It was late 1997 back in York, Pennsylvania, when two siblings – Elizabeth and Arejay Hale – decided to form the group Halestorm. 20 years later, the teenager sister and brother who were just messing around with instruments, became core members of a hard rock band that is still going as hard as day one, dishing out heavy-hitting, memorable and catchy tunes to sing along to, while keeping their live performances as fresh and precise as ever. Over the course of two decades, a lot went on for this unique music group lead by a fierce female vocalist. It wasn’t easy to stand out in a sea of other competing bands in this genre dominated by men, but Halestorm managed to create such a strong and dedicated fan base that they even became Grammy-winners. With almost constant touring, often performing as many as 250 shows a year, Halestorm is well known as a must-see live band. With three studio albums, three cover albums, one live album, nine Eps, over twenty singles and fourteen music videos, Halestorm has built a reputation as a force to be reckoned with. They have made an indelible mark in the world of hard rock music, and they are here to stay. From humble beginnings and ambitious teenagers to veterans of hard rock music and a massively successful career worldwide, Halestorm really did take the world by (hale)storm.
The first song Elisabeth Hale ever wrote was when she was just five years old, it was a song for her little brother to get him to sleep at naptime. Little did she know, it was a start of a beautiful musical relationship that would lead them to creating Halestorm as we know it today. Elisabeth and her younger brother Arejay were 13 and 10 at the time when this hard rock band was born. 10-year-old Arejay sat behind the drums, while his big sister played the keyboard and sang her heart out on the microphone. While still in middle school, the brother and sister decided to enter a talent show at the county fair in Pennsylvania. The ambitious siblings realized they would need a band name for their debut performance, so Arejay impulsively suggested the name Halestorm, as a play on their surname, and his older sister agreed. They lost that competition to a tap-dancing cowgirl, but they gained something else – a desire to really do more with the band and make it happen. Wishing to broaden their sound, the sibling duo invited their father, Roger, to play bass for Halestorm. A year later, in 1998, the band’s first professional gig went down at the Blue Mountain Coffee House in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It was considered a great success by both the band members and the audiences. Soon after, they added different guitar players to the roster and released an EP called (Don't Mess with The) Time Man in 1999. It wasn’t before several other guitar and bass guitar players tried their role with the band that a solidified line-up formed. Elisabeth adopted her stage name Lzzy as the vocals and guitar, Arejay was behind the drums, Josh Smith joined on bass, and Joe Hottinger on guitar.
In February of 2000, Halestorm’s music goes online, appearing on The Orchard. In the same year, the band’s ballad Rose in December becomes a huge hit with local musicians, despite the fact it wasn’t even released yet. Things slowly begin to take shape and Halestorm keeps popping up in different venues and outlets. In April 27, 2001, the young band joins up with The Darcie Miner Band to launch “Rock Against Violence” campaign where the youngsters express their views and promote rock and roll music without the drugs and the promiscuous sex as Elisabeth Hale told the reporters at the time. Halestorm was seen as a good example to their peers since they were the same age. Same year sees the band join “Power of Youth” anti-drug, anti-violence touring event, and this would be the first time the band is no longer referred to as a Christian rock group, and when Elisabeth Hale adopts the iconic nickname Liz for the first time. In August of 2003, Halestorm signs management contract with Larry Mazer, who had experience working with giants from the world of heavy music, namely KISS, Megadeth, Anthrax and many others.
As a well-played and dynamic group of musicians who were gaining traction, the band caught the attention of Atlantic Records and the producer David Ivory. In 2006, Halestorm releases its major-label debut with One and Done, a five-song EP recorded live at a show in Philadelphia. With a live show record as their first, it sort of lay the path for the band’s future as they will soon become known for touring extensively and relentlessly, giving out amazing performances with each show and the audiences embracing them as one of their favorite live acts to listen to and see live. In the following year, the band appears on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" in the "Jay Walking" segment, dressed as girl scouts (even the men), and broadens its fan base even further. After two more years of relentless touring and delivering memorable live performances, the hard-rock group releases their self-titled album in April 28, 2009. “Halestorm” album reaches number 4 in the Billboard US Hard Rock charts and the hit single I Get Off goes to number 17 on the Billboard’s Rock Chart. In the same year, they open for Trapt at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster and Halestorm’s frontwoman wins the title of “Hottest Chick in Metal” by the popular Revolver magazine.
