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HALESTORM and the Importance of Being Vicious

As Halestorm prepare to release their fourth album in a matter of weeks, we caught up with guitarist and ‘Chairman of the Party,’ Joe Hottinger, to chat about writing and recording, Vicious, and being pioneers for females in modern rock.

“Recording with Nick (Raskulinecz), was a dream of ours for a long time,”  Hottinger gushes. “In terms of approaching writing and recording the record, we did it like we’ve done nothing ever before,” he explains before revealing the band harboured some self-doubt prior to hitting the studio.  “We went in with literally nothing, we didn’t know if we could do it anymore…He kind of helped us find our mojo again.”

Out of the first songs written and one of the stand-out tracks from the album, is Halestorm’s latest single, ‘Uncomfortable.’ When asked about the song’s themes, Hottinger affirms, “Strong, powerful women do make certain people very uncomfortable…If Lzzy wants to talk about sex, which she does, then she should do it.  Guys do it all the time; listen to any song in the 80s. If it makes you uncomfortable she doesn’t care, it’s no skin off her back, you know. She’s expressing herself in the purest way and I think that’s beautiful and outstanding.”

It’s a message that women seem to be responding to with 60% of ticket buyers for Halestorm’s upcoming headline tour with In This Moment and New Years Day, identifying as female.

“You look out in the crowd and the girls are owning this shit.  Not moshing but doing it in their own way which I think is like, so fucking cool….You look at Lzzy, Maria (Brink of In This Moment) or Ash Costello (of New Years Day), and they all are so different and they’re queens in their own little way.  There isn’t a genre of just ‘women in rock,’ this is just rock n’ roll.”

Looking back at Halestorm’s journey over the past 15 years, one of the most powerful moments for Hottinger was performing a sold-out show in Paris in 2015, not long after the Bataclan terror attacks.“The tension in the room was outstanding and these kids were holding up signs (saying), ‘We are not afraid.’” Hottinger reminisces.  “We got to be a kind of a part of their healing process for that city and that scene. It was so beautiful you know, just an amazing side of rock n’ roll and connection with a few thousand people in front of us.”

It’s moments like these that are the reason Halestorm do what they do.  “The Art of the moment,” Hottinger eloquently puts it. “We get to play music, we get to do this, hang out with the people we love, doing what we love and travelling the world together.  We’re just lucky to be able to do that.”

‘Vicious’ is out July 27 via Atlantic Records.  You can catch Halestorm on tour in the USA with In This Moment July through August.

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