Evanescence

  • Hard rock band formed in 1995 from Little Rock Arkansas. The band has had numerous members – the constant has been founder Amy Lee (vocals, keyboards, songwriting). The other founding member was Ben Moody (guitars, programming, songwriting). David Hodges joined in 1999 (keyboards, programming, songwriting) and contributed to their early sound. During their peak popularity in the 00s, the band was comprised of Lee, Terry Balsamo (guitars, songwriting), John LeCompt (guitars), Will Boyd (bass guitar), and Rocky Gray (drums).
  • Lee and Moody met at a Christian youth camp in 1994, where Moody saw Lee perform a Meat Loaf song on the piano. They began to write and perform acoustic sets together at coffee shops around Little Rock, developing a sound that leaned heavy metal and gothic. When choosing a name for themselves, they considered Childish Intentions and Stricken, but settled on Evanescence. They recorded a self-titled EP in 1998, which they made 100 copies that were given away at concerts. A second EP was recorded in 1999, and late that year, Hodges joined the group. In 2000, the trio recorded a demo CD titled Origin, selling copies at their concerts.
  • A record producer heard the band in the recording studio, and he played their demos for a record label executive friend. When the executive heard the demo version of My Immortal, the band was signed to a contract. The label wanted them to develop their sound, so they moved to Los Angeles, and Lee took acting and vocal lessons and they group honed in on their nu-metal sound with driving vocals, symphonic rock and programmed accompaniment. After 2 years, they recorded their debut album, Fallen. Prior to its release, Hodges left the band.
  • Fallen was released in March 2003, initially targeted by the record label for the Contemporary Christian audience, which the band quickly disavowed. The album was a huge success – certified 7x platinum, and with sales exceeding 17 million copies worldwide. It contained 2 hit singles – Bring Me To Life reached #5 on the Hot 100 chart, #1 on the Alternative Songs chart and #1 in the UK and several other countries, and My Immortal peaked at #7 in the U.S. A third single, Going Under, reached #5 on the Alternative Songs chart and was a top 20 songs in 17 other countries. The band won 2 Grammy awards in 2004 – Best New Artist, and Best Hard Rock Performance for Bring Me To Life.
  • With the success of the album and the need to tour to support it, membership in the band expanded to include LeCompt, Boyd and Gray, who had supported the band in earlier work. In October 2003, during their European tour to support the album, Moody left the group, due to creative differences. Lee explained that Moody wanted to focus on music that would be more commercial and sell albums, while Lee was more interested in the art of songwriting. Moody was replaced by Balsamo.
  • Work on their second album was slowed by personnel changes (Boyd left, replaced by bass guitarist Tim McCord), Lee’s desire to be creative, Balsamo’s stroke, and chaos within their management. Finally, The Open Door was released in August 2006. The album topped the Billboard 200 album chart, and it sold over 5 million copies globally. The single Call Me When You’re Sober reached #10 on the Hot 100 chart. During a tour to support the album, LeCompt was fired and Gray quit, replaced by guitarist Troy McLawhorn and drummer Will Hunt.
  • Evanescence began recording their third album in February 2010, and again they faced numerous delays, including a change in producer. Finally released in October 2011, the self-titled Evanescence album debuted at #1 on the album chart, but overall sales were much less than their previous albums. The single What You Want reached #7 on the Mainstream Rock chart and Lost In Paradise peaked at #7 on the Rock Digital Songs chart.
  • After touring through late 2012, the band went on hiatus. They returned to the stage in 2015, with Balsalmo replaced by guitarist Jen Majura. In 2017, their fourth album was released – Synthesis. The album has a completely different sound compared to their previous released – it features 11 songs that are reworked versions from their previous albums, plus 2 new songs. The reworked songs incorporate orchestral arrangements and electronica elements. They supported the album with a tour, complete with an orchestra, and a live album was released in 2018. In November 2019, they released a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain, contributed to Xbox’s Gears of War 5 video game, again support with a full orchestral arrangement. It debuted at #1 on the Rock Digital Songs chart.
  • I love “big” music, and Evanescence certainly does make music that is very big! Here’s the video to Bring Me To Life – the guest vocalist is Paul McCoy of the Contemporary Christian band 12 Stones. The record label initially refused to release Evanescence’s debut album unless they brought a full time male co-vocalist into the band. The band would not allow it, and a compromise was made – the male vocal would only be on their first single. That would be Bring Me To Life. It works – this song is great!

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