The band’s unique style and blend of heavy and hard music combined with amicable undertones, memorable lyrics and eye-catching tunes, landed them a vast fan base with people coming from different musical backgrounds. Where other bands danced on the edge between heavy and light and failed to grab the attention of either sides, Halestorm continued to woo both the aspects of their musical nature. This was one of the reasons they could land opportunities to appear on highly popular shows such as Jay Leno’s in 2007, and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” in 2010. Two years later, the band’s influence keeps growing as their song “Here’s To Us” gets picked up by Fox TV series “Glee.” The popular cover version reached the number 16 position on the iTunes Chart, while the original version went to number 2 spot on the Rock iTunes chart. Later on, 2012 proves to be one of the most significant years in the music career of Halestorm, the band releases their sophomore album The Strange Case Of... which peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard top 200 chart. Another significant milestone for the band came only a month later when the hit song Love Bites (So Do I) from the album became the first song by a female-fronted band to top the airplay charts on Active Rock. The song Love Bites (So Do I) even went on to reach the number 2 spot on US Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. Still in 2012, Halestorm receives a Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for their song Love Bites (So Do I). The group was competing against Marilyn Manson, Megadeth, Iron Maiden. Anthrax and Lamb of God for the award. Even with such legendary acts to go up against, Halestorm won the Grammy. The entire line-up of the group got to go on stage and thank their influences and supporters for such an amazing landmark in their careers and lives. Lzzy Hale dedicated the award to the fans also known as “Halestorm freaks”, and thanked everyone for the encouragement, support and inspiration. But Halestorm did not stop there, the band continued on with constant touring and even put out a brand new album in 2015 titled Into the Wild Life with 13 fresh tracks. For this edition, the band went to a new city, found a new studio and experimented a bit more with gear, engineers, producers and mixers to come up with something new and different. The band members noted how important it is to switch things up and come up with fresh ideas for each release, instead of simply repeating yourself and following the trail from the past. In collaboration with the prominent photographer Rob Fenn, the band released the photo book To Hale And Back which documents the career of Halestorm so far. January 6, 2017, sees the band releasing their third covers album Reanimate 3.0, and in May, 2017, they release the official music video for the hit song Dear Daughter.
In one of the most in-depth and honest interviews conducted by the most hardcore fans of the band with the lead singer of Halestorm, Lzzy Hale uncovered a lot of intriguing details and interesting stories that have made the band what it is today. When asked about her parents working for the band, Lzzy explained that her mother is a TM and her father is bus driver because it was simply her way of giving back to them after they sacrificed a lot to enable her brother and her to pursue their dream. Also, she added, it makes a great experience to have them on board and go through all of the band’s milestones together.
When it comes to inspiration, the charming frontwoman revealed that she usually has a whole box full of napkins and receipts with lyrics and one liners written on them. She also underlined the importance of writing down everything she is feeling, whether in an argument, celebration or any other kind of situation, she does her best to capture everything while still in the moment because, as she said, that is when the truth comes pouring out.
Lzzy listed SEETHER as a huge part of the band’s history and marked the importance of having a chance to tour with them and go on the SnoCore tour in 2006, which was Halestorm’s first national tour. MadamadaM and Theory Of A Deadman also remain in the most positive memories as tourmates to Lzzy and her band.
After the successful show of opening for the legendary Megadeth, Halestorm recalled the experience when they had no idea what to expect. Arejay and Lzzy said in an interview how nervous they all were at the beginning, especially since Megadeth doesn’t really advertise when they have openings, the lights go down and people expect to see the band they came for, but instead an opening act comes up and it doesn’t always go well. Megadeth’s crew warned Halestorm to be careful since fans are known to throw shoes, quarters and other items at the opening band if they don’t like them. Luckily, after two songs of standstill, the crowd started bobbing their heads and getting into the band’s groove, recalled Halestorm’s members, and so they were “accepted”.
Although prolific and creative enough to release 3 powerful and successful albums of their own, Halestorm also dedicated 3 records to covers. As they explained it, it is just fun. Also, they noted it helps them set the pace for their own next release. After doing certain covers, inspiration flows and they ride on the vibe of the song to compose their own. Lzzy and other members also said how important it is to them as musicians to listen to and perform songs they haven’t written, it allows them to grow and experience the entire performance in a different way.
Finally, when asked where they hope to see Halestorm in the next five, ten, twenty years, all of the members agreed they still want to be doing this. They still want to be making records and touring the world. Their ultimate goal is to continue and not stop, regardless of where life may take them. With their fan base growing with each new show they perform, each new song, album, or video they release, it is safe to say Halestorm has already cemented their position in the world of hard rock music, and they are here to stay.