A New Day

24 March 2012 | 10:14 am | Staff Writer

More Evanescence More Evanescence

As fickle as some music fans be, it seems inconceivable for anyone who can recall how inescapable Evanescence were on radio circa the release of multi-platinum 2003 debut Fallen to suggest that they'd be forgotten less than a decade later. Hits like Bring Me To Life and My Immortal from the aforementioned album made them major players and 2006 follow-up The Open Door cemented their status as one of rock's biggest names. However, after returning following frontwoman Amy Lee temporarily stepping away from the limelight, “the suits” told the American quintet that the fans had forgotten about them.

Undeterred, their latest self-titled disc debuted at number one in the US last October and they've embarked on a series of high-profile tours. It must be gratifying to return on the band's own terms and seemingly not lose any momentum. “It's awesome,” a cheerful Lee enthuses. “We couldn't have expected it. It's really all about the fans; we're so grateful to them. I definitely went underground in a big way at the end of 2007, because I'd just got married and wanted to just live a normal life for a little while. I'd just been doing the Evanescence thing my whole adult life,” she laughs.

“So that was good, but then it was one of those things, I got inspired and started writing music and went, 'Okay, I'm going to come back and let's do this, it's going to be awesome. It doesn't matter how many fans they are; it's for us, it's for me'. But then when you get the fans too on top of it, it's just like this amazing reward. It's been really rewarding playing these shows, seeing our fans, seeing that they're still alive and completely awesome after all of this time. We're just super grateful for them.”

Was she legitimately concerned about many fans possibly having forgotten about them? “I wasn't. I could be totally happy playing our music, just making whatever music in a much smaller capacity – I really could – but it's just this great thing that we have our fans. But I knew that we had our fans, because I've been watching them totally explode on the Internet as soon as we started talking about, 'Hey, we think we're going to come back and make an album'. There was just this total awesome outpouring of people that just came out of the woodwork. No, I wasn't worried about it; it's not that I didn't consider for a while that this could be a much smaller thing for us this time around. But it didn't worry me; I don't know if that's just like the Sunday school answer as they say, just like whatever anyone would want to say to make it sound positive,” she laughs. “I was really cool with it being smaller, which it may end up being. I mean, that's what happens over time, but so far it's been really cool.”

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It's suggested that such an attitude from some corners of the industry may have been more reflective of the business' current insecurities as it ponders its own future, rather than an honest appraisal of Evanescence and their obviously loyal fanbase. “Well, you've got to think of it, things really are different. You're not going to turn on MTV and see a bunch of rock bands. You're not going to see any, really,” Lee laughs. “It's a new day; we have to think about things in a new way. But I don't mind that actually, I think it's great. We still have millions of people looking at our videos online. It's definitely a different day for music, it's definitely not like people are making bank. Labels are all going under, everybody's going broke. I think it's a really cool thing for us that we're able to survive it all. I think it's important to just think outside the box and, most importantly, remember that it's about the fans. You have to think like a fan and do what a fan would want.”

In a recent interview with Street Press Australia, Seether's Shaun Morgan (also Lee's ex) recounted his annoyance at the manner in which guitarist Troy McLawhorn left in order to re-join Evanescence. However, Morgan added that he just hoped his former bandmate was content in his new/old role. Lee assures all is well within the ranks. “I don't know what to say other than we're in a good place. This is the first album that Evanescence has made that was this much of a collaboration between all the members. Every single person in it was part of some of the creation of the work. I think that's really cool and special.

“It's a different feeling to play a song on-stage when it's part of you; you're actually part of making it. Part of what was so cool about working with our producer Nick [Raskulinecz] was that he pulled everybody's personality into the foreground. I think that you can hear some real depth in this record, because everybody's personality is there. The way Will [Hunt] plays the drums – his style, his sound, the feeling of him – that's all over the record. Troy, Terry [Balsamo, guitar], Tim [McCord, bass], me; it's all of us. It's something you can feel a little more. I love our other two records, I'm totally proud of them and I'm not dissing them in any way, but they have a little less depth just in the sense that they were written by like two people for the most part. So you only get that deep of a feeling. I think you can hear that real band dynamic and we are very happy as a band. We get along and it's actually incredibly important that we all like each other,” Lee chuckles. “We like hanging out when we're not just working.”

The vocalist says the band's live machine clicked back into gear quickly and Australian fans would receive an “awesome” light show and a set revolving around the performance, rather than theatrics. “We were nervous before we played the first show back. The tour started in October and the first show out of the box was like 100,000 people – Rock In Rio, huge, televised everywhere,” she adds with another laugh. “It's like, 'Whoa, first real show back and it's really, really big'. I was a little nervous before that show for sure, but it got a lot easier after that. Once you step back out there, it just snaps back, you remember what to do; I remember how it feels now and how it's supposed to feel. I love my job, I love performing; it feels good. It has been a really long time [since they last toured Australia] and that break in a way was really good for me, because touring gets really exhausting in a lot of ways. I don't feel any of that right now; I feel really excited that the shows have been fun, exciting. It feels really good to be back out there.”