As Gibson guitar’s first female Brand Ambassador, Lzzy Hale is very much a living legend in the sphere of heavy music. Through years of slogging it out in rock’s grueling, cluttered trenches, she and her band Halestrom have ascended the ranks from mid-day festival openers to bona fide headliners in their own right. Along the way, they picked up a platinum certification for their sophomore album, 2012’s The Strange Case Of.., and a Grammy award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance in 2013 for Love Bites, as well as a second Grammy nomination in 2018 for Uncomfortable. But before the fame and the accolades, Lzzy Hale was a young musician charting her course and drawing inspiration from a broad range of influences, including the likes of Black Sabbath, Muse, Twisted Sister - and none other than pop punk princess, Avril Lavigne.
In this old video, circle 2002-2003, a young and relentlessly upbeat Lzzy Hale appeared in the documentary, Avril Lavigne: Skater Girl, walking the streets of New York City with a camera crew while discussing Lavigne, her talents and the influence she had on Lzzy.
Clad in a black leather jacket and simple blue jeans, 20 year-old Lzzy already demonstrates an unmistakable rock star swagger, cruising down the bustling sidewalks, rhapsodising about Lavigne’s latest album — 2002’s Let’s Go, which included her mega-hits Complicated, Sk8er Boi, I’m With You and Losing Grip. “When I first heard her album,” says Lzzy, “I was particularly blown away by the uniqueness of it and the fact that it definitely was not your normal pop rock stuff. I enjoyed the realness of it and I enjoyed the fact that you can tell that she’s doing something that she loves. And she’s not trying to be anything but who she is.”
Fresh-faced and youthful, Lzzy flashes a broad, unguarded smile and delivers a pointedly supportive analysis of Lavigne’s impact. Notably, there’s no sense of competition here — no genre blustering or any sense of professional insecurity that certain musicians cover up with snarky or derogatory comments about other artists. There’s just an earnest stream of positivity and there are points when it’s clear that Lzzy cannot help but smile as she speaks.
Of Lavigne’s latest release, Lzzy says, “I do have to say that my favourite song would be her first single, Complicated. Even apart from the musical end of it, the musical end is... it’s catchy, it’s fun, it was stuck in my head for days.”
Speaking to why Lavigne’s music has such broad appeal, Lzzy’s comments echo what people tend to love about metal as well. “Her success definitely lies in the hearts of the teenagers and the pre-teens that are trying to figure out who they are. [They] just wanna be themselves and they have a lot of people around them telling them how they’re supposed to act, how they’re supposed to dress, what music they’re supposed to listen to... “ It’s a continuation of earlier comments where Lzzy explains, “[Lavigne] addresses important stuff, such as you don’t have to be something just because someone tells you to or just because it’s popular or because it’s the thing to do. Do something that makes you happy and pave your own way.”
Perhaps the most poignant aspect of this video is that there’s not a single comment that, twenty years later, feels dated, much less regrettable. A year ago, when some fans stumbled upon this footage, Lzzy took to Instagram to own this sparkly little bit of prehistory and to clarify one of her comments, writing “AH HA! YOU GUYS FOUND IT. THIS IS ME AS A YOUNGSTER ON THE STREETS OF NYC GETTING ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT @AVRILLAVIGNE THOUGHT THIS TID BIT (sic) FROM MY LIFE HAD BEEN LOST TO THE VAST SEA OF THE INTERNET. HAA! I WAS SO LEETLE HERE. BY THE WAY, SMALL CORRECTION... MY FAVORITE SONG BY AVRIL IS ACTUALLY ‘I’M WITH YOU’ BUT THEY WANTED ME TO PROMOTE HER FIRST SINGLE.”
Watch the sweetly-affirming video below.