After a year and a half of being cooped up, Amy Lee of Evanescence and Lzzy Hale of Halestorm are getting their bands together and hitting the road.
Both bands worked on fresh material during the pandemic and they’ll be performing it live for the first time on a co-headlining tour that comes to the new YouTube Theater at Hollywood Park in Inglewood Wednesday, Nov. 10 and Viejas Arena at San Diego State University Saturday, Nov. 13.
“It’s so exciting and feels like we decided on this tour so long ago, but it’s been a lot of patience and waiting for it to actually happen,” Lee said during a recent Zoom interview with Hale from their respective homes in Nashville.
“We start rehearsals this week and I have a lot of emotions,” Lee continued, noting that she hadn’t seen Evanescence guitarist Jen Majura in person since the band finished the album because Majura was stuck in Germany due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “These shows will be our first live shows back and not livestreaming and virtual, so I’m so excited to be doing this. I’m going to try to hold back my emotions, but I’ll be concentrating on the new music, too. That might just save me.”
While Evanescence dropped its first new album in a decade, “The Bitter Truth,” back in March, Halestorm is currently putting the finishing touches on its forthcoming record and has already added its latest single, “Back from the Dead,” into its setlist.
“I don’t think I am the same person I was when I started writing the songs for this record,” Hale said, adding that much of the writing had been done pre-pandemic. But shutdown kept the band in the studio and continuously writing.
“We wrote a lot and threw a lot away; we recorded a lot and threw a lot away,” she continued. “New stuff just rose to the surface and the album began shaping itself into what it needed to be. It was truly life-saving to have that outlet and that direction during that time and we put everything we had into it so it’s going to be a barn burner because of that.”
Lee’s also grateful to have been able to make music during the pandemic. If anything, the extra time and effort put into the album reignited her passion for creation, especially with a timely song like “Use My Voice.”
“It felt good to have music and to have a voice to rage against the world,” she said. “Last year, everything was so uncertain and that feeling didn’t just go away. We really needed something to believe in, to cling to and to work towards so we didn’t just feel like we were merely existing. This gave us a purpose and a voice in this whirlwind storm of pain and loss.
“It felt really good to make a statement with ‘Use My Voice,’ to do something positive for the world and encourage people to vote. I think everyone has a lot of pent-up frustration for a million different reasons, so the music was our lifesaver and we love this album so much because we did pour our hearts into it. We realized all of a sudden how much more we wanted it, how much the music matters and that we were willing to fight for it. We had to learn new ways to collaborate and get together and we made videos ourselves and did whatever it took and to find that fire still there, that was good for me and good for the music.”
Though they had crossed paths previously, Lee and Hale met when their bands landed on a package tour together back in 2012. The pair bonded on the road and enjoyed watching each other perform night after night. Lee guests on the track “Break In” on Halestorm’s 2020 “Reimagined” EP and Hale lent backing vocals to “Use My Voice” and appears in the music video.
“Amy is just special,” Hale said. “There’s something otherworldly that happens when we get together and we put our voices together. It’s interesting because we have two different styles and two different voices, but when we come together, there’s something magical that happens. So I’m looking forward to more of that on this tour.”
At the time of our interview, they were still putting together the setlists for the outing but confirmed the pair will find time to share the stage. Both women said they were excited about having two female-fronted bands on a co-headlining tour and that they were able to bring out two female supporting acts — South African alternative rock band Plush and singer-songwriter Lilith Czar (Juliette Simms) — as well.
“The fact that we can lift up our fellow women in rock, where we’re not the most common type in that regard, I think it’s so awesome that we can show that support and give each other a leg up,” Lee said. “It wasn’t easy for Lzzy or I to make it this far and so at least, in terms of choosing opening bands, we wanted to pay that forward in a big way.
“Especially when the music is good, that is first and foremost, but we’re bringing it with this big show.”
“I’ve gotten to share the stage with Joan Jett and Lita Ford and I’ve gotten to talk to Pat Benatar and every single time I meet them, I thank them for not giving up,” Hale said. “Because if they did, the storyline would have been, ‘Oh, they were trying to make it in the music business and it got too hard, no one took them seriously and they gave up.’ That would be our narrative. But these women who came before us gave us hope.
“With Amy and I and how long we’ve been doing our craft and all the hurdles and doors we’ve had to literally beat down to do what we love, by us just being on stage we’re able to inspire other young women who may not see themselves in any of the other performers. The fact that we can be that for them is really important. I’m just realizing that this tour is so much more than us getting up there and swinging our hair around,” she said. “It really means something to people.”
Evanescence & Halestorm
With: Plush and Lilith Czar
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10
Where: YouTube Theater, 1011 S. Stadium Drive, Inglewood
Tickets: $39.50-$399 at 800-745-3000 or Ticketmaster.com
Also: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13 at Viejas Arena at San Diego State University, 5500 Canyon Crest Drive, San Diego. $39.50-$129.50 at Ticketmaster.com.
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