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It’s been a great week for Halestorm and the band’s lead singer/guitarist Lzzy Hale. Their single “Love Bites (So Do I)” reached #1 on the Active Rock radio chart, marking the first ever female-fronted group to top the format’s airplay ranking. Plus, when Halestorm stopped in Nashville, Tennessee, while on the road with Godsmack and Staind, the band made a special trip to the Gibson USA factory for Lzzy to receive her very own Gibson Lzzy Hale Signature Explorer.
During her visit to Gibson USA on Thursday (May 10), Lzzy took time out of her busy day to chat about women in rock, her first Gibson and her brand-new signature guitar.
Tell us about this visit to Gibson USA.
It’s my first time at Gibson USA, it’s just incredible. I’m totally amazed for seeing how many people work on just one guitar. Next time that I’m going to be on the stage, definitely I can appreciate how much work and effort are involved in each and every instrument.
Any expectations before coming to the Gibson USA shop?
Well I imagined the place was pretty big, but when we got here I realize that it’s enormous, two buildings, and I understand that is only for the Gibson USA division. I’m very impressed.
Did you have the chance to meet the guys that work here?
Incredible people, kind men and women working here. We met a few that are fans of our music. It’s funny because everyone is kind of thanking us for visiting the shop, but we are honored and very pleased to have the chance to know more about the Gibson world. So much respect for their work. It’s a very humbling experience that makes you appreciate the value of the instrument.
Let’s go back to your first Gibson Guitar…
My first Gibson ever was a white Les Paul Custom. It was in 2000 and later I received a 1999 Tobacco Burst. I got it from my parents for Christmas and it was because I always wanted the Les Paul. I was around 17 and since then I’ve been obsessed with the White Les Paul. Later I got a Firebird V, an Explorer, a couple of Les Paul Customs and a Melody Maker.
All of them white?
Yes, it’s like being attracted to certain model or type of car – always has to be white! Had that cleanness and is part of my fashion statement I guess because I’m a girl.
The rock world is mostly led by guys. Today, you not only represent women in rock but you also join a very special group of ladies with Gibson signature models: Joan Jett, Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris…
Very true. It’s incredible and neat. We just released our second record [The Strange Case Of…].We got the opportunity to know more the people of Gibson and you guys just made a guitar for me! That’s unbelievable and at the same time very humbling because they approached me, I was totally surprised. It’s very cool to be part of this “exclusive” group.
I have so much respect for these women; they are my peers and my heroes. I grew up listening my parents’ generation of music; they are idols and role models for me. Joan Jett was always part of my family’s car rides. I was talking with my brother Arejay Hale – who is also in the band [drums] – and while we were walking around the building, we just got those old memories of our first dreams to have a band… and here we are being part of this, surrounded by great guitars and many special people.
Did you have any specific requests for this guitar?
It’s funny because I prefer the Burstbuckers in certain guitars, but for the Explorer I always had standard pickups because I like that specific sound for that specific guitar. I guess that was my only request because obviously they know what they’re doing. My little help was more on the look and the final shape of the guitar. So I prefer standard pickups and white. But I’m not twisting the originality and classic way of Gibson making great guitars.
You guys are having a very interesting tour this year…
Right now we are part of “Mass Chaos 2012” with Godsmack and Staind. Later we go to Europe to be part of some festivals, then some dates with Slash and back to the U.S. to headlining our tour. Later we’re back in Europe and definitely we are booked for the rest of the year and I hope to see you guys around!
During this tour, do you have time to write new material?
We just released our latest album but we are definitely constantly writing new stuff. On tour is hard we don’t have much time, but we try to keep the discipline of getting together and collecting our ideas.
It’s a big week for you guys.
Yes, number one on Active Rock charts! According to our label, the first band led by a girl, this just blew my mind; there should be somebody else, but apparently not. So it’s crazy!
Any tips or advice to the girls interested of being part of a rock band?
It’s a very tough career, especially for women. You try to do your own thing, and certainly there is something powerful about the fact of being a woman in rock and roll band. There are no rules, no guidelines. Girls generally had a path, going to school, marry the high school sweetheart and or going to college, have a career, etc. There is this brave and fearless factor that you need to embrace. You had to create your own path. Step up and doing it. We see so many young girls in our shows and I can predict that the next generation of musicians will be lead by females. The other day in Jacksonville [Florida] I met a girl that I spoke with a couple years ago... I told her that my advice is to take lessons and be proactive on the idea of forming her own band. Now she is happy leading her own project and that makes me smile. Just do it, don’t wait for somebody else to decide for you. It’s a crazy ride, but make sure to practice every day. I have no problem wearing high heels or the mini skirt, but that’s not good enough, you have to back it up and be good in what you do.