of months. We´ve laughed until we cried and we´ve gotten through a bunch of milestones, but I think even beyond the Grammy and the gold records and everything, it´s been just making sure that we don´t kill each other. (laughs) It´s been a really good accomplishment.
You seem like you always have fun and you´re a great bunch of guys, but has there been a low point so far?
Yeah, there are the low points, of course there are. When you´re a band as long as we have been, there´s these dips. Somebody isn´t carrying their weight or something needs to be done. Everyone always rises to the occasion and again, in a positive spin, we always step up to the plate when we need to. We trust each other and we love each other and we want to do the best thing for the band and for each other, so we end up doing that at all cost. At the same time, it´s like depending on support from… you can say any number of things. It´s a career now, so depending on when the next record comes out or if we´re gonna have another single, with the label´s interest goes up or down, management cooperating… all of those things come into play, but the core thing is that if we continue to do what we love and make sure that it´s amazing to us, we´ll be working with this for the rest of our lives. It´s kinda still that same mentality of us against the world, but of course we go through everything together.
Does it ever happen that you just kinda wake up realize how fortunate you are? That you´re able to make a living off of the one thing you love the most to do?
Of course. This year particularly. We´ve been saying that more this year than ever because we are living the dream right now and literally travelling 260 days a year with each other and A, like I said before, we haven´t killed each other yet, B, we´re actually making money doing it what we love and we´re travelling the world and having a great time doing like this rock show thing and this is all we ever wanted to do. I can literally say we´re living the dream right now.
Any place you´ve been to so far that felt kinda surreal? A country you always wanted to travel to, a place you always wanted to see?
We just played Australia last year and that was pretty surreal. Every time we go to Japan. It´s like “Why do they even want us here?” and then you get to the rock show and it´s like “Oh my God, it´s crazy! Of course they want us here.” I don´t know. Every time we go to a new country it´s like “Jesus, can you believe we´re doing this?”, because I still… I haven´t grown up much so I´m still perpetually like 17 in my mind and still playing local gigs in Pennsylvania, so the fact that we get to go there… I´m like “Guys!” and I hit them on their arms so hard I can bruise them. It´s like “Hey, can you believe we´re doing this right now?”, so it´s pretty cool.
You recently toured with Lita Ford. What was that like?
It was so cool, because she literally kicked down the door. When she started out there was no rule book, there was no template, there was no “Hey, this band came before us and we know what to do and this can work.” They just went for it, under extreme circumstances because they were fucking young and they were marketed as basically jailbait. It´s just an amazing feat to have overcome and not many people in that band have overcome that, so Lita Ford has and Joan Jett has. It´s just such a neat thing to see every night and we´re going out on tour with her again in October because we just decided to continue. It´s gonna be amazing and I just have so much admiration for her. She literally is a rock girl through and through. She gets up every night in her red leather pants, slides them on and rocks the fuck out of that audience. I turn to Arejay “Hey, I´m only 32, you´re 29, she´s 57. What´s our excuse?” We should never ever say “Ah, I´m tired. Ah, I can´t do this.” It´s fucking cool.
She became famous in a different time. Things have changed, but it´s still a weird world we live in. There´s a lot of sexism and you have probably been asked this a thousand times, but have you ever experienced something like that, that men look at you differently because you´re a woman in this very male oriented business?
I´m not blind to it, but I do put blinders to it most times, because really the only person I´m judging myself on is myself and my bandmates, because if I feel that I did a good job, then fuck everybody else. If I don´t feel like I´m doing a good job, it´s on me. But of course, there´s been multiple… one was before we got a guitar tech and I was changing my strings on my guitar and some guy came up to me “My girlfriend never does that for me.”. The other thing was “You sing pretty good for a girl, but you weren´t very clear, like in your conviction.” and my response was “Well, so there´s Aerosmith and there´s Dio and there´s everybody that literally… and they yell all the time. I do that same thing. I´m not Celine Dion. I never prided myself on being that. I´m not that person, so I´m not trying to be that, but I think there´s a misconception that girls because they are in tradition the fairer sex, they should be much more perfect than the boys, but the truth is that we´re not perfect. In fact we´re probably more imperfect. Given my experience with most boys, we are…ok, let me put the record straight: Guys fuck things up in a matter of dollars, as in things you can measure in money. Girls are fucked up in the head, as in they will shit on your soul and make you do things you don´t wanna do. I´m well aware of that. Bitches be crazy and I´m one of them. At the same time you have to accept the fact that everyone is a little bit screwed up and there´s an element of raw to what we do. It´s rock and roll, so if you´re not pushing the boundaries of what you do, you´re doing it wrong. I don´t know. My point is that for the most part, I really just wanna be good for myself and my band and then what everyone else does… pffft, you can do whatever you want.
