Lzzy Hale has escaped to the quiet of her closet in order to conduct this interview. It's a week before Christmas, a moment where everything in the world is simultaneously incredibly sedate and unfathomably busy, and we're both making sacrifices to make contact before the winter break is boarded up for good.
Thankfully, Hale is always down to chat. It's a character trait that's served her well through Halestorm's uniquely candid diction, as well as the advice columns and profiles she's starred in for Revolver. Always funny, always compassionate, always graciously candid about her status as a girl from rural Pennsylvania caught in a never-ending cycle of figuring shit out. It's only natural that her band, through all its trials and travails, has earned its second Grammy nomination. This time for Vicious lead single "Uncomfortable," a song about (what else?) the unbearable lightness of being in an incredibly confused 2018. We talked about that nomination, and also the broader legacy she's forged, her resolution for the New Year, and why she finds herself singing about the apocalypse so often.
I WENT THROUGH SOME OF OUR OLD COVERAGE ON YOU TO PREPARE FOR THIS INTERVIEW. HERE ARE SOME OF THE PIECES YOU WERE FEATURED IN. "ONE OF THE HOTTEST CHICKS IN METAL." "THE 25 HOTTEST CHICKS IN HARD ROCK AND METAL." THIS IS STUFF FROM A FEW YEARS BACK, AND I THOUGHT, "YOU KNOW WHAT? THINGS HAVE COME A LONG WAY." WHEN YOU LOOK BACK ON THAT STUFF NOW, WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO THE WAY YOU WERE COVERED?
For me, I never really preoccupied myself with it. Like, "The Hottest Chicks in Metal," a lot of people might have a problem with that, but at the time, my north star, my internal compass, was just, "Well, regardless of whether that's just what they're seeing right now, I've worked very hard to backup the hotness." [Laughs] So right now, after so many years of doing this, maybe if that headline came out today after all of the things we've done, and all the years in this band, I would look at it differently. But at the time, just that I was on the cover of a magazine and that you wanted to talk to me, that was a big deal. You don't have to take it too seriously — it's just rock & roll.
DO YOU THINK THE MUSIC PRESS HAS CHANGED AT ALL IN THAT SENSE? DO YOU THINK WE SEE LESS OF THOSE KIND OF HEADLINES NOW?
Definitely, especially more recently after the #MeToo movement and all the things going on. I think people are being more extreme in both ways depending on your views. I think it's more just being cautious. Nobody wants to be caught on the wrong side of something. And I also think that it's open the door for a lot of journalists to dig a little deeper and ask me better questions. I've noticed in the last couple years as I've gotten on the phone with journalists is that they're digging into not just my own psyche, but also our band history, and other things, because I think they're being forced to. I have to say, after so many years of being asked the same questions, it's fun to be like, "Wow! I've never thought about that before."
YOU JUST GOT YOUR SECOND GRAMMY NOMINATION, AND YOU'VE BEEN IN THIS BAND FOR A MILLION YEARS NOW. IT'S SEEMED TO ME THAT YOU'VE KINDA SETTLED INTO YOUR ROLE AS AN ELDER STATESPERSON, OR A MUSIC INDUSTRY VETERAN, AS TIME HAS GONE ON. DO YOU FEEL THE SAME WAY?
Thank you for saying that. That's a huge compliment. I was getting flashbacks of these music industry conferences I would go to when I was a kid, and it's kind of interesting to think about it that way, now that I'm on the other side. Now, nobody assumes I'm the merch girl. That's a really cool position to be in, and it's really fulfilling to be in a position to talk to younger artists and to be that person onstage for younger girls. You see them "get it." They understand it. Like, "Wow, this is possible!"
I still go back to the story you guys let me do when I interviewed Pat Benatar. I remember her telling me, "Right now you're in a position where everyone is rooting for you, and you're going to get past this phase where you're in a place where it's no longer a fight to be noticed, but a fight to deserve to be here." It's great to own that.
DO YOU THINK YOU'VE LEARNED MORE ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A ROLE MODEL THE LONGER HALESTORM HAS BEEN ON THE MAP?
Absolutely, but in the same breath, I think I've gotten better at being myself. In turn, I think that makes me a better role model. I remember that when people started listening to what I had to say, I had a choice to set up a veil, even if it meant being something that I'm not. Ultimately, that's not the decision I made. I owned more of everything I am, which was a little nerve-racking. In turn, I get so many amazing letters from parents, even about stuff I say in songs where I'm like, "Ugh, the parents are going to hate that." It's actually worked in the complete opposite way. When someone is truly admiring you for who you are, you're like, "Wait, what did I do?" It's extremely humbling to me.
HOW MUCH DO YOU PERSONALLY CARE ABOUT A GRAMMY NOMINATION FOR YOU? HOW MUCH IS THAT VALIDATING FOR YOU, VERSUS OTHER STUFF IN YOUR CAREER?
For me, it's a personal triumph for myself and my three bandmates, who've been living within three feet of me in whatever monstrosity we were touring in for the past 15 years now. It's those things that matter. We have a lot of those moments where we're like, "Remember when we so nervous about getting on Sevendust's tour bus? Remember when we didn't know if we could ask for water or not?" So it's crazy to me. It's crazy that we've now been nominated for a second time. Every day you have to wake up and figure out how you're going to make music, and it's great that we're propelling that forward.
DO YOU HAVE A NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION?
My new year's resolution is to stop making five-year plans. I stress over where I'm going to be in five years so often. I think it's less stressful to just make decisions as you go, because plans never work out, but you never run out of dreams. You have an eternal bucket list where you keep crossing things off, and keep adding things to the bottom. So I'm just not going to plan for a while.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST. RECENTLY YOU'VE BEEN SINGING AND WRITING MORE ABOUT THE APOCALYPSE. I'M CURIOUS TO KNOW HOW WORRIED YOU GENUINELY ARE ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD.
Well, I think it's sooner than we think. Everything is so up in the air and nothing has really landed yet. I don't think I worry so much about the death and the end of the world in the way that I used to. I used to get on a plane and think, "OK, what did I leave in this world. Where's my hard drive?" Those are the things that would go through my head. But now it's more like, "Hey, it was a good run guys." I'm very cavalier about it. It's in the same breath of my New Year's resolution, I'm going to only care about the things we can control.