Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale on the Grammy for “Stealing” Megadeth – Rolling Stone
When Lzzy Hale and her band, Halestorm, were first nominated for a Grammy in 2013 – earning a nod to best hard rock/metal performance for their song “Love Bites” – the powerhouse singer found herself the only woman in a category full of guys. (They won.) Not much seemed to have changed in 2019, when Halestorm earned her second Grammy nomination, for Best Rock Performance.
Now, however, Hale is leading a charge for women in heavy music. The band’s last headlining tour of the United States featured a lineup of girl bands, all hand-picked by Hale, and his signature Gibson Explorerbird guitar found its way into the hands of aspiring rockers of all ages. “People at Gibson keep telling me that the demographic that’s buying the most electric guitars right now is women,” says Hale, 39. “The wave is coming whether everyone likes it or not.”
On the strength of the band’s fifth album, Back from the deadand his string of hits like “The Steeple”, “Wicked Ways” and the title track, Halestorm are well placed to mark their latest nomination and prove once and for all that hard rock is genderless.
The Scrapbook Back from the dead it sounds like it was made for the stage, which is ironic considering it was recorded at a time when live concerts were almost extinct.
We had no idea what the future held for us: “Will the record be released? Will fans like it? Is the label going to like this song and think it’s a hit? With the silver lining of the future unknown, we could be selfish and say that none of this matters right now. I feel like some of the heaviness of the record and the mentality of moving forward comes from there.
What we have learned in this process is that this is the only way to do it, the right way and the most satisfying. It’s a career now, and there’s a lot of people with their fingers in the cake and people talking in your ear and a lot of pressure outside of where you started. And I started in my parents’ living room, where you could do whatever you wanted.
“The Steeple” was a number one rock song for Halestorm, and it sounds like a Grammy nominee. Why do you think this resonates with your fans?
A lot of people talk about the safe space and unity of a rock show and that feeling you get. We were trying to recreate this sanctuary. This magic resonates with people, and they may not even know how to describe it. But you speak the words they feel like a call to arms, a show of community.
“It stopped raining in my head today” is the opening line because of a time when we were in Nashville and I had the post-tour blues. We had three weeks off and I was disappointed for no reason. [Halestorm guitarist Joe Hottinger] suggested, “Hey, let’s go see a show.” We did, and I could feel the cloud lift. It’s hard to explain, but that’s what we were trying to celebrate with “The Steeple”.
When Halestorm was first nominated for a Grammy in 2013, you were the only woman in the category.
It’s true. And we were also the new kids at the time. Not only was I the only woman, but we were also the only new rock band. All of these bands that were nominated with or against us were people who influenced us. And that inspired us. We really hadn’t prepared anything, because we were like, ‘Man, we’re not going to win this.’ It was a complete surprise when we did.
Then there was this joke going around, because I know a bunch of guys from Megadeth and a few other nominees, and they were all joking about how “Lzzy stole our Grammy.” I was in an interview with Eddie Trunk once, the This metal showand he had some of the losers from the Grammys as guests and he put me through [via video] just to make this comment. But if it wasn’t for those [bands]we probably wouldn’t even have written “Love Bites”.
You made it your mission to bring only female-led bands, like Warning, on Halestorm’s latest tour. Why is this important to you?
It’s such a beautiful place, to be in a position where you can pass the torch. Not too long ago I was on the other side of the coin, starving and struggling for attention. The whole point of raising these young women and giving them a platform is this: I am truly inspired. Watching Dany, lead guitarist of The Warning every night, I’m hungry again because of her. The circle is complete. Gender has nothing to do with what’s between anyone’s legs, but it’s important for us to talk about it because these young women will be able to see themselves reflected in one of between us.
This story is part rolling stone’s third annual Grammy Preview, released ahead of the start of the first round of Grammy voting on October 13. We spoke to some of the year’s biggest artists about albums and singles that could earn them a statue in February, made our best predictions for nominees in the top categories, and more, providing a comprehensive guide to what to watch out for in the lead – up to 2023 prices.