To say this has been a busy year for Halestorm would be a massive understatement. The Pennsylvania rock band’s second release with Atlantic Records (The Strange Case Of…) reached #1 on Billboard’s Hard Rock Albums chart, and the GRAMMY-winning single “Love Bites (So Do I)” will go down in history as the first song from a female-fronted group to reach the top of the active rock chart.
The band recently debuted the video for “Here’s To Us,” which is currently moving up the active rock charts. To top all that off, Halestorm is getting ready to release a brand new EP and embark on yet another tour, this time overseas with Shinedown and Alter Bridge.
We ran into Arejay Hale (who recently became an LA resident) and Josh Smith at Aftershock Festival over the weekend and had a chance to talk to them about the band’s busy year and what they have coming up this fall.
When you play a festival like Aftershock, do you get a chance to see all of your friends or are you busy working?
Arejay: Oh yeah. We just saw Miss May I, good friends of ours. Asking Alexandria, those guys are great. Avenged Sevenfold, who are like our brothers from separate mothers.
Josh: These festivals are great.
Have you guys been out on the road up until now?
Josh: Yeah, we’ve been out nonstop since June.
Arejay: We did some dates in South America, the States, and Canada. We did a bunch of fly dates. We did a show in Tokyo — we did some military bases out there, which was awesome — and we finally completed all 50 states. We just did Anchorage and Honolulu, so now we’ve checked all the states off the list. We’ve played ‘em all. Then in October we’ll be going to Europe with Alter Bridge and Shinedown.
Is there anybody you haven’t toured with that you want to?
Josh: Foo Fighters. That’d be cool.
Arejay: Dave Grohl, if you’re [reading], I’m a big fan.
Josh: Queens of the Stone Age would be cool.
I mean, now that you guys have a GRAMMY, you can be a little bit more choosy, right?
Arejay: Yeah, yeah. [Laughs]
Josh: I hope so.
Does it all keep soaking in? Between that and you taking home the big Golden Gods Best Drummer Award, you’ve had a big year.
Arejay: That was incredible. I couldn’t believe it happened. I was literally blown away. Everybody knew except for me. Nobody told me.
Josh: We knew.
Arejay: So I was looking around for all the other nominees. I figured they would line us all up against the wall, and I was like, “I’m the only one here. Did I win this thing?” My publicist said, “Yes,” so I was like, “You bastards! I didn’t prepare anything!” So I just got up there and was shooting from the hip. It was the most nerve-wracking, incredible thing. I was fighting tears.
It was well-deserved.
Arejay: No way. It was a miscount.
You have one of the best drum solos in the game. You remind me of Animal.
Arejay: So many of our fans bring out Animal memorabilia to our shows. I’ve got Animal cuff-links, boxers, t-shirts, hats, Pez dispensers…Every kind of Animal everything.
You guys have a cool new cover EP coming out on October 15th. How did you decide which covers you were going to do?
Josh: Well, this is our second EP and it’s more or less a similar kind of process where everyone just throws ideas against the wall. Not only us. We ask our fans for suggestions. We ask our team, our management, our label…
Arejay: He’s exactly right. It’s songs that we like and are influenced by, and management has an influence, too. On the last cover EP we polled our fans, and the one that got the most votes was “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga. So we’re like, “All right, let’s try it.”
Josh: We’ve been having a great time playing them.
You guys have a show in LA on Wednesday, September 18th, at the Wiltern. Sounds like a big celebration for female rock…
Arejay: Chicks and rock man! I love it.
Halestorm will release ReAniMate 2.0: The CoVeRs eP on October 15th, and you can catch the band live at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles tonight, September 18th.