The Strange Case Of Josh Smith
Pennsylvania’s Halestorm is quickly climbing the ladder among the hard rock hierarchy, and this week we caught up with the band’s least known member, bassist Josh Smith, to peel back another layer of the onion.
The band, which was founded when brother and sister duo Arejay (drums) and Lzzy Hale (vocals, guitar) were pre-teens, has developed into one of rock’s most noted young talents. Rounded out by Smith and guitarist Joe Hottinger, the quartet’s 2009 debut self-titled album sent the band on a three-year global touring trek. Their fresh sound and fan-friendly approach has enamored them to a vast multitude of followers, known as “stormchasers”.
While front woman Lzzy Hale does much of the band’s press, Josh Smith is the one band member who does most of his talking through his performances. While Halestorm was awaiting its Battle Creek, Michigan performance on the Mass Chaos tour with Godsmack and Staind I got Josh on the phone. The goal– to learn a bit more about the most elusive member of the band, and talk about the group’s sophomore album, The Strange Case Of… which was released in April on Atlantic Records.
With the success the band has experienced to date, and two hits already off the new album, Halestorm has made it to that next level where opening slots on club tours are behind them. “I think there’s still plenty of clubs in our future,” laughs Josh. “But for us, it’s just always been about raising the bar and keeping momentum, and just continuing to rock forward. That’s what we look forward to the most, I think. We want to remain as close and intimate to our fans as we have been. In clubs– it’s a much more intimate atmosphere and you can reach out and shake hands with people, and that’s something we definitely want to keep around. It’s something we really sort of appreciate and cherish.”
At the time Smith joined Halestorm he was home from college.
“When I was home for summer break that’s when I started working with Halestorm. They asked me to join the band and I dropped school and joined the circus. I went to school as a double music major, and I went for about two years. My primary major was piano performance, and I’m a classical piano player since age seven. I did music ed as a secondary major. It was fun and all and I still love to learn, and maybe I’ll get back to college someday and finish an education in music. It’s cool right now cause we actually have a keyboard out on the road, and I’m just kinda of dusting off the old keys and getting back into playing piano. I’m really pumped. I haven’t been this happy in a while, having access to a piano.”
On the band’s new album, The Strange Case Of…, the band took some risks, straying away from the formula of the first record to include some piano and ballads, while also adding some heavier material. Still Smith says, there was never a concern about the ubiquitous “sophomore slump”.
“As far as the sophomore album, the whole slump thing goes, we we’re really happy with our success on the first album. But I don’t think it ever set us up to the point where the bar was too high or too unattainable for us. We kind of knew early on, we can do better. And I think we always feel like that. We’re already looking forward to our next album. So I don’t foresee any album slumps in our future. We’re so hungry to continue writing and just learning and getting better as musicians.”
After a brief tour overseas, Halestorm will return to North America for a massive headlining tour starting June 21 in Quebec City, Canada, and running through September 5, in Evansville, Indiana. Check complete tour dates here. If your city is not listed, have no fear, Halestorm will not rest until they’ve been within spitting distance of every fan in the nation.
Listen to our full interview with Josh below, and read our review of The Strange Case Of…, here.