Exclusive Interview with Halestorm’s Bassist Josh Smith

Halestorm Band Photo 2012

Halestorm are one of the break out bands of 2012. Having released a smash hit album, The Strange Case Of…(read a review of that here), they’ve had successful UK tours with Shinedown and their first ever headlining tour outside of the US, put on a great show at Download 2012 (where we also got to speak to them, that can be read here) and starred on the Carnival of Madness tour in the States. On the last night of their first UK headline tour Jamie caught up with one half of Halestorm’s rhythm department, bassist and extremely cool guy Josh Smith in the bowls of Islington Academy in London.

Rocksins: I don’t know if you remember but we spoke to yourself and Arejay back at Download, and we were discussing your favourite Simpsons characters and he signed off the interview with “Come and see Sideshow Bob and Smithers on tour”..

Josh: *laughs* Yeah, I totally remember that.
Rocksins: So, with that having been said, it’s your first UK headline tour, have you been enjoying yourselves?
Josh: Oh man, way, way too much. We’ve had so much fun on this tour, it’s awesome. Us doing this headline tour, it’s another step for us. It’s so exciting to see the growth of the band and we started headlining local clubs and then we got signed as a baby band and now we’re headlining shows across the states and now we’re headlining shows internationally. It’s pretty awesome and really exciting!
Rocksins: We saw some photos from your show in Leeds last night, that looked like a good one.
Josh: It was so much fun, everyone was crammed in there like sardines. I can’t believe how many people are singing the lyrics to our new songs. I’m sure we’ll see more of it in the States but I swear I didn’t notice as many people knowing every word to the songs and even some of the lesser known tracks. Everyone knows Love Bites now and that’s awesome but the enthusiasm and the overall vibe is just so, so awesome!

Rocksins: After you’re done here in the UK you’re heading to Europe and then to Japan?

Josh: That’s right.
Rocksins: Is there anywhere on that set of shows you’ve not been to before?
Josh: Yeah, there are a couple. We’re going to Milan, Italy for the first time. First time in Paris too, we’ve been to France when we played a show supporting Megadeth..
Rocksins: Nice!
Josh: Yeah, that was awesome! But this will be the first time in Paris, that’s gonna be cool. After our Switzerland date we fly to Moscow, that will be our first time in Russia.
Rocksins: That’s interesting, not too many American or British hard rock or metal bands seem to get out to Russia in recent times.
Josh: I know. We were pretty excited to see that come down the pipe but I think we’re all a little…none of us have ever been there so it’s going to be really cool. And it’s our own show, we’re not supporting anyone so it’ll probably be a basement of a room!
Rocksins: Even so, it would still be your basement.
Josh: Exactly, exactly! It’s gonna be an experience that’s for sure.
Rocksins: Have you been to Japan before?
Josh: Once before, in 2010. We played the same festival we’re playing this year.
Rocksins: Was that Loudpark?
Josh: Yeah. Loudpark. In 2010 we flew there just for that. It was like four days each give or take a day just to fly from the US, do the show and then we had one day off to do a little sight seeing, so that was nice.

Rocksins: And after Japan, you’re straight back to the US and back on the road again pretty much straight away?

Josh: Yep! We’re heading out on a West Coast tour that will take us into December, I think it ends December 15th. Then we chill out for Christmas for a week and a half maybe, do a couple of shows.
Rocksins: We saw that you had a show on New Years’ Eve so that was going to be my next question, whether Halestorm was going to get any time off for Thanksgiving or Christmas?
Josh: Not Thanksgiving, we’ll be spending Thanksgiving in Idaho. We’ve always had the day off for Thanksgiving but we’ll be out in Idaho which will be cool but spending it with family is always nice. We’ll be home with our families for Christmas and then the New Years Eve show is actually a tradition since, jeez I’m not sure, the last four or five years at least we’ve done a four to five show run of local spots. We play Philly, and Baltimore, old hangouts and places we always played. So that’ll be cool. We’ve got a really big show in Philly and I think Baltimore is New Years Eve. It’s going to be fun.

Rocksins: Awesome. Have you started booking anything up for 2013 yet?

Josh: Yeah stuff is in the works, we’ve just about got it nailed down so you’ll be hearing about it pretty soon.
Rocksins: So watch this space?
Josh: Yes exactly. We’ll be back over here I think probably in the spring I’d imagine.

Rocksins: Last time we spoke was at Download, and that was your second time playing the festival, but on a much bigger stage this year. Did you guys have a good Download experience this year?

Josh: Download was just an incredible, incredible time. Both of them are so different in comparison, the first time we were there, incredible stage on the Pepsi Stage which was awesome and we got there a day early so we could see a bunch of bands. The weather was beautiful too, obviously this time, you were there, it was Mudload! It was a mess!
Rocksins: Yeah it was pretty bad.
Josh: Yeah it really bad. This time around though the stage was incredible and I did not expect that kind of showing from the fans and it was awesome.
Rocksins: Particularly as you were on pretty early in the day as well.
Josh: Yeah, it looked like there was no room to move, it was incredible. Download is always a great experience and probably one of the biggest if not THE biggest festival we’ve played. So we always, always hope that we’re playing Download, good times for sure!

Rocksins: You guys got lots of good press over here for the Carnival of Madness tour in the States, particularly with Lzzy and Amy (Lee, from Evanescence) singing together got quite a lot of attention. Was that another thing that you think has increased the awareness of the band?

Josh: Yeah, I think that is and any press is good press, particularly when those two are on stage. We didn’t know how that tour was going to pan out. We’re great friends with all of the band of Evanescence from the getgo and it seemed like Amy was really excited to have another gal to hang with which I can totally understand. They became buds and it was really cool, I mean she came up to Lzzy and said “hey let’s do a song together, I wanna do Break In”. So we were like “….OK!”, shit that’s awesome, it’s so great for us. That tour overall again was way too much fun, every night everyone hung out until bus call, there weren’t any cliques, we played this game we have in the States, I don’t know if you have it here it’s called Corn Hole, which is like a bean bag toss, just like a board with a hole in it that you throw bean bags through. It’s like horseshoes but bean bags, so everyone got corn hole boards and it turned into tournaments for money, it was great fun.

Rocksins: One last question, obviously Halestorm has had a great last twelve months, where would you like to be in another twelve months time?

Josh: Hopefully continuing to headline shows but also continuing to play more shows with bands we haven’t played with yet. Whether it’s bands opening up for us or us opening up for them. Man there’s just so many that would be great to play with, The Darkness just came out with an album that’d be really cool, Foo Fighters would always be fun. I can tell you for sure the next year or two we’re just going to be travelling and touring and we’re looking forward to it for sure. Also hopefully we’ll be releasing some new music in the meantime whenever we get off the road we’ve been talking about getting some new music together to get out to people rather than spinning the same record so we’d like to get some new material in play somewhere.
Rocksins: Great stuff, thanks very much.
Josh: No problem, thank you.

A review of Halestorm’s excellent show at Islington Academy can be read here. Since this interview, Halestorm have announced their return to the UK as special guests on Bullet For My Valentine’s first UK tour of 2013 which will be the first set of shows promoting BFMV’s new album Temper Temper. Full details of the dates of that tour can be found here. More interviews with rock’s finest will be available here at Rocksins in the coming weeks so please keep checking back to see who we’re catching up with next.


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