The Band Evanescence


ev·a·nes·cence

  1. to disappear gradually; vanish; fade away.

The Former Members


Written by Rochelle Renée January 2020. All rights reserved.

the “origin” of evanescence

Evanescence is an American rock band that was founded in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1995 by singer, songwriter and pianist Amy Lee and guitar player Ben Moody. It all started at a youth camp in June 1994. Ben was in the camp gym, playing basketball when he heard Amy playing “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” by Meatloaf on the piano. He was so amazed and jealous by “one of the most powerful and beautiful voices I had ever heard,” he introduced himself and was then impressed with her songwriting abilities. Within a week, Ben proposed the idea of creating a music group together. Before agreeing on the band name “Evanescence,” the band was named “Childish Intentions” and “Stricken.”

“I think it’s just beautiful. Honestly, the name [Evanescence] is just sort of strange and beautiful and I think that does describe our music.”

Amy Lee

The first songs to be recorded under the official band name of Evanescence were “Solitude,” “Understanding,” “Give Unto Me” and “My Immortal” thus, Evanescence beginning their well known unique sound, which was influenced by Living Sacrifice and Portishead.

The material ended up in the hands of Brad Caviness and Shelly LeCompt, who loved it so much, they started playing the songs “Understanding” and “Give Unto Me” on Blitzkrieg, a Christian rock show they were co-producing on KABF radio in Little Rock thus, giving the band their first exposure to the world. Evanescence then started to begin a reputation.

In 1997 with the help of friends Will Boyd, Stephanie Pierce, Rocky Gray and Matt Outlaw, they recorded their first EP known as “Evanescence EP” with Bigwig Enterprises and launched it for local sale a year later in December 1998 during the band’s very first concert at Vino’s pub. All 100 copies of the EP were sold that night.

Afterwards, they began to get their name out there by performing in bars and karaokes and released their second EP called “Sound Asleep” or also known as “Whisper” which was distributed by Bigwig. The band sold 50 copies of the EP in 24 hours. The band then continued to do some more shows with the help of John Lecompt as a guitarist, Will Boyd as a bassist and Rocky Gray as the drummer.

In 1999 at the initiative of Ben, David Hodges joined the group as a keyboardist and backup vocalist. They then collaborated and released their first studio album “Origin” which was also distributed by Bigwig in November 4, 2000 and sold all 2,500 copies at the Origin launch party which took place at the Little Rock River Market parking lot. For two years, the band recorded a new series of tracks and new versions of songs to continue to publicize their work.

2003, the magic number

2003 proved to be a magical year for the band. Very early in the year in January, Evanescence launched another EP known as “Mystary” which was sold at Little Rock’s Juanita’s at a merch table. Unbeknownst to the listeners and fans, Mystary proved to be a preview for the first breakthrough album “Fallen” and contained three of the album’s songs.

In February 2001 after listening to Origin and other demos, Wind-Up Records producer Pete Matthews took an interest and played the demos to co-owner and now friend of Amy’s, Diana Meltzer. After listening to “My Immortal,” she “knew it was a hit” and decided to sign the band. After relocating to Los Angeles, being provided an apartment and with Amy given acting and vocal classes, Evanescence began recording Fallen, the debut album in summer of 2002. Unfortunately, record label executives initially refused to release the album unless the band would agree to add a full-time male co-vocalist. When the band would not agree to this demand, the label relented and insisted only on having a male vocalist in the album’s lead single, “Bring Me to Life”. Amy was still not happy about this but agreed to it.

In November of the same year, David left the band because the band began to stray away from his original proposition which was to make religious music. After David’s departure, the band welcomed Rocky Gray, John Lecompt and Will Boyd to not just help the band but to join the band’s formation this time.

Before Fallen’s official release, the big hit “Bring Me To Life” that would announce Evanescence to the world, hit the action movie Daredevil in February 2003. The music video was filmed in Romania and features 12 Stone’s Paul Mccoy. Thanks to Daredevil and the band’s talent, Bring Me To Life gave the band and Fallen a great success. Amy has since announced that the song is about her now husband, Josh Hartzler who, like the lyrics say, “saw into her eyes like open doors” when she was going through a dark time.


Fun fact: Since Linkin Park was recording in the same studio, Mike Shinoda was even considered for Paul Mccoy’s rapping part in Bring Me To Life.


