Halestorm's Lizzy Hale is checking in from the road.
From Idaho, she thinks.
"We saw something that looks like a huge potato," the says with a laugh. "I think it was a big potato on the back of a truck. Which was pretty awesome. That was the highlight of our morning."
But the fact that Hale isn't entirely certain of where she is lets you know just how much time the hard rock troupe from eastern Pennsylvania spends on the road. And, she says, they wouldn't have it any other way.
"We've been primarily a live band," acknowledges Hale, 29, who co-founded the group in 1998 with her brother, drummer Arejay Hale (another brother, Roger, played bass until 2003). "We more or less thrive on the road, and I think everybody surrounding us knows that. We love being out here; it's wonderful to see all the fans, so it's just tunnel vision at this point -- just go, go, go, go and time flies by and, wow, it's almost 2013!
"And it's weird when you get off the road, too. All of a sudden you have to get lunch for yourself and there's a shower at your disposal and a big bed you don't know what to do with. It's wild. So I think we're more comfortable at this point out on the road."
That said, Halestorm has shown this year that it can hold its own in the recording studio, too.
The quartet's sophomore album, "The Strange Case Of...," debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hard Rock chart and No. 15 on the Billboard 200 when it was released in April. It's also launched a pair of No. 2 Mainstream Rock singles in the Grammy Award-nominated "Love Bites (So Do I)" and "I Miss the Misery" and landed the group a spot on this year's Carnival of Madness Tour and the headlining spot on the Jagermeister Presents tour. Hale was also named the Hottest Chick In Hard Rock by Revolver magazine.
It's a definite step forward from the more modest success of 2009's "Halestorm," but Hale says there was a sense that album -- and its singles, "I Get Off" and "It's Not You" -- had primed Halestorm for a bigger breakthrough this time out.
"Definitely there was a point in time, maybe halfway getting through (the album) where we said, 'Hopefully this is good. We really like it. Hopefully this is going to be a better record than the last,' " Hale remembers. "I think we all were a little nervous about that, but everything that's happened has been awesome, and we're all kind of surprised by that."
Hale says the goal for "The Strange Case of..." was "to bridge the gap a little bit from the energy of our live shows to the clean-ness of making a record." The group and producer Howard Benson took a more polished and determined approach to recording, she says, which led Halestorm in different directions than the group ever considered.
"We wanted to reach outside of ourselves and experiment with different songs and different sounds and different gears of my voice and not do what everyone would expect of us," Hale explains. "We just had the freedom to work with different guitars and different sounds...where the last album sounded like we used the same gear on every song and just set up and played."
Another new experience for Hale on "The Strange Case Of..." was with her songwriting collaborators. Though she worked with others on "Halestorm," primarily producer Benson, the new album brought in a different group of co-writers, including pop hitmaker Toby Gad (Fergie, Beyonce, One Direction).
"I had never co-written with anybody until the last record, and I just fell in love with it," Hale notes. "I've gotten to know a lot of people and a lot of great writers, and I like the fact that when you're writing with somebody else it brings something out of you. All of a sudden you have something to prove.
"So writing with other people takes me out of my comfort zone, and I end up writing some of my best stuff 'cause I really want to impress these people or hold my own with them."
And though she predicts "The Strange Case Of..." will be "rockin' through next winter," Hale says the album's creative process has her stoked to make Halestorm's next album.
"We've definitely started thinking about and have started writing for the next record," she says. "I think this is the earliest I've been in the mood to write after I put out a record; usually you're like, 'OK, I'm done for awhile.' But it's been really fun to be out on the road and just writing songs for the sake of writing.
"I haven't thought about anything thematic or what the next step will be. We're definitely weighing the options, though. Really, anything is a possibility at this point."
Halestorm, In This Moment and Eve To Adam perform Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are sold out. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.
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