In 2003, the rock group Evanescence released their debut album, Fallen – which went on to sell more than 70 million copies worldwide and win two Grammys, while hit singles such as “Bring Me to Life” and “My Immortal” remain anthems for angsty teenagers. Now, almost a decade since their last album of original material, Evanescence is back with a new album, The Bitter Truth. The group’s co-founder and lead singer, Amy Lee, is more than ready to spill the truth on why it took so long to release this album.
McCammon about the new album and what she’s learned since Fallen, which you can read highlights from below.
It pushed a lot of feelings to the surface. The band has experienced a lot of grief in our time way, especially in the past few years. I lost my brother. Our bass player, Tim [McCord], their family lost a child. And then when the pandemic hit, it was like the whole world — all were experiencing loss. We were all feeling that end of the world kind of feeling. And suddenly I felt like the music was more important than ever, not just for me, but for our fans. And it really drove us and built a lot of fire in us.
When I first started writing that song, it was after reading Chanel Miller’s incredible impact statement, her testimony at the end of her trial. She’s a sexual assault survivor, [formerly known as Emily Doe, the victim of Brock Turner’s assault outside a Stanford University frat party in 2015]. And, when she stood up and just read the words of her experience and what it felt like and what it meant to her as a human being, it just occurred to me that words have so much power that over anything else that could have possibly thrown at her, her words were stronger. I’ve been through quite a few legal battles and more behind the scenes with this band just having to fight for my right to use my own voice and not try to represent something that’s going to benefit somebody else. My journey and my experience with this has been so layered and had so many chapters at this point. One thing that’s really been consistent is having to fight constantly… [Y]es, I’m a girl standing up front with all these guys behind me. Typically, that doesn’t mean they’re the ones with the brains and I’m just the ones singing. I made it, like I fought the fight and I won the fight. But the fight was exhausting. It’s, if I’m being honest, part of the reason that we haven’t released an album every couple of years. But the feeling that it is now to have that burden lifted is incredible because I really have so much more energy to focus on the music itself.
On the inspiration for the sound and look of Fallen in music videos
I remember my grandmother … sat me down and showed me the film Amadeus. And I was so obsessed. I wanted to be Mozart, I wanted to be a composer, and then I got really hit and struck by the alternative music scene in the 90s. From like Soundgarden, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage, just all this incredible rock music heavy …. and honestly, the more heavy that it was, the more I saw similarities between that and the classical music that I loved. So it became sort of this experiment to start mashing those things up. When it came to the look, the clothes I would wear and everything, it was about showing that as a visual, so distressed Victorian element mixed with something rock, you know, something edgy, you know, with the chains and the oh, back then was the trip pants from Hot Topic and stuff. That was all about sort of trying to describe what the music sounded like to me.
It’s hard to sum that up. Fallen came out when I was 21 years old, and it was all really new. I was still learning how to write a song and each album has a slightly different lineup and I always have wanted that to show. I want each person’s personality to be able to shine on the album and to come through. And I really think it does. When I listen back, I have memories of the people that I was making it with. Fast forward to now, 10 years later, and we have an energy and we trust each other and we respect each other. I think that really comes through in the music because you have to let yourself be able to suck. You have to let yourself explore knowing you don’t you know, you don’t know what it’s going to sound like when you try and you’re just honest and open with each other. And we push each other. We all push each other to be better because we all love this band. And I feel like at this point I get what it is on a really broad past, present, future kind of level. So I don’t know. I’m very proud of the new record.