Itâ€™s been almost four years since their last mega-selling album. Now, Arkansas’ homegrown “Evanescence” is on a second world tour. Liz Massey goes one-on-one with Amy Lee and Evanescence.
Theyâ€™ve sold nearly 18 million albums, experienced worldwide fame and their dreams are now reality. Itâ€™s a wild ride that began right here in Arkansas. From Little Rock to rock stars, we take you back stage, behind the music with Arkansasâ€™s own Evanescence.
“Itâ€™s all very personal and all very real; every song has a real story behind it,” says front woman Amy Lee.
Amyâ€™s story begins in 1981 in California. The oldest of five, Amyâ€™s family eventually settled in Arkansas where her passion for music took center stage.
She recalls, “Music was something I would naturally gravitate towards and love and do all the time, but you realize how obsessed you are with it and you can’t imagine having a real job.”
Her obsession captured the attention of another Little Rock teen, Ben Moody, and in the 90s, Evanescence was born.
Amy says, “I still remember a lot of good things about places like Vino’s for sure and the people that worked there, playing there and getting so nervous before a show and I couldn’t even open my eyes or talk once I got on stage.”
But all that quickly changed. Drummer Rocky Gray and guitarist John LeCompt helped shape Evanescence.
“As soon as I started playing with Ev, I really felt like there was a magic there,” says John.
The Little Rock natives joined the band early on.
“Every band wants to be a big band. Thatâ€™s what you strive to do and when it happens, that’s definitely a surprise,” says Rocky.
It happened in 2003 with “Bring me to Life” featured in the movie “Daredevil.” Evanescence exploded onto the music scene capturing two Grammies for their hit album “Fallen.” But the next two years: turmoil. Ben Moody quit the band. Terry Balsamo stepped in but later had a stroke. They parted ways with their manager and Amy was on the rebound.
She says, “Life throws all kinds of things at you but if anything, all the changes in me and my life and the band were huge inspirations for things I wanted to write about on the second album.”
“The Open Door” put Evanescence back on the road. They came home in March to thousands of screaming fans.
“Crazy, crazy fans, which I like they go crazy,” says Rocky.
Maybe even crazy enough to sneak backstage to get a peek at Amyâ€™s custom-made wardrobe. She even designs some of her own stuff. The guys prep across the hall. Their homes away from home are three 45-foot long, state-of-the-art tour buses. Amy says they like being on the road promoting their album.
Amy says “It’s like the box we were in then; we’ve really been able to grow out of and expand and try everything and really for me as a musician really experiment to my full potential.”
The sound may be different but the heart remains the same.
Rocky says, “My deal is to go out there and give 100 percent behind the kit.”
It’s been a long journey.
“Every once in awhile, you’ll get a chance to stop and reflect and say holy smokes this is crazy,” says John.
From struggles to success, Amy says, “Iâ€™ve learned to just totally be grateful and happy for everything we have.”
Amy Lee’s found her place, her voice and her way.
“Itâ€™s definitely a new chapter of Evanescence,” says Amy.