LOS ANGELES — Despite the murkiness of initial reports, Ben Moody's departure from Evanescence appears to be permanent.
"I actually haven't had any contact with him at all," singer Amy Lee said Sunday of the guitarist, who walked out on the band October 24 in Berlin without a public explanation (see "Evanescence Co-Founder Ben Moody Leaves Band During Tour"). "But I hear he's way happier, and I know we all are, so it's for the best.
"It was just kind of an unhealthy situation for everybody," Lee said as she walked the red carpet at the American Music Awards. "Everyone was really unhappy. I think it was just time to evolve."
Lee said Cold guitarist Terry Balsamo, who performed with the band at the awards ceremony (see "50 Cent, Luther Vandross Take Home Multiple AMAs; Many Artists Skip Out"), will replace Moody at least through February.
Balsamo will join Evanescence on a North American tour through mid-December and on stints through Australia and Japan in January. He may also stick around when writing starts for the next album.
"I'm really looking forward to it," Lee said. "We're writing a little this week and next week, and then starting in February we're really just gonna concentrate on writing, and I'm so excited. [Writing is] my favorite [part]."
"We've all grown so much as musicians and as artists and as performers that I think [the next album] can do nothing but be better," she added.
Among the collaborators Evanescence are considering working with is former Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland (see "Wes Borland Puts Eat The Day On Hold, Hopes To Hook Up With Evanescence"). "I've been talking to a lot of people," Lee said, not saying names.
Another likely contender is Seether singer/guitarist Shaun Morgan, who attended the AMAs with Lee. "I'll make it happen," Lee said, smiling.
Although Sunday was their first public appearance, the two have apparently been dating about seven months. "We met on tour, during the festival season," Lee said. "Well I guess we kind of met a long time ago. Whatever. We're on the same label so ..."
Seether also plan to return to the studio early next year after nearly two years of touring. "No rest for us," Morgan said.
Moody attended Kid Rock's afterparty Sunday but did not do interviews.