AMY LEE Says EVANESCENCE’s Original Record Label Wanted To Turn Band Into ‘Female LINKIN PARK’
EVANESCENCE singer Amy Lee spoke to Alternative Press about how the band’s original record label Wind Up threatened not to release the group’s debut album, «Fallen», if she and her bandmates didn’t add a male voice to lead single «Bring Me To Life» to make it more palatable for radio.
The album version of «Bring Me to Life» — which featured guest vocals from Paul McCoy of 12 STONES — reached No. 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and was EVANESCENCE‘s first U.K. No. 1 single. It was included on the soundtrack of superhero film «Daredevil» which helped propel sales.
Lee said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): «I was really, really against having any male vocal in our music. That was really hard. And it was an idea that came from the label. And it suddenly all became about ‘Bring Me To Life’; they decided that was the song. I actually didn’t think that should be the first [single]; I wanted it to be ‘Going Under’. They came up with this idea about having something in there that would be familiar to listeners in order to get us on the radio. I didn’t really understand what that meant.
«I was really inspired by artists that were unique,» she continued. «Like, what’s great about all the artists [like] NIRVANA and SOUNDGARDEN and Björk was that there was nothing else really like them. And that, to me, was the key ingredient and something that I believed — and still believe — that we have. And, in my head, the more you try and make it familiar, the more you’re taking away from our true power.
«The original fight was that the label wanted us to hold auditions and bring somebody into the band full-time to sing on most of the songs and make it a thing — try to be the ‘female LINKIN PARK.’ And I was, like, ‘I’ll think about it,’ for, like, an hour, and then we called them back, and I was, like, ‘We can’t do that. It’s not gonna happen. I’d rather start over. It’s just not who we are. And I don’t want that.’ And then they took away our funding and I moved back in with my parents. And it was hard after all the buildup — we got signed, I quit school, moved to L.A., and it’s, like, ‘No, actually, we’re coming home.’ We didn’t get actually to do it. It was hard, but in my heart, it was broken, but I knew that it was better than the alternative. It wasn’t totally selling my soul. And then, a few weeks later, we got a call, and they’d kind of come around to a compromise, and decided, ‘Hey, we have a cool movie placement thing with this ‘Daredevil’ deal, and we pitched it to ’em as this male-female thing, ’cause there’s a fight scene, and that’s kind of what scored it.’ So now there’s a reason. And it’s only gotta be one song; it doesn’t have to be your whole identity changing. That made it okay for me. I tried one last time. I was, like, ‘Can we just make the first single ‘Going Under’ first, and then do that?’
«I just really was concerned that people would hear that sound — like, this is the band — and expect it to always be that,» Amy added. «And it was not who we were. I hate that — I hate it when you hear a first single from a band and you think they’re one thing, and then you hear the rest of the album, and it’s, like, ‘Oh, that’s not what I thought this was. You just did that to get me in, and you tricked me.’ But I loved the song, and Paul was really sweet. And it took some sacrifice for him to be a guest vocalist on that song, he didn’t realize, because it skyrocketed in a way that sort of overshadowed what he was trying to do. So I feel for him. And I don’t always wanna talk about it like I don’t like [his contributions]. I love him. We were just kids in a crazy moment in time.»
«Fallen» sold 17 million copies and won two Grammys, including «Best Rock Performance» for «Bring Me To Life».
EVANESCENCE‘s latest album, «The Bitter Truth», arrived on March 26 via BMG. It is EVANESCENCE‘s first album of original music in ten years.