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Halestorm Drummer Arejay Hale on Grammy Shock, Haters Who Thought They Shouldn’t Have Won (EXCLUSIVE)

Dan MacMedan, WireImage

Halestorm scored its first-ever Grammy last week winning the best ‘Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance‘ award for their breakthrough single, “Love Bites (And So Do I).” The rockers from Red Lion, Pa. — judging from what Noisecreep saw during the pre-telecast broadcast online — were beyond surprised.

They’ve come a long way since 1997 when siblings Arejay (drummer) and Lzzy Hale (singer), then just 10 and 13 years old respectively, started writing and performing original music. Halestorm have been climbing the ladder ever since, touring the world on the strength of their two albums Halestorm and and last year’s The Strange Case of…

It was a big week for the band in Los Angeles and Noisecreep had the pleasure of speaking with Arejay about what it felt like to win the award, and also to get his take on certain artists that have been complaining about the big Halestorm win.

Arejay, first of all congratulations. Would you walk us through the feeling of what it’s like to win your first Grammy award?

Well, right now were more dizzy than busy, and we still don’t believe it. I’m still waiting for someone to tell us that we were punked. I know a lot of people get up there and say they’re shocked and didn’t expect to win, but I’m here to tell you, we were shocked and in no way did we expect to win! When you look at who we are up against I know it’s hard to make sense of, and I think we may have been as surprised as everyone else. Even more so.

Well at least you didn’t have to say that it was just an honor to be nominated.

[Laughs] Exactly. But we were ready to! Here’s what happened. I was not expecting to win. My mom was there videotaping at the ceremony and I told her that when we lose, tilt the camera toward us and we will send a message out to our fans to let them know how thankful we are for their support. Then all of a sudden we hear our name and so we are walking up to the stage, I’ve got my phone out and people are asking me after, who were you texting? Well, I wasn’t texting at all, I had made some notes earlier just in case we won, which again we didn’t think was going to happen. So all that was on my phone were a few names we had a remember but the truth is, when you’re up there you remember nothing. It doesn’t seem real and you go backstage afterwards and ask yourselves, what the heck just happened?

Here’s another part of the story. The night before the awards we went to the nomination party where they give you these amazing medallions in honor of being nominated. That was enough for us, we felt like we won right there. But then out on Sunset Boulevard, my medallion falls to the ground and gets this big dent in it. And I’m so bummed thinking, my medallion is ruined. Then we got the Grammy and all of a sudden, I wasn’t so upset about the medallion.

Watch ‘Love Bites (So Do I)’ Video

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From the excited tone in your voice, it sounds like this has not even really hit you yet.

It hasn’t. The whole thing is just so surreal. After we left the Nokia Theater where we received our award we headed over to the Staples Center where the main show was going to take place, and it got better. It was early and there was no place to eat except McDonald’s on the concourse level. And so I’m eating at McDonald’s and Skrillex comes up to me to say congratulations. And then there’s Katy Perry over there and every star that you recognize. And then it hits you that you’re part of this – that you kind of belong all of a sudden.

There has been some talk from other artists griping about your victory. What does the band feel about that? Is it just sour grapes?

We’re not offended by that stuff at all. We think people should be as honest as they want to be. Honestly, I thought Lamb of God would’ve won. What’s interesting is that they influenced the song we won for. We love Lamb of God, in fact all the other nominees are bands we grew up looking up to. There were such legendary artists in that category and maybe we’re just the ones that got picked to would represent the new guard. But that’s not our call.

As far as people criticizing us, I learned a long time ago that you have to embrace the hater because it means that the bands get is getting bigger. Like Nickelback. I love them and I see people hate on them and all it says to me is that the have become massively huge, and what’s wrong with that? So if people have to take the time to say something hateful or mean for whatever reason, it means the band is growing more and more and that more fans are finding out about us and that’s a valuable thing. My sister and I have been doing this for 16 years and that’s a long time. This was like a vindication, this Grammy, this was something that said to us, we did it. That’s really important because this is all we know how to do. This is it. There is no backup plan.

Pick up Halestorm’s The Strange Case of… on iTunes and their recent In the Live Room acoustic EP here.

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