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No Sophomore Slump For Evanescence

Of the Oakland Press

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Evanescence sold nearly 14 million copies of its 2003 debut, “Fallen,” and won a pair of Grammy Awards — including Best New Artist.

But group leader Amy Lee didn’t exactly sit around basking in the wake of that success.

During “Fallen’s” run, which also included the hits “Bring Me to Life” and “Going Under,” co-founder and co-writer Ben Moody acrimoniously left the band. Then Lee suffered a wellpublicized end to her relationship with Seether’s Shaun Morgan.

And guitarist Terry Balsamo, Moody’s replacement, suffered a stroke last October, as Evanescence was in the early stages of making its sophomore album, “The Open Door,” which was released October 3rd and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with first-week sales of 447,000 copies.

That’s a ton of turmoil for anybody. But Lee says it didn’t hamper her ability to write songs for the new record. Quite the opposite, in fact.

“I had so much built up to write about, it was crazy,” says Lee, 24, an Arkansas native who formed Evanescence with ex-boyfriend Moody after meeting at a summer Bible camp a dozen years ago. “So much happened to me during those couple years through recording ‘Fallen’ and then the whole roller coaster ride touring ‘Fallen’ and everything that happened in our lives.

“I definitely went through a lot, and there was tons to talk about. And as I started writing, more drama started happening, and there was even more to talk about. So there was defi nitely plenty of fuel.”

The result on “The Open Door” falls not too far afi eld from “Fallen’s” thundering, operatic goth/metal/industrial blend, but with a bigger and even more muscular sound and a wider dynamic sweep.

“I had just grown so much since the songs from ‘Fallen’ were written — as a musician and as a performer and just as a person and everything,” says Lee, who moved from Los Angeles to New York City before making the album.

She was also unafraid to share her personal experiences in the new songs; for instance, the fi rst single, “Call Me When You’re Sober,” is among several that chronicle her breakup with Morgan.

“I’m stuck with everybody knowing exactly what I’m talking about” in the songs, acknowledges Lee, who dueted with Morgan on the Seether hit “Broken.” “And if there’s consequences for that — which there are — then I have to face them. But it’s true; these things really happened to me, and it feels so good to just blurt ’em out.

“I feel like this album’s a lot more intimate in a lot of ways. I can do the poetic stuff, and I still do tons of the metaphorical sort of weirdness. But I think I was hiding behind metaphors in the past, and now I don’t care if what I’m singing about is obvious to everybody. I’m proud I can be that intimate.”

Morgan, who underwent substance-abuse rehabilitation during the summer, says that while he and Lee “are not on good terms,” he was intrigued to hear that some of “The Open Door’s” songs are “about what (a jerk) I am.”

“I have friends that have heard the album, and they don’t want me to hear it,” Morgan says. “They think I will be superoffended. But I can handle it. It’s not a big deal to me.”

Of course, “The Open Door” is a big deal for more than what the songs are about. On top of all the personal tribulations, Lee and Evanescence — which also includes bassist Tim McCord and drummer Rocky Gray — faced the high expectations attendant to following up “Fallen’s” success.

But Lee says everything else that was going on more than mitigated that particular source of tension.

“I just haven’t ever looked at it that way,” Lee says. “ ‘Fallen’ is a great record, I don’t think you can match the success of another body of work. I think that’s only going to frustrate you.

“My only goal making this one was making something that I love even more and that I think is an even better record, and we’ve defi nitely done that.”

Evanescence and Revelation Theory perform at 7:30 Friday (Octobr 13th) at the State Theatre, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are sold out. Call (313) 961-5450 or visit

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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