Tomorrow night, July 1, hard rock band Halestorm will headline Summerfest’s Harley-Davidson Roadhouse Stage at 10 p.m. The Grammy Award-winning band has been performing at Summerfest since 2005 and, in anticipation of their show tomorrow, lead guitarist/backup vocalist/Wisconsin native Joe Hottinger shared what it’s like on tour with Halestorm.
Halestorm is made up of siblings Lzzy and Arejay Hale, who began writing and playing music together in 1997 at 10- and 13-years-old. Hottinger joined Halestorm in 2003 followed by Josh Smith in 2004. When Hottinger went to audition for Halestorm and heard the kind of music he’d be playing, he was hooked and says he hasn’t looked back since.
Hottinger was born in Wisconsin, lived in Hartford until he was 13, and still has family in the area, so Summerfest is always a kind of reunion for him. When asked for his favorite thing about the world’s largest music festival, Hottinger answered,
The roasted corn and bratwurst [laughs]. The crowds are always awesome, it’s such a well-run festival, and everyone’s always nice. It’s just a treat.
Halestorm is known for having an insane tour schedule, playing up to 250 shows a year. Hottinger commented on their tour schedule and what he loves about touring, saying,
Playing rock and roll shows.. it’s what we do. It’s what we’ve always done wherever we can, and it’s fun! There’s a high you get from playing on stage- if there was a pill or something like it that would come out it, would be illegal for sure. I just have so much fun playing with my friends….and when you play, you’re in the moment and it’s just fun. And now we get to travel the world with our best friends and do what we love most, and that’s our job…we’re lucky! We get to do what we love.
Hottinger has plenty of chances to do what he loves as the lead guitarist of a hard rock band. Their Grammy-winning song, “Love Bites (So Do I)” may be one of their most popular, but Hottinger’s favorite to perform at the moment is “Bad Girl’s World” off their latest album, Into the Wild Life. He elaborated,
[My favorite song to perform] changes daily. Right now it’s “Bad Girl’s World” but that’s just me being selfish because I do a guitar solo beforehand and after. It’s such a cool groove and it’s laid back.. I don’t know, it’s fun!
While most musicians might say that success and a busy tour schedule comes with it’s share of difficulties, Hottinger takes any challenges in stride, and would much rather face those than any other career path. When asked about the challenges of a hectic tour schedule, Hottinger replied,
If I was sitting in a day job, it’d be even worse. I’m not built for that- sitting in a cubicle someplace. I’d have to play music and any challenges we encounter on the road- whether it’s day to day things that go wrong or whatever- they’re not a big deal…. I don’t have too many difficulties with being on the road.
Halestorm has toured and performed alongside many big rock bands including Evanescence, Bullet For My Valentine, and Seether. Hottinger admits that there is still a band that he’d love to collaborate with or perform alongside, saying,
We’ve never played a set or a show or anything with Foo Fighters and I’d love to. I’ve been a fan of them since their first record came out in think in ’94 and I never met them or seen them. It’d be totally cool to collaborate with them or play a show with them. Checking them out was one of the best times when I was a kid, but if we got to play too…. that would be awesome!
If tomorrow night is your first time seeing Halestorm live, you might wonder what to expect. Hottinger gave Halestorm newbies an idea of what they’ll see, saying,
You’ll see one of the greatest things in rock ‘n’ roll right now. We’re just four people playing music..we don’t use tracks- it’s just the four of us having fun on stage and I think that translates. We played a tour earlier this year with Eric Church who does country stuff- and we’re a hard rock band- and we didn’t hold back. I think regardless of genres, you go to a concert and see people having fun on stage and everyone has a good time.
Halestorm plays at Summerfest’s Harley-Davidson Roadhouse Stage tomorrow, July 1, at 10 p.m. following We Are Harlot. For more information on Halestorm and their upcoming tour dates, visit their webpage.