Fallen was finally released on March 4, 2003 and just within the year and 2004, sold fourteen million copies world wide and won seven platinum records in the United States, alone. It spent 43 weeks on the Billboard Top 10, 104 weeks on the Billboard 200 AND becoming one of eight albums that remained for more than a year, in the top 50 Billboard. With all of that amazing success, Fallen also helped the band win two Grammy Awards for best new artist and best hard rock performance, among two other nominations. While Evanescence was promoting Fallen, the Nintendo video game company offered the band the head of the Nintendo Fusion Tour. The offer was accepted and Evanescence became the main feature of the tour.

“They are not alone and we have been through this too. We are very sincere with what we do. There is so much cliche, teen anguish these days in music. It’s not like us. We are not trying to sell an angle. We are only here writing with our hearts.” 

Ben Moody

Despite its commercial success, the band was going through a serious crisis due to creative differences and constant quarrels. On October 22, 2003 after talking with the Wind-Up administrator for hours, Ben Moody, co-founder of the band, decided to suddenly leave Evanescence during the European tour before a concert in Berlin. John Lecompt then had to learn in 3 days Ben’s guitar solos to continue the tour.

Evanescence continued as a quartet until January 2004, when Terry Balsamo, the former guitarist of Limp Bizkit and Cold, was invited to join the group as a replacement for Moody.

a moment of strength

In November 23, 2004 after all of the chaos and band changes, Evanescence released a live DVD/CD compilation titled “Anywhere But Home.” It contains a live concert in Le Zenith, Paris and behind the scenes footage which features a look backstage at the daily life of a rockstar. The CD also features the unpublished song “Missing,” which became a radio single and the band’s cover of Korn’s “Thoughtless.” Fans of Seether also enjoyed the DVD/CD because it features highlights of this rock band and lead singer, Shaun Morgan and Amy’s relationship.

While on hiatus in 2005, Amy became involved with a campaign known as Out Of The Shadows, to raise epilepsy awareness and to show her respect to her brother Robbie Lee, who also had epilepsy. Sadly, Robbie lost his battle to the horrific disease on January 5, 2018.

Towards the end of the year in November, Terry suffered a stroke. Thankfully, he was able to focus on recovery since all of his guitar work for the new album was already recorded. Terry proceeded to make a speedy and miraculous recovery.

2006 was another year of strength. Early in the year, Seether’s Shaun Morgan and Amy split. Amy also continued to have legal conflicts with the band’s previous manager, Dennis Rider who Amy was suing for negligence and sexual harassment. On July 14, 2006, Amy informed everyone via EvBoard of the sad news that bassist, William Boyd was no longer in the band, “A few weeks ago, Will decided to leave the band. He said he just can’t go on another big tour right now and wants to be a little closer to his family.” A few months later during an interview with MTV, Amy announced that Tim McCord, former Revolution Smile guitarist, would join the band and switch instruments to become the new bassist.

Everyone was curious how this long awaited arrival of this album was going to fathom out. Would it be exactly like Fallen or be something completely different? The band did have a new composing partner: Terry.

“Everything we went through only benefited in the composition of the songs on the album. With Fallen, the band had a lot to prove to create identity, now that I’ve found a great songwriting partner, we took our time to write and had the freedom of speech. Not just pain or sadness, but anger and yes, happiness.”

 

Even though the album had a slow progression and with the release date pushed back, the band’s second studio album “The Open Door” was finally released September 25, 2006. Within the first few weeks of sales, The Open Door sold 447,00 in the United States and then 5 million copies worldwide. With hits like “Call Me When You’re Sober” and “Sweet Sacrifice,” the album earned it’s #1 ranking on the Billboard 200 album chart. Evanescence began The Open Door tour October 5, 2006 which 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, Australia, and then the return to the United States for a second tour in the spring with bands Chevelle and Finger Eleven. They also co-headlined on the Family Values Tour with Korn. Evanescence then finished The Open Door tour in December 2007.

In between all of the touring, Amy became engaged to Josh Hartzler on January 8, 2007 and publicly announced it a day later during a live broadcast on the Canadian show, Much Music.

Before closing their European tour with a sold-out concert in Israel, fans were hit with devastating news that John LeCompt was no longer in the band. On May 4, 2007, John announced that he had been fired from Evanescence and also confirmed that drummer Rocky Gray had decided to resign in solidarity with LeCompt. On May 6, a statement by Amy Lee was published on the official website of the band, confirming that the tour would not be canceled and that “the band was still alive.” After this separation, on May 17, Wind-up Records held a press release confirming that two members of the Dark New Day band, drummer Will Hunt and guitarist Troy McLawhorn, would join the band to replace Gray and LeCompt respectively. It was initially stated that Will and Troy would tour with Evanescence until the end of the Family Values Tour in September 2007 but both continued to play with the band throughout and now even to this present day.

