Founded in Little Rock, Arkansas, by Amy Lee and former band member and co-founder Ben Moody at a youth camp in 1994, the band entered its early stages of musical endeavors. The first songs written by Moody and Lee were “Solitude”, “Give Unto Me”, “Understanding”, and “My Immortal”. At first only two of the songs were played on the radio but this helped the band gain recognition in the area. Soon after the band performed live for the first time and gained huge popularity in the area.
The first demo CD, Origin, was released in 2000.Two EPs were released by the band, titled Evanescence EP (only 100 copies were released) and Sound Asleep EP (only 50 copies were reeased). The demos of songs on the band’s first album, Fallen, were seen on the two EPs. As a result of only 2500 copies of Origin being released, Lee and Moody told fans to download their older songs from the internet. Cool, right? The CD is virtually unknown.
Fallen, the bands next album, was completed with the lineup of John LeCompt, Rocky Gray, and Will Boyd. All three were friends of Lee and Moody and worked on the earlier songs put out by the band as well. The band signed on Wind-up Records, their first major label. They began to work on their next album and accepted an offer from Nintendo to perform in the Nintendo Fusion Tour.
The album Fallen was in the Billboard Top 10 for 43 weeks, then listed in the Billboard Top 200 for 104 weeks, selling 15 million copies worldwide. It becaome one of the eight albums in history to spend at least a year on the Billboard Top 50! The album was also certified 6 times Platinum in the US, selling 6.6 million copies in the US alone. The band was, needless to say, ecstatic.
The singles from the album include the major single, ‘Bring Me to Life’ (featuring guest vocals from Paul McCoy from 12 Stones) , which hit #5 on the American Billboard Hot 100 and ‘My Immortal’, which was #7 in US and UK charts and brought on the band’s Grammys for Best Hard Rock Performance and Best New Artist. Both songs were on the Daredevil movie soundtrack. ‘Going Under’, which got #5 in the US Modern Rock Tracks and #8 in the UK charts and ‘Everybody’s Fool’, which was #36 in the US Modern Rock Tracks and #23 on the UK charts were two other singles from the album. All of the singles had music videos to go with.
2004 brought a DVD/CD set called Anywhere But Home for Evanescence and their fans. The DVD has live footage from a concert in Paris and the classic behind-the-scenes look at backstage autographing and warm up sessions. The CD has the internationally released single ‘Missing’, which hit #1 in Spain. The live songs ‘Breathe No More’, ‘Farther Away’, and a cover of Korn’s song ‘Thoughtless’ were also on the CD.
The Open Door, released in 2006, is the second studio album by Evanescence. Amy Lee and John LeCompt toured cities in Europe to promote the album. Fans who won competitions at the previews were treated to hearing the new album while Lee and LeCompt performed, answered questions, and signed autographs. Evanescence appeared on the Late Night with Conan O’Brien show and performed the single ‘Call Me When You’re Sober’. While in New York, the band did a photo shoot for the magazine Metal Edge.
Featuring 13 tracks, the album was released to Australia on September 30, 2006, the UK on October 2, 2006, and on October 3, 2006 to Canada and the US. The album was, of course, a bit hit and sold 447,000 copies in the US within its first week of sales and got the band their first #1 rank on the Billboard 200. This made it the 700th #1 album since the frequent feature of the chart in 1956.
The album took the band a lot of time to produce because of Lee’s want to expand the creative process and not wanting to rush the production. In addition, the other band members had side projects that took up time, the guitarist Terry Balsamo suffering a stroke and the loss of the manager. Lee wrote on the band’s fan forum that the new album would be done in March of 2006 but the release was changed to October because of Wind-Up records wanting to make changes to the single ‘Call Me When You’re Sober’. Interestingly, the video for the single was based on the story Little Red Riding Hood.
Evanescence began the tour for The Open Door in October of 2006 with stops in Canada, the US, Europe, Japan and Australia. The band returned to the US for a second tour with performances in the Argentinan fest Quilmes Rock in 2007 with Aerosmith, Velvet Revolver and other bands. The band also co-headlined in the Family Values Tour 2007 with bands including Korn. Evanescence closed the Europe tour in Ra’anana, Israel with a sell-out on June 26, 2007. The album tour was finished in December of 2007.
During the bands existence, it suffered lineup changes left and right. Moody, the co-founder and original lead guitarist, left during the Europe tour of Fallen in 2003 because of “creative differences”. Lee has stated that it was a bit of a relief that he quit because there was tension within the band. Terry Balsamo replaced him.
In July of 2006, the band’s bass guitarist Will Boyd left to be closer to his family and because of a desire not to do another big tour. Lee said that Tim McCord would switch instruments and play bass in Boyd’s place. She also told fans about Boyd’s departure on an unofficial fansite on August 10th of 2006.
As if things weren’t already torn up, John LeCompt was apparently “fired” from Evanescence over the phone by Amy Lee. According to his Myspace blog, LeCompt had no warning to this and was given no negotiations. In addition the band’s drummer, Rocky Gray, decided to quit but the reasons are unknown due to a gag order initiated by Win-up Records. Thankfully Lee stated that the band was alive and the upcoming events for tours had not been canceled or changed.
Two members from a band called Dark new Day joined Evanescence for a while, not leaving their band but touring with Evanescence until the end of the Family Values Tour in 2007 and continuing through The Open Door tour. These members are drummer Will Hunt and guitarist Troy McLawhorn. Currently the band is on a break and no information of any new albums or tours has been released.
Evanescence, despite the lineup changes and difficulties ensuing, has held their own. Amy Lee is currently the only original member left of the band and we all hope she continues to produce with the band, no matter how many lineup changes have to be made. Evanescence is definitely a first class band!