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 "What are we going to do? Ben's gone." ...



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 Ben Moody says Amy Lee was obsessed with "selling out" ...



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 Amy Lee, solo artist? ...



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 Think Moody is bitter? Ask his replacement ...



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Their growing fame prompted thoughts about the future direction of Evanescence. Although Moody and Lee had not yet started to write songs for the follow-up to Fallen, their ideas were now more incongruous than when they started collaborating. Moody wanted to expand their scope from the dark, introspective themes that marked Fallen and move in a harder-edged rock direction while also hanging onto some of the elements that fans loved. Lee desired more variety. If Fallen was great because it sounded unique, she reasoned, retracing some of its steps would be doing what someone else has already done — even if that someone was herself.

  Evanescence live in New York, 04.16.2003
Lee also saw Evanescence evolving in a more multi-dimensional artistic direction. "I feel in so many ways that I've only scratched the surface," she said. Her emphasis on a visual aesthetic is apparent in the gothic-inspired wardrobe which she designs herself. Their videos, which feature Lee teetering on a ledge ("Bring Me to Life"), drowning ("Going Under") and disconnected ("My Immortal"), further the theme of a distressed and emotionally wrought heroine. Evanescence were following a path that many conceptual artists, such as those who've had the greatest impact on Lee — Smashing Pumpkins, Björk, Nine Inch Nails — had also walked.

"The things that we dealt with in our music were things that people go through that they don't always like to talk about," Moody said. "To me, that's purging. Once you do that, you're supposed to come together and say, 'We got it out, and we're all going to be OK.' With Amy, it was like, 'No, nothing's ever going to be OK.' And I just couldn't live that way."

Moody and Lee had discussed parting ways months before he eventually left in October, though it wasn't clear initially who would be the one to leave the band behind. He thought that Lee, in the vein of artists like Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé and most recently Gwen Stefani, would have the best chance at going it alone. He wanted to hold on to the band he helped build — but so did she. As time passed and he began thinking about other projects, like film and outside collaborations, it was decided that he would be the one to walk.

While Moody's departure was predetermined, when he decided to leave was met with surprise and disappointment. Lee had hoped he would finish the remaining dates of the tour, or at least offer the standard two-weeks notice, so that the band could find a replacement. Looking back, however, Lee realizes she should have expected something drastic.

  "It wasn't a big surprise that Ben was going to do something spontaneous and weird ..."
"It wasn't a big surprise that Ben was going to do something spontaneous and weird," she said. "That's pretty much how he is. He's going to do whatever it takes just to shock everyone. It's all about shock value, which is sometimes funny, I guess, but usually it's just a bunch of extra stress that nobody needs."

Moody said he left when he did because his head-butting with Lee was now affecting the people around him.

"There was just a change in the countenance of other people and I felt terrible about causing that," he said. "I went to my [tour bus] bunk that night and it became clear as day: When I get to Berlin, I'm getting on a plane."

Before he did so, he called Alan Meltzer, the chairman of Wind-Up Records, and explained that he bought a ticket but wasn't yet on the plane. The therapeutic conversation lasted hours, and at the end, Moody knew he was making the right decision and headed to the airport.

"To be perfectly honest, I really had no idea what was going to happen when I got off the plane," Moody said. "I just left a very successful band, sort of out of nowhere. Most labels would probably never have spoken to me again."


NEXT: Think Moody is bitter? Ask his replacement, Terry Balsamo ...
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Photo: Frank Veronsky/MTV News

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 "Bring Me To Life"
Fallen
(Wind-Up)



 "Going Under"
Fallen
(Wind-Up)



 "Tourniquet"
Fallen
(Wind-Up)



 "My Immortal"
Fallen
(Wind-Up)




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