Don’t get the idea the Lzzy Hale lacks smarts — musical, intellectual or otherwise. But in making “The Strange Case Of…,” the CD that follows the popular 2009 self-titled debut by her band, HaleStorm, she decided a little less thinking might be a good thing.
“I think the difference between the last record and this record was we ended up just taking our brains out of it, you know, especially myself,” the singer/guitarist said in a recent teleconference interview. “I think for the first record I was paying so much attention to — don’t get me wrong, I love our first record — but I think that I was paying so much attention to, you know, is it going to be a hit, is my A&R guy going to like it, does the song have mass appeal, is it going to work on radio, and that type of thing. And we really didn’t have a whole lot of time to think when we recorded this new record and so in that aspect, it was very freeing.”
Hale isn’t exaggerating when she says the second album had to be recording on a tight deadline.
Despite having been on tour for the vast majority of time since the 2009 release of the self-titled CD, the band wasted no time in getting to work so it could get “The Strange Case Of…” out on schedule.
“We literally got right off tour, had about 24 hours to pack and then went right into the studio in California,” Hale said.
The initial music the band wrote for “The Strange Case Of…” reflected the energy of coming off of the road and being driven to start creating new music.
“We started to write a lot of some of the most aggressive songs we’ve ever written,” Hale said.
After awhile, though, Hale and her bandmates began to shift out of the pedal-to-the-metal mindset, and that’s when (title) began to gain some of the musical and instrumental diversity that defines the album.
Yes, the album still rocks, thanks to songs like “Love Bites (So Do I”), “Freak Like Me” and “I Miss The Misery.” But other songs (“Here’s To Us” and “Beautiful with You”) show a softer side. Hale even moves away from the guitar-oriented sound of HaleStorm, playing piano on “Break In.”
Hale said she relished the freedom she felt to follow whatever inspiration she was feeling as she wrote music and lyrics for “The Strange Case Of…”
“It was freeing to just kind of write songs that you wanted to write just because they made you feel good or you had to get something down on paper.” Hale said. “And a lot of things happened to me this past year, 2012 has been kind of the year of change. You know, and not just personally as far as my personal journey but also, you know, family and love life and all of that stuff. So, I just — I think I had a lot to say and luckily the guys in my band were like, just go, just do whatever you want to do. So, of course, with that the floodgates opened and we ended up recording so many different songs on this record. And what I love about this new record is that each song, it’s kind of its own thing. You know, you’re not looking for this common theme.
“I’m so proud of this record just for diversity,” she said. “Thankfully the response has been really great.”
Hale hasn’t had to deal with that much criticism over the course of her still young career. Now 28, she formed Halestorm in the town of Red Lion, Pennsylvania at age 13 with her younger brother, drummer Arejay, who was just 10 at the time. For a short time, their father played bass in the band before Josh Smith came on board, along with guitarist Joe Hottinger, to complete the HaleStorm lineup.
The success of the self-titled album showed that HaleStorm was ready to step up to a world-wide stage, and “The Strange Case Of…,” is off to a solid start. The lead single from the CD, “Love Bites (So Do I)“ made HaleStorm the first female-fronted band to top the active rock singles chart. A second single, “I Miss The Misery,” has gone top five on that same chart and cracked the top 20 on “Billboard” magazine’s rock singles chart.
And HaleStorm, which has been on tour much of 2012, is now back stateside for a headline tour that runs through Dec. 31. That’s just what Hale wants to be doing.
“It’s really neat, you know, this life that we get to do,” she said. “I mean it’s crazy. It really is. Now that we’ve put out a new record, it has gotten crazier.”
But no matter how chaotic life can be on tour, Hale clearly isn’t complaining.
“We (the band members) talk about this all the time,” she said. “Touring is easy. It is real life that’s a little screwed up sometimes.”