EVANESCENCE Singer: 'It's About Making Great Music And Putting It Out There'

November 8, 2007

Aly Comingore of the Santa Barbara Independent recently conducted an interview with EVANESCENCE frontwoman Amy Lee. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

Santa Barbara Independent: Looking back, popular music had these strong females fronting commercially successful, but still hard-rocking, bands: Chrissie Hynde, Patti Smith, Joan Jett. Why do you think the strong female rock figure doesn't really exist today?

Amy: It's the hardest question for me to answer, and I don't know the answer. … I think it's one of those things that's either random, or generally, I think when you see women in music people assume it's just not them being the group. Because so much of the pop industry is what we see. … It's just a girl, and that's the gimmick, and there's some mastermind man behind the scenes doing all the actual work. So it's harder for people to buy a chick in a rock band. And that was really the only seriously big challenge for me, being a woman in the industry. I didn't think it was anything specifically hard, except for the fact that I had to prove that I was real, and that I'm actually a writer first and a singer and performer second. But I totally didn't answer your question. Where's Joan Jett? I dunno. I wish they'd all come back. I think there are female-fronted rock bands out there that are good, they're just not big, and we need to support 'em.

On "The Open Door", you draw on classical influences more heavily and blatantly than you have in the past. Do you think that stems predominantly from your background in piano?

Playing piano for me was something that I begged for because I was influenced by Mozart. I was really young and I saw "Amadeus" and I was obsessed with the movie and the whole idea. … I mean, the music's always been part of my life. My dad is a musician and it's just always been around. … Definitely, I think, that's been one of the original inspirations for this band and my idea about it. But when we were making "Fallen", Ben [Moody] and I were writing together. … His range of influences were a lot different from mine, and I think the number-one, most important thing to him was being commercial and becoming successful. So it was always a push and pull between us, for me, because I was constantly trying to pull it to a more creative place. It's cool because "Fallen" really is a lot of compromise. It definitely leaned toward what he wanted a lot of the time. We stuck to a lot of patterns and structures. … By the time we did "The Open Door" and Ben wasn't in the band anymore, it was really my show and I started using Terry [Balsamo] to bounce ideas off of. … So you hear a lot more of my influences coming out. I guess that's the long story of all of that. I absolutely love organs; [we] played B-3 on almost every song somewhere in the background, and plush choirs, and weird, dissonant strings, all that stuff. It was really cool for me because I wasn't a piano player on "Fallen". I wanted to really know that I was the piano player and I wanted to prove myself in that way, so the piano parts are a little more classical and interesting.

When you look back now, you kind of took a huge chance with this record. It must have been quite a relief to have it do as well as it has.

I mean, I think I would have been disappointed. … I know I would have been disappointed if "Fallen" had done so well and then when I got the chance to be in control and do it myself it sucked. But I was prepared for it at the same time. I was like, "Okay, 'Fallen' was huge. And the only reason it was huge was because it was really easy to swallow in a lot of ways. I wanna branch out and I wanna do things that some people won't like. I wanna really make a record that I think is better for me. And if that doesn't bring everyone along with us, then I'm okay with that." Thankfully, I think that good music does speak for itself and I love "The Open Door" so much more than "Fallen". And I think that's the point. It's not really about record sales; it's about making great music and putting it out there.

Read more at the Santa Barbara Independent.

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