• Evanescence is an American rock band founded in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1995 by singer/pianist Amy Lee and guitarist Ben Moody. After recording two private EPs and a demo CD named Origin, with the help of Bigwig Enterprises in 2000, the band released their first full-length album, Fallen, on Wind-up Records in 2003. Fallen sold more than 15 million copies worldwide and helped the band win two Grammy Awards. A year later, Evanescence released their first live album, Anywhere but Home, which sold more than one million copies worldwide. In 2006, the band released their second studio album, The Open Door, which sold more than five million copies. The band has suffered several line-up changes, including co-founder Moody leaving mid-tour in 2003, bassist Will Boyd in mid-2006, followed by guitarist John LeCompt and drummer Rocky Gray in 2007. The latter two of the changes ultimately led the band to be on hiatus with only temporary replacements sought in order for the band to finish touring. In June 2009, Amy Lee posted on the official Evanescence website that the band had been working on new material for a proposed 2010 album.
• FORMATION AND EARLY YEARS: 1995–2001 Evanescence was founded by singer, pianist and songwriter Amy Lee and former lead guitarist and songwriter Ben Moody. The two met in 1994 at a youth camp in Little Rock, where Moody heard Lee playing “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” by Meat Loaf on the piano. Their first songs together were “Solitude” and “Give Unto Me”, both written by Lee, and “Understanding” and “My Immortal”, both written by Moody. The songs were edited by both artists, and they shared equal credit. Two of Lee and Moody’s songs found playtime on local radio stations, raising local awareness of the group and demand for a concert. The band eventually appeared live, and became one of the most popular acts in the area. After experimenting with band names, such as Childish Intentions and Stricken, they decided on Evanescence, which means “disappearance” or “fading away” (from the word evanesce, which means “to disappear”). Lee loved the name because “it is mysterious and dark, and places a picture in the listeners’ mind.” Their first full-length demo CD, Origin (released in 2000), is relatively unknown. The band also released two EPs. The first is the self-titled Evanescence EP (1998), of which about 100 copies were made and distributed at the band’s early live performances. The second is the Sound Asleep EP, also known as the Whisper EP (1999), which was limited to 50 copies. Origin and the EPs contain demo versions of some of the songs on their debut album, Fallen. For example, the recording of “My Immortal”, found on Fallen, can also be found on Origin, minus a handful of additional string accompaniments. Only 2,500 copies of this record were produced; in response, Lee and Moody encouraged fans to download the band’s older songs from the Internet.
• FALLEN AND ANYWHERE BUT HOME: 2002–2005 In early 2003, the lineup was completed by Amy Lee and Ben Moody’s friends, John LeCompt, Rocky Gray and Will Boyd, all of whom worked on Evanescence’s earlier songs. Meanwhile, Evanescence signed on with their first major label, Wind-up Records, and began work on their first album, Fallen. While they were looking to promote Fallen, Evanescence accepted an offer from the video game company Nintendo to perform on the “Nintendo Fusion Tour” which they headlined in 2003. Fallen spent 43 weeks on the Billboard Top 10; was certified 7x Platinum in the United States; and sold more than 15 million copies worldwide, including 7 million in the U.S. The album was listed for 104 weeks on the Billboard Top 200, and it was one of eight albums in the history of the chart to spend at least a year on the Billboard Top 50. On October 22, 2003, Moody left the band during the European tour for Fallen, reportedly because of creative differences. In an interview several months later, Amy Lee said: “…we’d gotten to a point that if something didn’t change, we wouldn’t have been able to make a second record.” This became a point of confusion for some people, as Moody and Lee stated on the Fallen album liner notes that they were best friends. Later, Lee said it was almost a relief that he left because of tensions created within the band. Moody was replaced by Terry Balsamo from Cold. Evanescence’s major label debut single “Bring Me to Life”, which features guest vocals from Paul McCoy of 12 Stones, was a global hit for the band and reached #5 on the American Billboard Hot 100. It provided Evanescence with their first UK #1 listing, where it stayed for four weeks from June-July 2003. The song also became the official theme for WWE No Way Out 2003. The equally popular “My Immortal” peaked at #7 in the U.S. and UK charts, and both songs were featured in the soundtrack for the action movie Daredevil. “Bring Me to Life” garnered recognition for the band at the 46th Grammy Awards in 2004, where they won the Best Hard Rock Performance and Best New Artist awards and were nominated for two others. The two other singles off Fallen are “Going Under” (#5 U.S. Modern Rock Tracks, #8 UK Charts) and “Everybody’s Fool” (#36 U.S. Modern Rock Tracks, #23 UK Charts); all were promoted by a music video. In 2004, Evanescence’s new lineup released a DVD/CD compilation entitled Anywhere but Home. The DVD includes a concert in Paris, as well as behind-the-scenes features, including shots of the band backstage signing autographs and warming up. The CD contains a previously unreleased song entitled “Missing”, which was internationally released as a single and reached #1 in Spain. Also on the CD are the live songs “Breathe No More” (from the Elektra movie soundtrack), “Farther Away”, and the band’s cover of Korn’s “Thoughtless”. The album has sold more than million copies worldwide.
