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 This one time ... at band camp ...



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 Evanescence Live
Webster Hall, NYC






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A 14-year-old Ben Moody met Amy Lee, a year younger than himself, while both attended summer camp in Arkansas. Classically trained in piano and a member of her school choir (she would later reach All-State status, twice), Lee was somewhat of a loner at camp and often took solace behind the ivories.

  "Going into the corner and playing the piano was my way of having something to do."
"Going into the corner and playing the piano was my way of having something to do instead of sitting there being like [makes a bored face]," she said.

While she was playing Meat Loaf's "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)," Moody approached. They discussed their musical preferences and found common ground in grunge, Jimi Hendrix and '80s metal.

"I don't think either of us really fit in that well, and possibly that's what drew us together," Lee explained. "We were both musicians out of our element in this silly camp environment."

Within a month of that first encounter, Lee and Moody were writing songs together. A few years later, they were playing acoustic sets in bookstores and coffee shops, eventually recording a demo, Origin, in 2000 and hawking it at shows. To round out their live sound, they recruited some musical friends by offering them either dinner or $20, but their shared vision of Evanescence never stretched beyond the two of them.

  "We also didn't want to bring in all these people ... they'd want to write, and that was just complicated for us."
"A lot of it was because we're limited on resources," Moody said. "We also didn't want to bring in all these people who were permanent members because then they'd want to write, and that was just complicated for us."

As it turned out, two players who performed with Lee and Moody the most, guitarist John LeCompt and bassist William Boyd, are still part of the Evanescence concert experience. Drummer Rocky Gray completed the lineup in December 2002.

Evanescence's trajectory has been so strong and steep, not even the negatively connoted tag "Christian rock" could sink — or even slow — their ship. In April, days before an interview in Entertainment Weekly was to hit newsstands, Wind-Up Records pulled copies of Fallen from Christian retail outlets. The interview found Moody cursing and not quite agreeing with the Christian rock tag attached to them — despite being quoted three years ago as saying Evanescence's message was simply "God is love." So instead of being ejected from those outlets, which would have made for much more salacious headlines, their label was savvy enough to strike preemptively.

Nevertheless, the media jumped on the story. And Evanescence fans didn't seem to care. One post on the Web site www.punkreviews.com summed it up best: "This whole debate over whether Evanescence is a Christian band is kind of dumb."

"It was just nothing blown into something," Lee said. "We're doing well and [the media] has to look for something to be wrong with us. There are things wrong with us, but that's not it."

"I have a very weak stomach and can't eat some foods," Moody offered.

"And sometimes I pick my nose," Lee said. "There you have it."


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Photo: Wind-Up

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 "Bring Me To Life" (live)
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