Behind the Band Name: Halestorm

When Halestorm first originated, frontwoman Lzzy Hale and her little brother, drummer Arejay Hale, couldn’t have imagined that the name that was a spinoff of their last name would stick with them throughout their illustrious career.

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The group actually started as a duo when Hale was 13 and her brother was 10. They were writing songs and had only performed for family members when they decided to sign up for the talent show at the 1997 Schuylkill County Fair in their home state of Pennsylvania where they performed an original song, “Love is Power,” that they wrote in their living room. “It was like a five-minute epic,” Hale describes at 2023 Women’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp of the song that had a five-minute drum solo in the middle. “We thought we were very cool.”  The car ride to the show proved to be pivotal to the band taking shape. “We’re driving in the family van, our parents are taking us to this fair to get onstage and do this talent show and my annoying little brother is like, ‘We need a band name,’” Hale explains. “And I’m like, ‘Bro, it’s just the two of us, we’re not a band.’ And he kept harping on it.” Finally, she broke down and asked what he wanted to call the band. “‘What about Halestorm?’ he replied. And I’m like, ‘That’ll work for today,’” Hale says. “We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into.”

“Summer of ’97, I was still in middle school, my brother and I had this brilliant idea to enter ourselves in a talent show at the county fair in Pennsylvania,” she elaborated in a previous interview with Beacon Audio. “But my brother, he was around ten at the time, said it wasn’t cool if we didn’t have a band name. So I said ‘What do you want to call the band name for the day?’ We weren’t planning on starting a band, why would we do that? …Long story short, we played our show, had one song written called ‘Love Is Power,’ and ended up losing to a tap-dancing cowgirl.”

But it was that first show at the county fair that set their career in motion. “We were vibrating that very first time we ever walked onto a stage in front of people that we don’t know,” Hale asserts. “We were vibrating afterward.”

Throughout their more than two-decade career, Halestorm went through various members before they met guitarist Joe Hottinger and bassist Josh Smith. The power of their bond is reflected in custom rings that the Hale siblings had made early on in case they found lasting bandmates. “My little bro and I had gotten four random band rings because we were looking for members, we kept losing members,” she says. “So my bro and I are like, ‘We should get some rings made, and let’s get two more just in case we find our guys.’”

Two years after Smith and Hottinger joined the band, the Hales happened to find the rings in their parents’ attic and made an exciting discovery. “We’re like, ‘We should give them to Joe and Josh,’ and I am not joking, they both fit them exactly on their ring fingers,” Hale recalls. “It was meant to be.” 

Together, the foursome has released five studio albums, all of which made it inside the Top 15 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart, plus a number of EPs in addition to winning a 2013 Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for “Love Bites (So Do I).” Among their hits are “I Get Off,” “It’s Not You,” “Freak Like Me,” “Apocalyptic” and many others. They’ve also spent time on the road opening for countless rock heavyweights, including Alice Cooper, Disturbed, Shinedown, and Evanescence.  

Photo by Jimmy Fontaine / Courtesy Ashley White PR

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