The band's founder recalls writing songs in teenage diary entries and tour stop bathrooms
With a new Evanescence vinyl box set, The Ultimate Collection, out Dec. 9, the frontwoman, 34, reveals the inspirations behind her band’s deep cuts and big hits.
“Bring Me To Life,” 2003
I was in a really dark place when I wrote that. I had just quit school when we got a record deal, but we hadn’t put out any music yet. Josh, my husband now, was visiting us. He was a friend I didn’t really know very well. We went into a restaurant, he sat down across from me and goes, “Are you happy?” My heart sank into my stomach, and I was just so not ready to talk about it. I played it down, but I instantly was like, “How does this person see into my eyes? How does he know what I’m feeling?” I obsessed over that moment on my own and ended up writing that first verse and chorus of “Bring Me to Life” and how he opened doors. Very dramatic.
“Call Me When You’re Sober,” 2006
[Former Evanescence guitarist] Terry [Balsamo] and I were at a campout writing session. We rented a place in Florida near the water and just stayed there for months. I was playing around with this song, and he could hear it from the other room. He was working on a heavy riff, not like what I was doing at all. I was like, “Would it be super weird if these two things mashed up?” I love this song because it has this fun spirit that was new for us as a band. You can still be heavy with a smile on your face.
“Everybody’s Fool,” 2004
I was writing with the voice of an angsty teenager. It’s about my frustration with fakeness. It was the late ’90s and early ’00s, when all these bubblegum pop acts were super popular. I had young siblings, junior high and younger, who looked up to them at the time. It sickened me because I felt like these pop acts were put together like products. I wanted to say, “Hey, you’re not real!” I wanted to feel something real. Even if it’s not perfect, it’s coming from someone’s heart, and that’s more valuable.
“Last Song I’m Wasting On You,” 2006
This song came out of a moment where I had to be very strong and very independent. I was in the middle of a tour and felt so inspired to write that I recorded in the bathroom on this huge analog recording device. It’s definitely one of those personal, hard moments, when beauty is born out of pain.
“Even in Death,” 2000
That song was a little bit of storytelling about not wanting to accept the death of your loved one and just going nuts—to the point that I would go out and dig up the grave. We rerecorded it for the box set because the only recording I had was a rough demo from [when I was] a kid. [The album it’s on,] Origin, is made up of very old embarrassing journal pages from middle school. [The new version of] “Even in Death” is still a cool song; it honors the things I loved about the original, but it’s now in a beautiful light that speaks to who I am today. It feels like redemption.