Members: Amy Lee (vocals), Troy McLawhorn (guitar), Tim McCord (bass), Terry Balsamo (guitar), Will Hunt (Drums)
Amy Lee - Vocals, Piano
Troy McLawhorn - Guitar
Tim McCord - Guitar
Terry Balsamo - Guitar
Will Hunt - Drums
Evanescence (ev'e-nes'ens ): a dissipation or disappearance like vapor
Although the band's name may suggest a sudden vanishing, the music of Evanescence is poised for longevity. Fallen, the Wind-up Records debut of this talented quartet from Little Rock, Arkansas, is an emotional, ethereal work of undeniable potency guided by the heavenly vocals of Amy Lee. "We're definitely a rock band," says the 20-year-old Lee. "But the twist is that the band's music is epic, dramatic, dark rock."
Co-founders Lee and guitarist/songwriter Ben Moody met while in their early teens. "We were at a youth camp," Moody recalls. "During some sort of recreational period held in a gymnasium, I heard Amy playing Meat Loaf's 'I'd Do Anything for Love' at the piano. So I went over to meet her, and she started singing for me. I was pretty much blown away, so I suckered her into joining a band with me." Since that day, the musical relationship has remained dependably loyal. "We have the same exact vision regarding what we love about music," Moody says. "When it comes to songwriting, we finish each other's thoughts."
Evanescence first took shape in Little Rock at the end of the '90s. Predictably, the band didn't quite fit the mold of most others lingering around the Midwestern state. "It's typically death metal or really soft, older-people music there," says Lee. "I don't even know of any local bands that have female singers."
Influenced by a wide-ranging collection of artists such as Bjork, Danny Elfman and Tori Amos, the band started releasing EPs of its material. Even without the benefit of live performances, Evanescence began to establish a reputation.
"A lot of it developed by being elusive," Moody remembers. "The second song we ever wrote was this seven-minute, ridiculous Goth anthem called 'Understanding.' And for some reason, the local rock station decided to play it a lot. We gained this popularity around town, even though no one knew who we were or where to find us. It was because we could never afford to play a show -- it was just Amy and I -- and we couldn't pay any musicians."
Fallen was tracked in Los Angeles with producer Dave Fortman (BOYSETSFIRE, Superjoint Ritual). The album successfully finds that intangible balance between lush beauty and primal heaviness. Typical of the record is the first single, "Bring Me To Life," a piano ballad-turned-riff-driven barnburner. Highlighted by a guest vocal from Paul McCoy of 12 Stones, the song is featured prominently in the Daredevil film and soundtrack.
"'Bring Me To Life' is about discovering something or someone that awakens a feeling inside them that they've never had before," says Moody. He continued, "You discover there is a world that is bigger than just your safe bubble." Also significant is the vibrant anthem "Tourniquet" and the eerie "Haunted," with its pummeling beats and jarring melodies (augmented by chamber choir arrangements courtesy of Lee). Of the latter, Moody asserts, "It's the song that is the most 'us'. That best sums up what we strive to sound like."
Lyrically, Evanescence explores dark, introspective themes of love, desperation, and despair. But the group insists its fundamental message is a positive one. "The point of this whole record and band is to let people know that they're not alone in dealing with bad feelings or pain or anything that they go through," says Lee, who pens most of the words. "That's life and that's human. They're not alone, and we're going through it, too."
Live, Evanescence functions as a quartet with John LeCompt (guitar) and Rocky Gray (drums) rounding out the line-up. "As a four-piece, we are able to carry out the intricate harmonies and orchestrations of the memorable material on Fallen," Moody emphasizes. "We're very sincere about what we do. There's so much pre-packaged teen angst these days in music. That's not us. We're not trying to sell an angle, we're just here writing from our heart."
Having sold nearly 14 million records worldwide, well more than 6 million in the U.S. alone, with their major-label debut Fallen, Evanescence is poised to continue their meteoric rise with their forthcoming CD, The Open Door (Wind-up Records), scheduled for release October 3. The album from the two-time Grammy-winning band is defined by Amy Lee's beautiful melodies, compelling lyrics, poignant piano and stunning vocals, fused with Terry Balsamo's urgent, yet intricate guitar, to form a seamless, ethereal mixture that perfectly channels the band's hard rock and classical sensibilities. The contributions of members John LeCompt (guitar) and Rocky Gray (drums) are also evident.
"Making this record has been really intense," explains Lee. "Terry suffered a stroke last October and is still recovering, we got a new manager [Andy Lurie], and I've come out of a difficult breakup. But everything we've been through together has benefited this album." With Fallen, says Lee, the band had much to prove while defining its identity. This time, finding a cohesive writing partner in Terry Balsamo, "we really took our time crafting this album and had the freedom to express a broader range of emotions: not just pain and sadness, but also anger and, yes, even happiness."
Written late last year, The Open Door was recorded at The Record Plant in Los Angeles and mixed at Ocean Way Studios in March 2006. Marking the return of long-time friend and producer Dave Fortman, the album's musical elements include a classically-infused choir and strings recorded in an old chapel on several tracks, giving further color to songs of introspection, longing, doubt, self-respect and, ultimately, empowerment. The album opens with "Sweet Sacrifice," a post-relationship catharsis that head-dives from an otherworldly intro into a hard-driving thrash of hard rock guitars and soaring rock vocals. Its first single, the mid-tempo "Call Me When You're Sober," reinforces the moving-away-from-dysfunction theme.
Other standout tracks on The Open Door include "Lithium", which embraces feeling over numbness, "All That I'm Living For", Lee's tribute to band life, "Weight of the World," her plea for perspective from the expectation of young fans, and "Good Enough," a string-and-choir-infused closer distinguished as the band's first truly (almost) contented song ("It feels really good ending the album this way," says Lee). Having toured for a year-and-a-half straight with only a month off following the release of Fallen, Evanescence hopes to hit the road this time out with a care not to neglect key markets worldwide. Its U.S. tour begins immediately after the October 3 debut of The Open Door, rewarding hardcore fans with a "sneak peak" at the album handful of more intimate theater dates before segueing into much larger arena shows.
Originally hailing from Little Rock, Arkansas, the band's evolving sound a nearly mystical marriage between rock, goth and classical was informed by a curious duality. Lee, who spent nine years studying classical piano, explains, "When I was in high school I listened to a lot of death metal bands. Both genres are intricate, complex types of music that are very dramatic, and I'm naturally drawn to that."
Evanescence self-released two EPs and a first full-length album, the much-sought-after Origin, before finding a home at Wind-up Records. Fallen, their major-label debut, was released in April 2003 to critical and commercial success. The internationally appealing Top 10 singles "Bring Me to Life" and "My Immortal" helped drive airplay and led to two 2003 Grammy Awards (Best New Artist and Best Hard Rock Performance for "Bring Me To Life"). Propelling the band to sales of nearly 14 million albums worldwide, Fallen spent more than 100 weeks on Billboard's Top 200 chart, was certified gold or platinum in over 35 countries, and sold out arenas globally. Anywhere But Home, their 2004 live DVD release, has sold over one million copies to date.
The inherent drama in Evanescence's music a kind of audio odyssey that can turn on a dime from piano-led introspection to hammering guitar has resonated with listeners everywhere. The band's aggressive core finds a counterpart in Lee's passionate vocals, lyrics that forge a connection with audiences searching for identity or struggling with feelings of desire, hope love and loss. The Open Door is a logical (but certainly not predictable) transformation of epic proportions for the band, which, in many ways has only just begun to make its mark on the music world.
Thanks to Evanescence.com.