In defence of Halestorm

Better looking than Dave Mustaine as well ;) (Photo credit: Iain Purdie)

Halestorm won a Grammy last night for “Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance”, specifically for their track “Love Bites (So Do I)”. As a result, they started to get a tirade of abuse from so-called “real metal” fans, such as those responding the Megadeth’s congratulatory post on facebook (you may need an fb account to read that).

There are those who claim not to have heard of Halestorm, maybe truly maybe not. There are those who just hurled insults at them because they wanted Megadeth to win. Then there are those who went down the “they’re not metal, they shouldn’t have won” path.

For that last group, I draw your attention to the name of the award: “Hard Rock/Metal”. That means it’s not just open to metal acts such as Megadeth, Anthrax, Iron Maiden and Lamb of God who made four of the other nominees this year (Marilyn Manson was the final one, I’d class him more as Hard Rock as well). Megadeth were nominated last year and were beaten by Foo Fighters. I wonder if there was the same outcry then?

Halestorm aren’t to everyone’s taste and I get that. Personally I couldn’t have picked a winner from the bands selected this year although I’d be honest and say that Megadeth wouldn’t have been my choice. I just don’t think much of their recent materials. Maiden would have been up there on the strength of a live song which lets them showcase older, stronger material. Had they been nominated for something from the current album I’d have dropped them down the list as well.

Back to another point – that people said they hadn’t heard of Halestorm before. This ties in with another point that others made: it’s an industry award and doesn’t reflect the views of the “public”. Well, that’s something I can relate to. We have the Brits over here and they’re regularly swamped with shitty one-shot manufactured ear-flack that the record companies are desperate to push. In fairness, Maiden won an award for Best Live Performance a couple of years ago after some online vote-bombing (I think they ran away with it, actually) in one of the handful of publicly-voted categories.

The reason for this victory is most likely that they were the only rock/metal act in the category that year (if I remember correctly). Had they been in there with, say, Metallica and Foo Fighters along with a couple of shitty pop acts then I reckon the vote would have been tighter.

But Halestorm, the least well-known band, took the Grammy award last night. Is this for commercial reasons as the tin-foil hat brigade will tell you? If so, then you know what? I don’t care. As pretty much anyone will tell you, the Grammy Awards are industry-biased. Metallica have won the Metal category (now defunct) umpteen times and virtually every instance has been since they went shit. But they sold albums.

Let’s turn it around. Which band out of the ones nominated this year would benefit most from the kudos of winning a Grammy? Maiden? Megadeth? Manson? Anthrax? Already well-established. Lamb of God? Getting plenty of free press due to the ongoing Randy Blythe trial.

As for the musical style and the “not real music” shouts, well those folk can just fuck off. True, they’re not heavy but they’re definitely real music. How many people just jump into liking thrash or death metal? Kids listen to something that’s a bit different then work their way through the other possibilities.

Our daughter is going to her first “proper” gig in a few weeks time – Bullet For My Valentine with Halestorm opening. It’s a present for her 12th birthday and she likes Halestorm, so we’ve bought balcony tickets (obviously downstairs would be a bit of a crush for a little girl) along with some friends of ours and we’re going to expose her to the wonders that are a live rock show.

When  I was her age, I was listening to Europe and Bon Jovi. As I type this up I am listening to Insomnium’s wonderful Above The Weeping World album. I defy you to find anyone my age who won’t air guitar to “Livin’ on a Prayer” or sing along to the opening of “Final Countdown”. Are they metal? No. Are they classic tracks which got millions of us listening to real, guitar/drum based music? Yes.

That’s what Halestorm could be doing for kids today. Their music is varied, catchy, fun and their live performance is superb. A female lead is a great role model for girls, especially one as talented as Lzzy Hale.

This award could give them a push, bigger sales, more exposure and as a result more kids could start to listen to our type of music instead of following the rap and pop herds.

So now tell me why it’s a bad thing that they won an award in a category in which they sit perfectly well?

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February 9, 2015 8:51 AM

[…] sorry – I actually applauded the GRAMMYs a couple of years ago when they awarded the “Best Rock/Metal” award to Halestorm on the basis that it might […]