On October 7, Will Hunt announced in an interview by Radio Metal that he explained the change in direction that Amy and the others had decided for Evanescence’s music and how happy and anxious he was to all of his new fans.

Among all of the sorrow still lies happiness. Amy married Josh on May 6, 2007 at Amy’s family home in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The years 2008 and 2009 were the times of side projects of each band member. Tim played recurring shows in Sacramento, California with his former local band The Snobs; Terry had played with Cold again and on some projects with Wes Borland; Amy attended the 15-year commemorative release of the movie Nightmare Before Christmas and began playing the harp. All this raised doubts about the return of the band. In 2009 however, Amy and Terry presented a new composition called Your Love.

In June 2009 on the Evanescence website, Amy posted that the band was in the process of writing material for a new album. She stated that the music would be an evolution of previous works and will be “better, stronger and more interesting.” A few months later on November 4, the band played a secret show in New York City and this performance acted as a warm-up for their appearance in Brazil which took place four days later.

a new beginning

After the surprises, Evanescence entered the studio in February 2010 to begin recording. Will Hunt returned as the drummer while a second drummer and programmer, Will “Science” Hunt appeared to assist in writing and proceeded to do work years later on their next project, Synthesis along with David Campbell to handle string arrangements.

At the time the band began recording, the album was intended for an August or September 2010 release however, in June Amy announced on EvThreads that Evanescence had temporarily left the studio to work further on the album and “get our heads into the right creative space.” Amy also indicated that record label Wind-up Records was going through “uncertain times” which would further delay the release of the album. The album was later reported to be released in late 2011. Over the course of the month, Seether’s Shaun Morgan proclaimed that Troy Mclawhorn reported to have joined Evanescence again but as a primary guitarist after leaving Seether but Evanescence’s management stated that this was false.

February 26, 2011, Amy Lee wrote a post on the EvThreads forum that the band had officially started recording their third album. In addition, on the first day of March, Will Hunt said that they already had thirty songs already written and that they were very excited to re-record.

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”. During an interview with Kerrang!, Amy revealed that the new album’s title will be Evanescence and that the decision for the title of the album was her love towards Evanescence as well as the record being written more collaboratively than the other albums in the past.


Fun fact: 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 like other Wind-Up Records group, Creed. In 2006, Amy Lee told Billboard that she had opposed the “Christian band” identification from the beginning, calling it a “Ben thing.” In 2011, Lee told the San Antonio Current “I am a Christian, and I’m proud of being a Christian, but [Evanescence] has never been a Christian band.”


The band’s third studio and self-titled album, “Evanescence” was released on October 11, 2011 where it debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, where U.S. sales reached 127,000 copies in the first week. It also peaked at the top five in ten other countries. The first single, “What You Want” was released in August, attaining moderate chart success and “The Other Side” followed as a promotional single the following month. By August 2012, the album sold over 421,000 copies in the United States alone.

The self-titled album’s tour began on August 17, 2011, with a show in Nashville. The band then performed in Winnipeg on August 20, 2011 and at Rock In Rio on October 2 alongside popular bands such as Guns N’ Roses and System Of A Down. After a series of shows in North America, Evanescence 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 announced amazing and rewarding news that they will be performing at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert on December 11, 2011, where they played “Lost in Paradise” and “Bring Me to Life” before again touring in North America. In February 2012, they toured Japan and in the same month performed in other southeast Asian countries. March 2012 saw the band tour Australia and New Zealand and between April and July 2012, Evanescence toured in Europe and North America, with additional stops in Africa and the Middle East.

Evanescence paused their tour to take part in the Carnival Of Madness Tour alongside Halestorm, Cavo, New Medicine and Chevelle, with this tour beginning on July 31, 2012.and ending September 2, 2012. The tour resumed in October 2012 with stops in South America, Costa Rica and Panama. The tour wrapped with a series of shows in England, ending on November 9, 2012, in London. Amy stated the band plans to take an extended break after the tour, saying, “At the end of any really long tour, you need to get your head in order. I think at the end of the run we’ll go on a break for a while and figure things out.

On January 3, 2014, it was announced that Amy Lee had filed a lawsuit against former record label Wind-up Records, seeking $1.5 million in unpaid royalties owed to the band. In March 2014, via her Twitter account, Amy announced that she and Evanescence had been released from their record label and now were independent artists. Along with that news, Amy also announced a few weeks later that her and husband, Josh were expecting their first child.

