… it would be the music of this woman I would fall in love with!
Yesterday, while looking for a picture of someone with a big smile (and I remembered that there was a really funny one from her – but I could not find it) I found this beautiful picture.
This led me to present this band to you. So let’s start:
The woman on the picture is named Amy Lee (now Hartzler), lead singer and founder of the famous band Evanescence. The band was officially founded in 1998, though she and her former friend, whom she met at the age of 13, where making music together ever since they met each other.
Actually the way she learned to play music is a quite sad one. At the age of 6 years, her
older sister, who was her best friend, died. So to ease her pain and to give her some distraction, the parents, decided to send her to piano lessons.
In her first years she was the typical outcast, and suffered from being made fun of in school, etc. But then she met her friend, at a summer camp.
Together with him, Ben Moody, she wrote a lot of songs, both with equal share of work (and both doing everything, from songwriting, to the music). Many songs, amongst them some of their most famous, like “My Immortal”, “Solitude”, “Understanding”, etc. where from that time. Most of the songs where only sung by Amy Lee, although there are some of the older ones, where also Moody takes a singing part in them (as background voice for the chords), e.g. “Anywhere”.
In 1998, at the ages of 17 (Amy) and 18 (Moody) they decided on a band name, Evanescence and produced their first two LPs, “Evanescence” (100 Copies) and “Sound Asleep” (50 Copies), which they send to friends and different record labels. As unknown band they gave some concerts in small bars, and finally managed to produce another “Album”, Origin. That was in 2000 (the first Album I knew of – I found this band on the Internet in 2002). From this Album 2,500 copies where produced. It consisted of some of the later famously known songs, such as “Whisper”, “Imaginary” or “My Immortal”.
Those 2,500 people that where lucky enough to get a copy, soon realised how valuable the CD they possesed was, and that this band had great potential. It was shared in the Internet, and even before Evanescence finally was spotted by music producers, they had their small fan community. Beside the “Origin” Album and the two LPs, there where a lot of demo songs, that appeared on the Internet. Some of them where the later widely known songs in their first versions, a lot of other stuff was never ever published.
Evanescence was spotted in 2003, while the band got two new band members, with which they wanted to re-master their old songs. Only then where they contracted by a music label, “Wind-Up Records”, to which they still belong to. Together with them, the first official Album, “Fallen” was released, and their two singles “Bring me to life” and “My Immortal” where also published in the Daredevil soundtrack. This lead Evanescence to fame, and number one chart positions. They gave a lot of live concerts, as they used to, when they weren’t that famous, only with a enormous audience (it is funny, in some of the first concerts you can see Amy Lee giving her band members astonished looks, due to the cheering of the crowd – as searching through the Internet for an example I just found this one – have a look at position 1:30).
It was also in that time, that the original old stuff from Evanescence was sold over ebay, gaining prices above 250$. To fulfill the wishes of their fans for the old stuff (which btw. real fans like much better then the stuff published under “Wind-Up Records 😉 ), Amy and Ben officially asked their fans in an interview, not to buy the stuff and spend that much money for it, but to share it over the Internet (oh that gains sympathy with me 🙂 ).
Anyway it took quite a while until a website heard that call, and now offers all the old stuff on a website for download (See here – but according to many track lists and copies that I have, some of the songs are placed wrongly – but anyhow, who bothers?).
Beside these copies there are also a lot of compilations in the internet which where never officially released by Evanescence, and compiled by fans. Two of the famous are “Not for Your Ears” and “Ultra Rare Trax. Vol 1”. They where sold through eBay and were also found in a lot of file sharing communities. Both of them have a number of non released tracks, like “Lies”, “Solitude”, “Exodus”, “So Close”, “Forgive Me”, “Missing”, “Surrender”, and many more.
Due to fights about the future path of Evanescence, during tours in 2003, Amy and Ben broke up, and Ben left the band. After that Amy had a two years relationship with Shaun Morgan, lead singer of Seether, with whom she recorded the song “Broken”.
In 2004 also the first Live CD/DVD-Bundle was released.
During this time the Band went through a lot of changes, so eventually in the latest line-up, there is only Amy Lee left as original Band member.
