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artists > evanescence


Little Rock, Arkansas' EVANESCENCE ('dissipation of vapour') made huge inroads into the Billboard album charts with their dramatic debut Dave Fortman produced 'Fallen' opus. The idea for the band germinated when founder members vocalist Amy Lee and guitarist Ben Moody met by chance at a church youth camp, the singer catching Moody's attention with a rendition of MEAT LOAF's 'I Would Do Anything For Love'. The fledgling band immediately scored local radio play with the tracks 'Give Unto Me' and 'Understanding' courtesy of KABF. EVANESCENCE debuted live in December of 1998 at Vino's Bar in Little Rock, a promotion night for an EP 'Evanescence', which rapidly sold out of its 100 CDR pressings. Featured musicians on this recording included THE VISITORS bass player Will Boyd along with drummer Rocky Gray and Matt Outlaw. A second EP, 'The Whisper', gained further ground for the band despite being restricted to just 50 copies.

EVANESCENCE would be rounded out by erstwhile MINDRAGE, SOUL EMBRACED and KILL SYSTEM guitarist John Lecompt and drummer Rocky Gray, the latter citing credits with SHREDDED CORPSE, featuring on the 1996 EP 'Exhumed And Molested', and Christian Death Metal bands KILL SYSTEM, LIVING SACRIFICE and SOUL EMBRACED. Dave Hodges joined the band on keyboards but his term would be brief. Will Boyd also performed live with the band. BigWig Enterprises, a concern which had aided the band on earlier EP releases, put out the group's eponymous debut album in 2000. 'Evanescence' was launched with a gig at Little Rock's River Market Pavillion packaged alongside LIVING SACRIFICE early that November.

Fuelled by massive TV programming for an impressive and disturbing dream state video for the single 'Bring Me To Life', given an added boost with its inclusion on the hit 'Daredevil' movie soundtrack, the 'Fallen' album, produced by ex-UGLY KID JOE member Dave Fortman, crashed into the charts at no. 1 in the UK. The single confused many initially as it features a duet between Amy Lee and Paul McCoy of 12 STONES. The album, which blended Gothic overtones with dirge filled Nu-Metal and melancholy acoustic and even choral pieces, had bass in the hands of Francis Decosmo whilst drums were handled by Josh Freese of A PERFECT CIRCLE and the VANDALS. As well as re-recording archive tracks 'Whisper', 'My Immortal' and 'Imaginary' the album song 'Tourniquet' is in actuality a cover of 'My Tourniquet' originally performed by SOUL EMBRACED.

The band became embroiled in controversy in April of 2003 when interviews, apparently seeing both Lee and Moody renouncing any Christian beliefs, resulted in their label Wind Up withdrawing copies of 'Fallen' from Christian record stores. This setback would bear little impact upon European sales though as the album rapidly made headway on all the major charts. In three weeks 'Fallen' sold over 100,000 copies in the UK bringing in a gold sales status award and soon topping the charts. The band debuted live in the UK on June 19th, performing at the London Astoria.

Although European dates would be curtailed due to illness EVANESCENCE soon got back into gear, announcing August US headline shows as part of an adventurous new concept blending Rock n' Roll with computer games. The 'Nintendo Fusion' tour allied the band with COLD, REVIS, CAUTERIZE and FINGER ELEVEN.

The band returned to the UK in October for shows supported by APARTMENT 26. However, in a shock move founder member Ben Moody walked out midway through German dates, flying home to the USA without apparently consulting his band mates. The band, by now having racked up over six million worldwide sales of 'Fallen', three million of which were generated from the USA, pulled in COLD guitarist Terry Balsamo for a performance at the American Music Awards ceremony. The band were then scheduled to get their teeth into further North American gigs into December, finding SEETHER, FINGER ELEVEN and GODHEAD all lending support. However, these shows were cancelled. Nevertheless, the year closed out on a high as, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the entertainment industry's data information system that tracks point of sale purchases of recorded music product, 'Fallen' landed the honours of fourth highest selling album in the USA during 2003.

Intriguingly, 2004 opened with talks taking place between Amy Lee and former LIMP BIZKIT guitarist Wes Borland for possible songwriting collaborations. Borland subsequently denied any such claims. Ousted member Ben Moody would be in the news in regard to songwriting too, the guitarist collaborating with both GODHEAD, teen star AVRIL LAVIGNE and even 'American Idol' winner Kelly Clarkson on tracks for her second album. This burst of activity would also include a collusion with GODHEAD singer Jason Miller, DROWNING POOL frontman Jason Jones, PRONG and TOMMY LEE bassist Marty O'Brien and LIVING SACRIFICE drummer Lance Garvin on the track 'The End Has Come', slated for the soundtrack to the comic book movie 'The Punisher'.

Terry Balsamo's position the band would also be confirmed as a permanent fixture in mid January. EVANESCENCE won a prestigious Grammy Award in the "Hard Rock Performance" category at the 46th annual show held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. in February, beating out the other nominees AUDIOSLAVE, GODSMACK, JANE'S ADDICTION and QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE. The band also scooped the "Best new artist" honours. Surprisingly both Amy Lee and ex-EVANESCENCE guitarist Ben Moody made a joint appearance to accept the awards on live television. As evidence of their staying power at the time of these honours the 'Fallen' album was still firmly lodged in the US top 5.

In May of 2004 'Fallen' was certified quintuple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association Of America for sales of five million copies. Internationally the album, which had remained lodged in many charts for over a year, had sold over 11 million copies. Total sales in Japan alone neared the half a million mark. A renewed round of US touring in the Summer saw EVANESCENCE supported by SEETHER, THREE DAYS GRACE and BREAKING BENJAMIN. Notably, the band performed a piano based cover version of KORN's 'Thoughtless' as part of their set.

Whilst EVANESCENCE set to work on a new studio album a DVD package entitled 'Anywhere But Home' was launched in November to plug the gap. The CD / DVD set comprised four promotional videos plus a live concert recorded on 25th May 2004 at the Zenith in Paris.

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