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Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Music - JAMES WIGNEY EVANESCENCE, Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, March 24. Tick­ets: 132 849.

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.

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