After the relationship with Shaun, she met her childhoods secret love Josh Hartzler, who is a 28 year old therapist. Actually he inspired Amy for the song “Bring me to life” by asking her the question “Are you happy?” On the 6th May 2007 (American date: 05/06/07), they got married.
She said, that her life now totally changed. This also led her to give up everything that remembered of her childhood (e.g. she sold her House, and left the place, Little Rock (Arkansas), a small town, to the metro pole New York, where she lives with Josh in an apartment, etc.).
Her latest Album, “The Open Door”, was published in 2006, and in those songs you can feel, that a change is taking place. Most of the songs are either inspired by the horrible relationship to Shaun (like “Call me when you are sober”), or by Josh (e.g. “Good Enough” – which is by the way the first happy song she ever made).
Beside she was invited by Korn for their unplugged album to perform the song “Freak on a leash”. As Amy Lee is a great Korn fan, this was a special honor for her. The result was a really great duet which was played on mtv.
The music is a somehow unconventional mixture between Metal, Rock and Nu Metal (Bands which inspired Amy Lee are Korn, or Linkin Park). Beside fast songs, there are also some songs (especially the old ones) which are slow and melancholic. Next to typical Metal instrumentation there are also songs with only acoustic guitar, or piano, and some songs are more orchestral.
That is why people in the beginning seemed to think, that you could categorise Evanescence as Christian-rock, which Amy and Moody where strictly against. Evanescence was also quite often categorised as Gothic, but Amy Lee is also against that category. As she once said in an interview, as soon as you are put into a category, people expect you to create certain music. And that is what Amy Lee does not like. She does not like to be pushed into categories, and she does not like to be judged with prejudice. She said, that all she wants to do, is to rock, and so should her music be understood.
Beside that statement, the biggest part of Amy Lees fans comes from the Gothic culture, as not only her music style is typical for Gothic music, but also her song lyrics. Most of them deal with sadness, death, loneliness, living a lie, suicide and other issues typical for Gothic lyrics. And beside even her clothing style is typical Gothic, which leads Evanescence to be often compared to similar bands like “Within Temptation” (just one example of many, that you can find on the internet).
What makes Evanescence outstanding, is the perfect mixture of nice melodies, together with really touching lyrics, and an outstanding voice, with so much energy, power and passion in it. Most of the time, Amy Lee brings feelings across her songs. And you really get the impression, that while singing, she really feels those feelings.
So especially her live songs are great, but sadly her first ones weren’t that good, as she puts much energy into the performance on stage. So during her first concerts most of the time, her voice suffered under the dancing. But meanwhile she has that perfectly under control.
To conclude: I am a huge fan of Amy Lees/Evanescences music. They meant a great lot to me, and guided me to difficult times. I could connect with a lot of them, and really had the impression, that she feels like I do, and vice versa, which made her music kind of special for me. Today things have changed a bit, I have changed, and also her new songs have changed – I cannot find that passion anymore, and the connection. But still she has a great voice and her old songs will stay evergreens for me. It is now more than 6 years that I know this band, and I still love them, I still listen to old songs every now and then (not exclusively anymore like I used to 😉 but still), so all in all I am really happy that this band came into my life!
If I now got you interested, here is a set of songs from YouTube – I tried to get those more unknown once. So those are songs you may not have heard, when you know this band only from Radio/TV/the “Fallen” Album. Enjoy! 😉
Breathe No More (Not for your ears)
Evanescence – Missing (Not for your ears)
Evanescence – Before the Dawn (Not for your ears)
Evanescence – Untitled (I must be dreaming) (Not for your ears)
Evanescence – You (Not for your ears)
Evanescence – Further Away (Not for your ears)
Evanescence – Anything for You (Not for your ears)
Evanescence – My last breath (Fallen)
My Tourniquet (Fallen)
And again, here are the old albums, for legal download:
Sound Asleep EP
Mystary (“released” 2003 containing some of the until then unreleased songs)
Some of the plenty demo versions of now pretty popular songs
Due to massive spam-comments for this entry, I was forced to deactivate the comment function. Sorry to all of you that would have liked to commit a serious entry.