Now that the news is out that Evanescence co-founder, guitarist and songwriter Ben Moody walked out on his bandmates in the middle of their European tour, fans will undoubtedly look for signs that there were problems brewing before his departure.
The group’s video for “My Immortal” may provide some clues. “The video is all about separation,” said singer Amy Lee. “I wanted it to depict real human sadness.”
Of course, the video treatment came not from the band, but from director David Mouldy, who wanted to parallel the lyrics of the song, which is about a spirit that haunts the memory of a grieving loved one. But there are parallels between the imagery in the video and the current state of Evanescence.
In the video, which was shot in black and white, Moody looks sullen and withdrawn. His shoulders sag and his head slumps forward as he delicately plays piano. Later, he sadly picks up his jacket as if he’s about to leave. And when the song kicks into balladic rock mode, the band is shot performing in one room while Moody is in another, with only his piano for companionship.
Throughout the video, Lee is never filmed on ground level. She walks along the ledge of a fountain, sits in a tree and sings lying on top of a building. She also lies atop scaffolding and on the hood of a car surrounded with leaves. The shots are evocative and artistic, resembling a cross between a foreign film and a Chanel advertisement.
“The only rules that I set out were that we didn’t want any fake stuff or imaginary things that couldn’t really happen,” she said.
Mouldy shot “My Immortal” on October 10 in the gothic section of Barcelona, Spain, two weeks before Moody left the band in Berlin (see “Evanescence Co-Founder Ben Moody Leaves Band During Tour” ). “We did it in a cool, old area of town,” Lee said. “We shot some of it at this scenic point, and there was a rooftop where you could see Barcelona below. It was really neat.”
The version of “My Immortal” used for the video and radio single isn’t the same as the one off the band’s record Fallen. Much to Lee’s chagrin, Evanescence’s label opted to use the band’s demo version of the song on the record instead of the album recording.
“The label was stuck on the demo and wouldn’t let us use the version we really wanted,” Lee said. “We fought back and forth about it and finally we gave in, but we were all so angry about it.”
A couple million album sales later, Evanescence have garnered the kind of clout that allows them to call some of the shots. So when “My Immortal” was decided upon as the next single, Evanescence elected to use their preferred recording of the song.
“The version that’s on the album is the one everyone has gotten used to hearing, so it might be a little hard for them to accept a new version,” she agreed. “But it’s really hard for me to listen to the album version because we did it two years ago — it was just me and guitarist Ben [Moody], and I’ve grown so much as a performer since then.”
Not only is Lee unhappy with her vocals, she dislikes just about everything about the demo version. “It’s not even a real piano,” she groaned. “And the sound quality is bad because we had to break into the studio to record it late at night when no one was around because we couldn’t afford a real session.”
The new version of “My Immortal” was recorded as a full band and features strings arranged by Beck’s dad, David Campbell. While Lee sings the intimate lullaby, the song was written by Moody, and it is purely fictitious.
“That’s the difference between us,” Lee said. “Ben tends to write like a storyteller, and it’s not necessarily from any kind of personal experience. I can’t bring myself to write about anything I don’t understand completely. For me, writing is always about some specific thing that’s happened, so sometimes I feel a little distanced singing the song, but I still love it.”
Evanescence’s European tour ends November 10 in London. The band is scheduled to launch a new North American leg nine days later in Mexico City. Dates run through December 14 in Mississauga, Ontario, after which the group will head to New Zealand, Australia and Japan.
The “My Immortal” video is scheduled to air in the next couple of weeks.