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Evanescence (Music)

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Evanescence is an American rock band founded in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1995 (25 years ago) by singer/pianist Amy Lee (21 pics) and guitarist Ben Moody. After recording two private EPs and a demo CD named Origin, with the help of Bigwig Enterprises in 2000 (20 years ago), the band released their first full-length album, Fallen, on Wind-up Records in 2003 (17 years ago). 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 (14 years ago), 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 (17 years ago), bassist Will Boyd in mid-2006, followed by guitarist John LeCompt and drummer Rocky Gray in 2007 (13 years ago). 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 Jun. 2009 (11 years ago), Amy Lee (21 pics) posted on the official Evanescence website that the band had been working on new material for a proposed 2010 (10 years ago) album.


Formation and early years: 1995–2001
Evanescence was founded by singer, pianist and songwriter Amy Lee (21 pics) and former lead guitarist and songwriter Ben Moody. The two met in 1994 (26 years ago) 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 (wallpaper) in the listeners' mind."

Their first full-length demo CD, Origin (released in 2000 (20 years ago)), is relatively unknown. The band also released two EPs. The first is the self-titled Evanescence EP (1998, 22 years ago), 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, 21 years ago), 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 (17 years ago), the lineup was completed by Amy Lee (21 pics) 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 (17 years ago).

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 Oct. 22, 2003 (17 years ago), Moody left the band during the European tour for Fallen, reportedly because of creative differences. In an interview several months later, Amy Lee (21 pics) 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 (17 years ago). The song also became the official theme for WWE No Way Out 2003 (17 years ago). 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 (16 years ago), 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 (16 years ago), Evanescence's new lineup released a DVD/CD compilation entitled Anywhere but Home. The DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) 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 (4 pics)'s "Thoughtless".

The Open Door: 2006–2008
A spokesperson for the band's label confirmed on Jul. 14, 2006 (14 years ago) 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 (21 pics) originally broke the news to the fans in a post on an unofficial Evanescence site, In an interview with MTV, posted on their website on Aug. 10, 2006 (14 years ago), 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 (21 pics)'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 Mar. 2006 (14 years ago), 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 Aug. 7, 2006 (14 years ago). The 13-track album The Open Door was released in Canada and the United States on Oct. 3, 2006; the United Kingdom on Oct. 2, 2006; and Australia on sep. 30, 2006 (14 years ago). 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 (64 years ago). 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 Aug. 15, 2006; the music video for "Call Me When You're Sober" was also made available.

The tour for The Open Door began on Oct. 5, 2006 (14 years ago) in Toronto and included locations in Canada, the U.S. and Europe during that year. This first tour continued on Jan. 5, 2007 (13 years ago) 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 Apr. 15, 2007 (13 years ago) 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 (13 years ago) along with Korn (4 pics) and other bands. The group closed their European tour with a sell-out concert at the Amphi in Ra'anana, Israel, on Jun. 26, 2007 (13 years ago), and finished the album tour on dec. 9, 2007 (13 years ago).

On May 4, 2007 (13 years ago), 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 (13 years ago), 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 sep. 2007 (13 years ago), but both continued to play with the band through The Open Door tour.

Third studio album: 2009–present
In a news posting to the Evanescence website during Jun. 2009 (11 years ago), Amy Lee (21 pics) wrote that the band was in the process of writing new material for a new album proposed for release in 2010 (10 years ago). She stated that the music would be an evolution of previous works and be "better, stronger, and more interesting". The band also announced that they will be performing at the Maquinaria Festival in São Paulo, Brazil, on Nov. 8, 2009 (11 years ago). Prior to their festival performance, the band played a "secret show" at the Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom in New York City on Nov. 4, 2009 (11 years ago) with label mates, Civil Twilight (54 pics). Ticket sales for the show sold out in under half an hour when released to the public.

In other media

Lee claimed that she wrote a song for the 2005 (15 years ago) movie The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (3 pics), 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, refuted her claim, stating this information was "news to them" and that no Evanescence music had been planned for inclusion in the soundtrack.

Musical style and influences

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 (8 pics), gothic metal groups like Lacuna Coil, and symphonic metal acts like Nightwish (6 pics) 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. Gregor Mackintosh of Paradise Lost (4 pics) suggests that Paradise Lost (4 pics) has probably influenced Evanescence only indirectly through other similar acts. 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 Apr. 2003 (17 years ago) requesting formally that they do this. In 2006 (14 years ago), Amy Lee (21 pics) told Billboard that she had opposed being identified as a "Christian band" from the beginning.

Band members

Amy Lee (21 pics) – lead vocals, piano, keyboards (1995–present)
Terry Balsamo – lead guitars (2003–present)
Tim McCord – bass (2006–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 (11 years ago))
Francesco DiCosmo – bass (session, 2003 (17 years ago))
David Eggar – cello (session/live, 2006 (14 years ago))
Josh Freese – drums, percussion (session, 2003 (17 years ago))
Will Hunt – drums, percussion (live, 2007 (13 years ago))
Troy McLawhorn – rhythm guitars (live, 2007 (13 years ago))
Stephanie Pierce – background vocals (live, 1999 (21 years ago))


Studio albums
Origin (2000; demo album)
Fallen (2003, 17 years ago)
The Open Door (2006, 14 years ago)

Live albums
Anywhere but Home (2004, 16 years ago)



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