Back in BLACK
WHEN singer Amy Lee finished the most recent world tour with her band Evanescence ( pictured) four years ago, she wasn’t sure she ever wanted to make another album again.
In fact, having watched the band she started as a teenager become a recording and touring juggernaut ( 2002 debut album Fallen sold more than 17 million copies), she wasn’t even sure she wanted to be the ‘‘ long, black- haired chick from Evanescence’’ any more.
After two hit albums – the second, The Open Door was released in 2006 – hundreds of shows around the world, key members leaving or becoming ill and multiple line- up changes, Lee wasn’t sure she still had the passion to continue as the band’s driving force.
She had recently married and all she wanted to do was step away from music entirely and ‘‘ just be Amy for a while’’.
‘‘ I wanted to be home and be normal,’’ Lee says of the break. ‘‘ I really had never taken a break where I wasn’t even trying to write the next album in my adult life.
‘‘ So I stepped away from it in a big way. I live in New York with my husband, so we worked on our house, played music with friends, went to concerts and restaurants, just lived a little bit. It was really good for my brain.’’ She also used the time away to fall in love with music again.
What once was a passion and an escape had been in danger of becoming a job, with all the stresses and pressures that come with being in a successful band.
Lee describes herself as having a ‘‘ rebellious heart’’ and if she was expected to make another album immediately, then that was the last thing she was going to do.
But sparked by the harp lessons her husband bought her one Christmas – she was hooked and practised for an hour a day for a year – she slowly fell back into writing in her home studio.
At first she wasn’t sure what it would amount to – a solo album, an Evanescence album or perhaps nothing at all.
‘‘ Everyone kept asking me and I never wanted to come up with an answer until I knew for sure what the music was like,’’ she says.
‘‘ I wanted to write without any rules and without putting a name on it first.
‘‘ I wanted to do whatever felt right and then say ‘ OK what is this?’ ’’
Slowly she began to realise that Amy and the ‘‘ black- haired chick’’ were one and the same, at which point she called in her band mates to begin the long journey that would become the band’s self- titled third album, which was announced in mid- 2009 and released last October to solid reviews.
‘‘ That made for a really long writing process because there was a lot of wandering,’’ she says.
‘‘ But at the end of the day it was really cool because I found myself within Evanescence again.
‘‘ It was like ‘ oh, I don’t have to do a solo project right now, I still have all this fuel in me’. The songs were passionate because I was passionate. Think the one thing that was very Evanescence and the thing that makes us sound the way we do is that deep passion. It’s all about big feelings.
‘‘ If our music was a food, it would have tons of seasoning.’’
Any fears their audience may have deserted them in the long absence appear unfounded. While a far cry from the monster that was Fallen, Evanescence still topped the US charts and went top five here. The band has already hit the road and Lee is looking forward to coming back to Australia for the first time in five years in March.
‘‘ The shows have been great,’’ Lee says of their most recent dates in the US, Europe and South America.
‘‘ We have been playing a lot of the new songs and as far as I can see from the stage, the fans really like the new record.
‘‘ We love Australia – we’d love to go to Australia just to hang out.