Months later, the couple welcomed a baby boy. Jack Lion Hartzler was born July 24, 2014.

A year later, it was announced in April that the band would perform at Japan’s Ozzfest on November 21, 2015 as the second headline act, making it the band’s first live performance since their hiatus. Prior to Ozzfest, Evanescence would play three shows in the United States.

On August 7, 2015, the band announced the departure of long time guitarist Terry Balsamo, as well as the arrival of Jen Majura, bassist of the German folk metal band Equilibrium. In an October 2015 interview, Amy stated that the band would continue to tour in 2016, but that when it came to recording new music, she was focusing on recording a solo album rather than a new Evanescence album. She later released said solo album titling it “Recover” which featured numerous covers like “Going To California” by Led Zeppelin and “With Or Without You” by U2.

In the late year of 2016, the band toured select cities in the United States choosing alternative rock band Veridia as their opener. Veridia would then proceed to open for Evanescence years later in the band’s 2019 tour. On September 13, 2016, the band announced a vinyl box set titled “The Ultimate Collection” which includes all of their albums, even including Origin, and a new version of “Even in Death,” which was a song that was featured on Origin. The set was released on December 9, 2016. During an interview with Loudwire, Amy stated “there is Evanescence in the future” and that there had been work on another pre-Fallen song which would be released later. On February 18, 2017, a compilation album titled “Lost Whispers” was made available for streaming and downloading on Spotify and iTunes. It contained the rerecorded 2016 version of “Even in Death”, previously released B-sides, the four deluxe edition bonus tracks to the album, Evanescence and the new song “Lost Whispers”.

In an interview with AOL Build on March 20, 2017, Amy spoke about her solo single “Speak To Me,” which was a score for the movie Voice From The Stone, which featured Game of Thrones star, Emilia Clarke. She also spoke of “a new album” in the works by the band saying “we’re working on something…it’s not just a straightforward ‘next Evanescence album’.” A few days later in an interview with Metal Hammer, she stated that “it’s something unique, something complex, something a little bit beyond that and it’s definitely new territory for all of us.” The new project was intended for release later in the year.

On Facebook, Amy finally revealed the new project – an album titled Synthesis. According to Amy, the album is an orchestral piece that contains instruments such as brass and other orchestral elements. She also revealed that David Campbell and Will “Science” Hunt would be returning to compose for the new project. Amy said the album is about “orchestra and electronica” and that the band is taking selected songs from their previous albums and stripping out the rock guitars and drums, rebuilding them into a classical arrangement reminiscent of a soundtrack and the album contained two new original songs.

A new era of evanescence

The first recording session for Synthesis took place on May 23, 2017, and a remake of “Bring Me To Life” was released as a single. On August 15, the band announced that Synthesis was in its final stages and a few months later on November 10, 2017 Synthesis was released. It debuted at #8 on the Billboard 200 with 34,000 copies. It also peaked at #5 in Germany and #6 in Australia. As of July 2018, Synthesis had sold 64, 668 copies, just in the United States.

Evanescence toured with a full orchestra in late 2017 in support of the album, and tickets were sold starting on August 18. The band later toured across the US, Australia and Europe. On September 14, 2017 the single “Imperfection” was officially released.

In March 2018, Evanescence announced that Lindsey Stirling would be joining the second North American leg as part of Evanescence’s Synthesis Tour which further grew the excitement throughout the fanbase since Stirling was featured on Synthesis’ second original song, “Hi-Lo.” While their focus would remain on touring, Amy stated during a July 2018 interview on WRIF that the band would begin working on their next studio album.

On February 4, 2019, the band released dates and locations for a spring and summer 2019 United States concert tour. On September 17, 2019 Evanescence and symphonic metal band Within Temptation announced a seven-city joint European tour called “Worlds Collide” which is scheduled for April 2020.

On May 11, 2019 Amy was quoted by Blabbermouth on plans for Evanescence to release a new studio album in 2020. In a November 21, 2019, Reddit AMA Amy said of the album, “It’s dark and heavy. Its also got moments of weird and sparse. Little bit of everything. Definitely some Open Door vibes but not the same.”

On September 5, 2019 Xbox released a launch trailer for the video game Gears 5 which includes the Evanescence cover of Fleetwood Mac’s song “The Chain.” A full version of the song was later released on November 22, 2019 and features backing vocals by the other members of the band. A music video for the song was released on January 9, 2020.

to be continued…