Paul Hebert

INTERVIEW: Josh Smith of Halestorm

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HALESTORM - Pub1 - Chris Phelps & Alex R. KirzhnerSoCalMusicToday.com recently spoke with Halestorm bassist Josh Smith about touring, their new EP “ReAniMate 2.0: The CoVeRs eP” and their upcoming show this Wednesday, September 20, at the Wiltern in Los Angeles. Tickets for the Wiltern show are still available via LiveNation.com

Obviously you are right in the middle of your headlining tour, but what else is the band up to?
We have been out since about June and we have got to check some new countries and states off the bucket list. We finished off all 50 states in the US. We recorded a EP which will be coming out in October, and we are really excited about that. Otherwise we have been out here writing, it sounds like we will be out on tour until into next year but hopefully we will be hitting record sometime before summer 2014.

Where did you record the new album at?
It was recorded out here with Mike Plotnikoff and Howard Benson, who we recorded our two LP’s with. We did it in their new studios. We had decided to not use one of the songs we recorded, so we asked if we could get another one in there, and we had a day and a half off in Nashville before flying to South America, and we went in and recorded one more song in Nashville which was a lot of fun. Rocked out a new song in a day and it was fun. It is just a really fun process to do the cover songs.

What is the track liststings on that?
Yeah we did release a track listing – we are playing “Dissident Aggressor” by Judas Priest, “1996” by Marilyn Manson, “Gold Dust Woman” by Fleetwood Mac, “Hell for Children” by Pat Benatar, “Shoot to Thrill” by AC/DC, which was really fun to do. You think “AC/DC, how hard can it be?” but it is an art, and if you are gonna do it you better do it well., and I think Lzzy killed it, so that one was especially fun to do. The one we just recorded back in June was “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk. That one we put a really cool rock, aggressive feel to it and just streamlined it into a little more of a rock arrangement.

Have any of the original artists heard your version of the new covers?
I don’t think any one has yet. We had to get their approvals obviously, but I don’t think anyone has heard them besides us and our team.

What about the original ReAnimate EP in 2011, what was the feedback on those?
Well it was all good except we decided to do “Out to Get Me” by Guns N’ Roses and Axl had a problem with that so we had to remove that EP from the shelves.

Otherwise, as far as a positive reaction was from Sebastian Bach. We did  “Slave to the Grind” by Skid Row and they loved it. Sebastian came out to a show and really dug it, and we played a festival in Tokyo and Sebastian happen to be on the bill and he came out with us and we performed the song, and that was a lot of fun. That was cool to get such great feedback from him, and we still play that song out live quite a bit.

I was at the Golden Gods press conference where you guys played that live and you absolutely killed it! (see the video here)

Thanks man.

Halestorm is a relatively new band with only having a few studio albums but you have been getting so much positive feedback, First female-fronted band to top the Billboard Rock Charts for “The Strange Case Of…” , First female-fronted band to top the active rock airplay chart with “Love Bites…(So Do I). What is it like getting all these accolades so early in your careers?
Early is relative I think. I understand what you mean, its only our second full length album, but we have been a band for almost 10 years, so we have been working towards this. It is amazing, we are thankful for it. It goes to show for us that the hard work is paying off, and we are going to continue to work hard and try and continue and get more of the recognition that we have achieved over the last year and a half. It has been an amazing ride. People always ask us “Touring must be tough, are you getting tired from it?” We are having more fun that ever doing what we love. I hope that there is still plenty of stride left for us in our career and in our future. The bottom line is that Lzzy is such an incredibly talented person and it is nice to see that she, and us, have been recognized as a rock band. You mentioned the Goldenn Gods, it was so cool to be up there with people you look up to, they are just icons and it is a great time and we just really love our jobs.

Speaking of being up there with your icons and people you have always looked up to, there was a little bit of controversy with the Grammy’s this year and a little bit of animosity from other musicians when you guys won this year. What is your take on all that?
We sort of agreed with them. The bottom line was that the category was really two categories lumped into one. It was Hard Rock and Metal and we are clearly not metal, we were representing the Hard Rock within that category, and it is awesome that we won. I have heard that next year the category  will be split. I think us just like everyone was really surprised.  We did not expect to win, we were going up against some very metal acts and we didn’t prepare anything and were not expecting it. The fact that we got that award blew our minds. I’m not sorry for it, or like “ahh jeez they should have won” we got nominated which was an honor, and we won which is also an honor. Hopefully next year with the separation of the category it will put any sort of issues to rest. We will move forward and hopefully we are there next year.

The Grammy’s have always seemed to struggle with the hard rock, metal scene anyways with Jethro Tull beating our Metallica, how is that possible?
Right

Talking about your work ethic. You are notorious to non-stop touring. You have toured with some pretty epic bands, who is your favorite and why?
We did a tour back in 2010 with Avenged Sevenfold and that was a lot of fun. We just got off another string with them and had a great time. They are really good people and made a great album, they are just a lot of fun to tour with.

We are doing a lot of headline shows lately with some younger bands and that has been fun to see. There is this band that we toured with on our first ever European tour called Heavens Basement, and it is always cool to run into those guys. We just played three shows with them about a week ago and that was great. On our first national tour back in 2006, we were just a baby band, and Seether took us out. Shaun Morgan saw us play a one of with them, and he demanded we be on this upcoming tour with him. He spoiled us rotten. We didn’t know how to tour or what it was to be a baby band or anything. We were just new kids on the block. We will always remember that. Shinedown as well, they were always amazing to us, so hopefully it is something we can pay forward some day, that kind of treatment. It was really cool. There are some bands we haven’t toured with yet that I think all of us would love to tour with, Foo Fighter, or Metallica, these legendary names in rock.

As far as shows go we have checked a lot of names off our bucket list, we got to play with Slash which is awesome. In October we are going to be touring with Alter Bridge, we are really looking forward to that. Of course you already know Myles Kennedy from Slash and it will be cool to see him with Tremonti. I hear Tremonti is just an amazing dude, just a super cool guy. I am the only one in the band that has yet to meet him, so I am looking forward to that. Actually it is Alter Bridge and Shinedown, so that is going to be a fun tour.

You are performing here in Los Angeles in a few days, what can fans expect to see at the show?
It is our night. They are gonna see a 2 hour rock show. We are going to have a great time. We are just going to pull out all the stops. We are playing at the Wiltern which is super cool. I think 2 years ago we saw Slash play there and it was really neat, it is just a classic venue, this big massive theater so just expect a good time. We love playing our headline shows because it is our night and we get to do whatever the hell we want. Just chat with the crowd and hang out and have a good time.

Will you be playing any of the new covers?
Yeah, we have been playing them quite a bit. We will probably do “Dissident Aggressor”, we have been playing that a lot. We will probably do “Gold Dust Woman” too .

Since it is LA and there are lots of friends local, any surprise guests going to join you?
We have thrown the idea around and we haven’t dismissed it that’s for sure. I am not going to confirm anything yet. I’ll just leave it a surprise.

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