• THE OPEN DOOR: 2006–2008 A spokesperson for the band’s label confirmed on July 14, 2006 that bassist Will Boyd had left the band for “not wanting to do another big tour” and wanting “to be close to his family.” Amy Lee originally broke the news to the fans in a post on an unofficial Evanescence site, EvBoard.com. In an interview with MTV, posted on their website on August 10, 2006, Lee announced that Tim McCord, former Revolution Smile guitarist, would switch instruments and play bass for the band. The album progressed slowly for several reasons, including Amy Lee’s desire to maximize the creative process and not rush production, other band members’ side projects, guitarist Terry Balsamo’s stroke, and the loss of their former manager. Although Lee stated on the fan forum Evboard that Evanescence’s new album would be completed in March 2006, the release was pushed back allegedly because “Wind-up Records…wanted to make a few changes to the upcoming single “Call Me When You’re Sober”, which hit modern rock and alternative rock radio on August 7, 2006. The 13-track album The Open Door was released in Canada and the United States on October 3, 2006; the United Kingdom on October 2, 2006; and Australia on September 30, 2006. The album sold 447,000 copies in the United States in its first week of sales and earned their first #1 ranking on the Billboard 200 album chart, becoming the 700th #1 album in Billboard since the chart became a weekly feature in 1956. The music video for “Call Me When You’re Sober” was shot in Los Angeles and is based on the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. The Open Door became available for pre-order on the iTunes Store on August 15, 2006; the music video for “Call Me When You’re Sober” was also made available. The tour for The Open Door began on October 5, 2006 in Toronto and included locations in Canada, the U.S. and Europe during that year. This first tour continued on January 5, 2007 and included stops in Canada (alongside band Stone Sour), Japan and Australia (alongside band Shihad) and then returned to the U.S. for a second tour in the spring (alongside bands Chevelle and Finger Eleven). As part of their tour, Evanescence performed on April 15, 2007 on the Argentinan festival Quilmes Rock 07 along with Aerosmith, Velvet Revolver and other local bands. They also co-headlined on the Family Values Tour 2007 along with Korn and other bands. The group closed their European tour with a sell-out concert at the Amphi in Ra’anana, Israel, on June 26, 2007, and finished the album tour on December 9, 2007. On May 4, 2007, John LeCompt announced that he had been fired from Evanescence, and also stated that drummer Rocky Gray had decided to quit. Wind-up issued a press release on May 17, 2007, stating that two Dark New Day members, drummer Will Hunt and guitarist Troy McLawhorn, would be joining the band to replace LeCompt and Gray. It was initially stated that Hunt and McLawhorn would tour with Evanescence until the end of the Family Values Tour in September 2007, but both continued to play with the band through The Open Door tour.
• EVANESCENCE: 2009–PRESENT In a news posting to the Evanescence website during June 2009, Amy Lee wrote that the band was in the process of writing new material for a new album proposed for release in 2010. She stated that the music would be an evolution of previous works and be “better, stronger, and more interesting”. The band played a “secret show” at the Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom in New York City on November 4, 2009, with label mates Civil Twilight. Tickets for the show sold out in five minutes. This performance acted as a warm-up for their headline appearance at the Maquinária Festival in São Paulo, Brazil, which took place on November 8. Evanescence entered the studio on February 22, 2010, to begin recording. Will Hunt returned as drummer while a second drummer and programmer, Will “Science” Hunt, was brought in to assist in writing but ultimately did not join the band. David Campbell, who previously worked on The Open Door, was brought back to handle string arrangements, and the album was scheduled for release by the producer Steve Lillywhite. Lee later said that “Steve wasn’t the right fit” and was replaced by producer Nick Raskulinecz. At the time the band began recording, the album was intended for an August or September 2010 release. However, on June 21, 2010, Lee announced on EvThreads.com that Evanescence had temporarily left the studio to work further on the album and “get our heads into the right creative space”. Lee also indicated that record label Wind-up Records was going through “uncertain times”, which would further delay the release of the album. The band reentered the studio in early April 2011 with producer Nick Raskulinecz, who had produced music for Alice in Chains and Foo Fighters, to continue work on the third album. It was reported that the album would be released in late 2011. Troy McLawhorn was reported to have rejoined the band as a primary guitarist after leaving post-grunge band