We´ve lost a lot of legends lately. Latest one being Prince. Were you influenced by him in anyway? Was he someone you listened to growing up?
I was influenced by Prince, like a lot of 70´s and 80´s rock and metal, I was listening to him. With Prince I was more influenced by his childish reckless abandoned approach to the stage, because he didn´t care. If you think of the timeline of Prince, in the early days he was scantily clad in a time where it was very taboo to do so. This was not the time of Lady Gaga, children. This was before that and everybody was very upset about that. There was also the showmanship and the approach to the show. Like, he would make moments that nobody else would make and nobody could pull off, except for him. So he raised the bar so to speak. I still look at those videos and I´m like “I don´t think I could do that!” and I play in high heels, but I could never do that spin he does. He does that spin in high heels and that´s a man among men that will never be replaced.
Did you ever meet Lemmy?
No. We saw him at the Rainbow in LA. He was playing his game at the bar. It was my guitar player Joe and me and we were having a pizza and “I see Lemmy. Oh my God! Do we go up and say hi?” We both kinda said “All that´s gonna happen is that we´re gonna go up and say hi and we´re gonna introduce ourselves to him and he´s never heard of us, I´m sure, and then he´s just gonna go back to his game.” We basically had some whiskeys in his honour while we were stalking him. We were being super creepy, but he looked like he was having a good time. I do regret not actually saying hello, but still influencd by him to this day.
I was so fascinated by his persona and that he was brutaly honest. You have to be a certain kind of person to be like that.
As the years go by you give less and less shit, so I feel like maybe at his age he´s like “Well, fuck it! I don´t care anymore.”, but I feel it takes a certain personality to really own yourself. Just be yourself, love yourself and fuck everybody else. It´s such an amazing thing to see and it´s so admirable and that´s why he was the rockstar he was, because that´s what rock and roll needs right now. You don´t wanna be a yes man, you wanna say fucking no all the time and be like “You say yes to me, motherfucker!” He lived that in his short shorts and all.
That´s another thing. We have it over here, Jerry Seinfeld has talked about it in the US and that´s the political correctness. You can´t say anything because you might upset someone and that´s a really weird thing.
It is a weird thing. You know, I´ve even taken it to a level and now I´m teetering on the politically and non-politically incorrect situation where we´ll have an all age show, so you know there are six year olds with their parents and you say “fuck” anyway, because honestly, we have to stop this because in this generation of humans, you can hear more on the internet than you will ever hear from a live rock concert and it used to be that the rock people were the people that everyone was like “Oh, they´re so hardcore.” or “They´re taboo.” or something and they´re creating something that makes you uncomfortable and to me that´s the turning point of every rock show. If you can make somebody uncomfortable enough to be like “Oh man, I guess I should get into this.”, then you´re doing your job. I don´t know. That´s why I love coming to Sweden, because you can say anything and it´s ok.
Last time we talked you said you were kinda working on ideas for the next album and you were working through all kinds of weird stuff?
All kinds of weird things. You have no idea the weird songs I´ve been writing, subject matter and musically. Musically it´s kinda been a long journey to the beginning, so we´re kinda going back to our total roots. We´re gonna do a rock record this time. It´s like total balls to the wall, but lyrically it´s been a little weird and that´s my fault. You display so much about your life that you kinda don´t wanna repeat yourself and after a couple of records you´re like “Ok, I wanna show a little more about this.” and “I wanna go a little deeper here.”, so I feel like this next record is gonna be the extreme on both ends where you´re gonna see an extreme debaucheress side of me which I have been very much embracing the past couple of years and then you´re gonna see an extreme hangover, vulnerable side of me on that end, so I can say that in a guarantee this time. It´s a lot of fun and at the same time you have no idea what you´re in for, so be warned! (laughs) I think that´s the first time I´ve actually ever said that.
Text: Niclas Müller-Hansen