Amy Lee had a chip the size of Montana on her shoulder.
Though she was the frontwoman for Evanescence, a band whose first album, “Fallen,” went on to sell about 14 million copies worldwide, Lee believed a lot of people were waiting for her to fail.
Not long after “Fallen” launched Evanescence into the stratosphere on the strength of the singles “My Immortal” and “Bring Me to Life,” Ben Moody, Lee’s longtime creative partner and the band’s co-founder, quit.
Moody, a guitarist, abruptly left the band during a 2003 European tour. It was not an amicable breakup.
“We didn’t miss a single show,” Lee said during a telephone interview. “We played that first show as a four-piece, and John (LeCompt, the band’s rhythm guitarist) learned the solos and we covered it.
“We played all those sold-out European shows, I’m sure much to Ben’s surprise. He was trying to sabotage us.”
Moody’s departure was just the beginning of the turmoil that enveloped Lee between the release of “Fallen” in 2003 and the completion of its follow-up, “The Open Door,” in 2006.
William Boyd, the band’s bassist, also left Evanescence; Lee endured a bitter breakup with her former boyfriend; she became embroiled in a controversy with the band’s manager, who was fired; and Terry Balsamo, a guitarist who was hired to take Moody’s place, suffered a stroke.
Despite all that, Lee shouldered on, determined to make Evanescence’s sophomore album. She never considered chucking the band and forging a career as a solo artist.
“I knew that’s what everyone expected,” she said. “I wanted to prove once and for all that Evanescence wasn’t something that was created by Ben, who stuck me in front because I was a cute chick and would make people buy our albums.
“That’s exactly what he tells everyone and wants everyone to believe â€” that he wrote all the music and did all the work and I was just a singer.”
Lee poured all the emotional and professional turmoil she had experienced into the songs she wrote for “The Open Door.”
The album, which rocks a little harder than “Fallen” and has darker thematic overtones, served as an emotional release for Lee.
“It’s my therapy,” Lee said. “It’s a place for me to take all the things that are loading up on my back and just lay it down and release it to the world as something beautiful instead of being something that’s weighing me down.
“At the end of making the album, I felt good. I realized I sort of got it out of my system and I was happy. That was OK. It was OK to feel happy and I wrote a song out of that.”
The song, a ballad called “Good Enough,” closes the album on a bright note.
“Every emotion is worth putting into Evanescence as long as it’s genuine,” she said.
Though Evanescence is frequently mistaken for a goth band because many of its songs have dark themes and Lee dresses the part onstage, the singer-songwriter said the image has little to do with the reality.
“After meeting me, a lot of people say, ‘I thought you were supposed to be, like, dark and mean,’” Lee said. “Everybody thinks I’m going to be a b—-.
“And I’m not. I’m really pretty nice.”