Seether, but Evanescence’s management later stated that this was not the case. On June 12, 2011, Amy Lee announced through her Twitter account that Troy McLawhorn was officially back with Evanescence and that the release date for the new album would be October 4, 2011. Later, on July 11, 2011 it was reported by MTV News that the release date for the album had been pushed back to October 11, and that the first single from the album will be “What You Want”. The band recorded the album at Blackbird Studio, Nashville. During an interview with Kerrang!, Lee revealed that the new album’s title will be Evanescence. Lee said that the decision for the title of the album was her love towards Evanescence. Other themes are the ocean, quest for freedom and falling in love. Evanescence performed at Rock on the Range in Winnipeg on August 20, 2011. They also performed at Rock in Rio on October 2 alongside with Guns N’ Roses and System of a Down as well as Brazilian attractions Pitty and Detonautas Roque Clube. The band traveled to Europe in November to play a sold-out tour in the UK, Germany and France, with support from The Pretty Reckless and Australian band ME. Evanescence performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert on December 11, 2011, where they played “Lost in Paradise” and “Bring Me to Life”. In February 2012 they toured Japan with Dazzle Vision, at the same month, the band had a concert for the first time in the Philippines together with Bush (band) including other South East Asian countries, Taiwan, Korea, Hongkong, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, and in March 2012 they toured Australia and New Zealand with Blaqk Audio. Evanescence are currently touring throughout Europe, playing both festival and headlining dates.
• IN OTHER MEDIA Lee claimed that she wrote a song for the 2005 film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but that it was rejected because of its dark sound. Lee went on to state that it was just “more great stuff [for The Open Door]“. Another song supposedly written for Narnia was the Mozart-inspired “Lacrymosa”. The producers of Narnia, however, rebutted her claim, stating this information was “news to them” and that no Evanescence music had been planned for inclusion in the soundtrack. In 2010, Evanescence released “Together Again” as a digital download, a song created for The Open Door but later cut. The song was released due to benefit the United Nations Foundation for their Haiti earthquake recovery efforts. It later received wide release as a digital download on February 23, 2011.
• MUSICAL STYLE Critics vary in terming Evanescence a rock or metal band, but most identify them as some form of gothic band: Publications such as The New York Times, Rough Guides, Rolling Stone and Blender have identified Evanescence as a gothic metal act, while other sources such as NME, MusicMight, IGN and Popmatters have termed them gothic rock. They have been compared to a variety of bands from differing genres, such as nu metal ensembles like P.O.D. and Linkin Park, gothic metal groups like Lacuna Coil, and symphonic metal acts like Nightwish and Within Temptation. David Browne of Blender offers an elaborate description of the band’s music as “goth Christian nü-metal with a twist of melancholic Enya.” Adrien Begrand of Popmatters describes Evanescence as utilising “nu-metal riffage”. Adrian Jackson of My Dying Bride stated that he feels Evanescence is doing something similar to his own gothic metal group, only in a more commercial direction. Other genres and influences used to describe the band’s sound include alternative metal, alternative rock, hard rock, post-grunge and electronica. Evanescence was originally promoted in Christian stores. Later, the band made it clear they did not want to be considered part of the Christian rock genre. Terry Hemmings, CEO of Christian music distributor Provident, expressed puzzlement at the band’s about-face, saying “They clearly understood the album would be sold in these [Christian music] channels.” After many Christian stores began to remove the band’s music from their shelves, Wind-up Records chairman Alan Meltzer then issued a press release in April 2003 requesting formally that they do this. In 2006, Amy Lee told Billboard that she had opposed being identified as a “Christian band” from the beginning.
* Amy Lee – lead vocals, piano, keyboards (1995–present)
* Terry Balsamo – lead guitars (2003–present)
* Will Hunt – drums (2007–present)
* Tim McCord – bass (2006–present)
* Troy McLawhorn – rhythm guitars (2007–present)
* Ben Moody – lead guitars (1995–2003)
* David Hodges – keyboards, piano, drums, backing vocals (1999–2002)
* Rocky Gray – drums, percussion (2002–2007)
* John LeCompt – rhythm guitars, backing vocals (2002–2007)
* Will Boyd – bass (2003–2006)
SESSION AND LIVE MUSICIANS
* James Black – rhythm guitars (live, 2009)
* Francesco DiCosmo – bass (session, 2003)
* David Eggar – cello (session/live, 2006)
* Josh Freese – drums, percussion (session, 2003)
* Stephanie Pierce – background vocals (live, 1999)