For most bands, success breeds stability, but that hasn't been the case for Evanescence.
The gothic-tinged pop-metal band, which won two Grammys including best new artist, for its multiplatinum major label debut, "Fallen," has gone through personnel changes at every position but singer since that breakout.
Most notably, co-founder, guitarist and songwriter Ben Moody departed right after the debut because of mysterious "creative differences." Amy Lee and the band nonetheless managed to soldier on and return three years later to top the charts with "The Open Door." After the touring cycle, which marked yet more changes in the band, it was time for a longer break.
"We stopped touring at the end of 2007, and I wanted to be normal," Ms. Lee said in a teleconference last month. "I love what I do, but I felt in a way like I seriously needed to get to know just Amy again before going out and putting myself out there, and being on stage, and working all the time. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. There is a lot of work involved that fans don't see."
Part of the process of getting to know Amy was getting married in 2007. When the band started working on "Evanescence" in 2009, it switched producers during the process, going from the legendary Steve Lillywhite to Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Rush, Alice in Chains). Although the album, released in October, was planned for 2010, she was determined not to rush it.
"Obviously, we were working on the album and we do that in a big way. You know, an Evanescence record's a big production, and I've always taken all the time and money that I thought that it needed to be great, to be perfect, to be in my heart like the best thing we've ever done. It's sort of a high standard to set and sometimes it can be maddening for me and the people around me, I think. But hopefully in a positive way that's always pushing us to just be better and stronger and at least thinking outside the box."
On the first album, she wrote mostly with Mr. Moody, and then for the follow-up, with his replacement, Terry Balsamo. This self-titled third album, with its swelling orchestral sound, was more of a full band effort in the writing process.
"I've always taken a long time to write my music," she said. "We'll get ideas going and I'll think about it and come back to it in a week and work on the lyrics for a month sometimes. Some other days there's songs that come out in a day."
Evanescence is spending this last part of the summer on the Carnival of Madness Tour with platinum hard-rock trio Chevelle, Cavo, New Medicine and Halestorm, a southeastern Pennsylvania band fronted by Lzzy Hale, a far more aggressive punk/metal singer. There's a good chance of an Amy-Lzzy duet during the show.
"Nothing against the boys," the Evanescence singer said, "but it is definitely a nice, rare thing to be on tour with another female."
Ms. Hale, who was also on the line, joked, "We're going to make the women's restroom a new party hangout because now there'll be more than two people that go in there."
Halestorm, which debuted in 2009, is on tour with a second album, "The Strange Case Of ...," led by the rough-and-tumble single "Love Bites ... (So Do I)."
"I think the difference between the last record and this record was we ended up just taking our brains out of it," Ms. Hale said. "I love our first record, but I think that I was paying so much attention to, you know, 'Is it going to be a hit?' 'Is my A&R guy going to like it? Does the song have mass appeal?' And we really didn't have a whole lot of time to think when we recorded this new record and so in that aspect, it was very freeing to just kind of write songs that you wanted to write just because they made you feel good or you had to get something down on paper."music
Scott Mervis: firstname.lastname@example.org; 412-263-2576. Twitter: @scottmervis_pg.