After a tumultuous first 15 years, the band's vocalist looks to leave the drama behind, and find a sense of balance in her music. And, she says, don't call it 'goth.'
ATLANTIC CITY — There ought to be a revolving door on the Evanescence tour bus. Members of the band come and go, but there is one constant in the 15-year old recording and touring act.
Vocalist and pianist Amy Lee, who spoke to Atlantic City Weekly last week in advance of her band's tour stop in Atlantic City the night before Halloween, remains in the group she co-founded in her native Little Rock, Ark.
The group has survived a number of key departures, such as the dismissal of co-founder Ben Moody in 2003, mid tour. Much of her time leading Evanescence has been tumultuous for Lee, but she has managed to keep it together and the group continues to flourish.
“I’ve been very fortunate,” says Lee. “The band has been successful despite change. The fans have stayed with it even though there hasn’t been one Evanescence album after another.”
Five years have passed between 2006’s The Open Door and the new eponymous Evanescence album, which dropped two weeks ago.
The latest offering is following a monster release. More than six million copies of The Open Door were sold.
“I can’t worry about the amount of albums that sell,” says Lee, while calling from Toronto. “The numbers for The Open Door are extraordinary, but I think we really [just] came up with some songs that connected with the audience.”
The Open Door's "Call Me When You’re Sober," inspired by Lee's relationship with ex-boyfriend Shaun Morgan (of Seether); "Lithium" and "Sweet Sacrifice" each charted. The dark, haunting piano and guitar-driven songs straddle the line between goth and pop-rock.
"Don’t say goth!” says Lee with a laugh. “I don’t want to be tossed in that bin. I can do without being pigeonholed. I just want to make music.”
Lee, 29, is back doing just that with her latest album and the band hasn’t strayed far from its familiar formula. The new songs are primarily earnest, angst-ridden and melancholy.
Evanescence, which will perform Sunday, Oct. 30, at the House of Blues (7pm; Rival Sons open), has
no problem alternating between delivering muscular and delicate material.
“I like to make it interesting for myself,” says Lee.
“I don’t like doing the same thing over and over again. Making this album was a great experience since I feel the band has never been so connected.
We just followed our gut with this album. I’m a big fan of having no maps when you start work on an album, but we really went at this from scratch and just did what felt right. I wanted to make this album as a band and we did that. We bounced off ideas and it led to one song after another.”
Expect Lee and her band, which includes guitarists Terry Balsamo and Troy McLawhorn, bassist Tim McCord and drummer Will Hunt, to showcase most of the self-titled album in Atlantic City.
But the band will also dig deep into its five-album canon.
Lee may go far back like she and the band did last year when they rendered a live version of "Understanding," a song written when she was in her mid-teens.
“There are songs we have recorded that I wrote when I was just 14,” says Lee. “I was so bitter and full of angst back then. It’s not so easy to go back there that much but we’ve done it. But I’m almost 30 now. I’m a different person. I’ll go back to the old stuff sometimes, but we have so many new songs. You can count on us playing songs from the [last] three albums. I’ll try to balance it all out. At this stage in my life and career, balance sounds like a good thing.”
Lee doesn’t believe that she has hit her prime yet.
“I think the best years are ahead,” says Lee. “I’m a better musician, vocalist and lyricist than I was five, 10 years ago. I know more about music. I know more about what I want, and I expect to know more as the years go by. The big drama that was around me when I was younger is gone. I don’t blame anyone else anymore. I’m finally mature.”
Lee says she would like to branch out and experiment with other artists.
“It would be so cool to do something with a group like Daft Punk,” says Lee.
“I’m open to new experiences, but I want the focal point to be Evanescence. We totally trust each other and feed off of one another. I don’t want to stop working with each other any time soon.”
Does that may mean that the group will release its next album in less than five years?
“I hope so,” says Lee. “I don’t see why not. The only thing is we might be out touring for awhile and if we are, that means the album is doing well, but I would rather get back to the studio sooner than later. I enjoyed making this album so much. We’ll get back to recording soon as we can, but in the meantime, we’re having fun on the road. We’re playing some places we haven’t seen in awhile.
"I have no complaints. The band is right where it needs to be.”
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