The material Amy Lee initially wrote and subsequently abandoned for Evanescence's new album is not lost and gone forever, she says.
Lee began working on new music during the summer of 2009, and by early 2010 she was working with Will "Science" Hunt (not to be confused with Evanescence drummer Will Hunt) and producer Steve Lillywhite for an album that was slated for release in the fall of 2010. But even though she took a different course for "Evanescence," which comes out Oct. 11, Lee tells Billboard.com that the other songs "absolutely" have a future.
"I think that some of those songs aren't right for Evanescence," Lee explains. "Some of the songs that we had at that time could maybe be a solo thing in the future. We really do have a lot of extra songs from that time and also songs that the band wrote together; we just wrote a ton in the past few years and especially in the last one year. My head is totally focused on Evanescence right now, but I think it's totally possible that some of those songs will end up on different projects someday -- maybe solo, maybe something else."
Lee -- who took some time off between promoting 2006's double-platinum "The Open Door" to enjoy her 2007 marriage to Josh Hartzler -- says the early material simple "wasn't like Evanescence music. Some of it was really stripped-down and acoustic. And I went through this big phase where it was more based on programming...and not about the band really at all. The more I had all these songs, I just got really excited about them and started bringing the band into it and wanting it to be an Evanescence record, but when we went into the studio at that time, we just weren't all the way there. It just wasn't sounding right."
But Lee says the exercise did help her and her bandmates hone in on what Evanescence music actually is. "I think what was missing the most was the rock," she says. "At the heart of everything Evanescence is a rock band. We needed all that power, the aggression of the guitarist and the drums. So ('Evanescence') is truly an Evanescence record now. It's got a lot of new attitude and new elements, but it's still us."
And that, of course, led Lee to decide to give the album -- recorded at Blackbird Studio in Nashville and produced by Nick Raskulinecz -- the group's own name for a title.
"I had a lot of album title ideas," Lee notes. "But as it became more and more about the band...the more collaborative it became, it just felt like this is who we are, it's a band. And to have that feeling in the music where the band is so pumped up, it was just the only title that felt right. It's about falling back in love with this thing in a major way."
"Evanescence" is off to a good start with its first single, "What You Want," which came out in August, is in the top 20 of both the Rock Songs and Alternative Songs surveys and topped the U.K. Rock chart -- an indication that the Evanescence audience is still there despite the five-year gap between albums. "I wasn't apprehensive because I literally just didn't think about it for awhile," Lee says. "I just completely stepped away from Evanescence. I was willing to let it go. In my head I was going, 'You know what? If i get inspired again and we make another record, even if it's in 10 years, it will be worth it to wait for the inspiration and make something great.' If that means we don't have any fans -- which is a total possibility -- and everybody's forgotten us, then fine. I figured if the music's good enough, we'll be able to start over and break again. But it's definitely a very awesome, happy realization that we still have so many fans."
Evanescence begins what Lee promises will be "our most extensive tour ever" on Oct. 6 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with North American dates kicking off Oct. 10 in Oakland, Calif., and wrapping Nov. 1 in New York City before heading over to the U.K. and Europe for the rest of that month. "Then we'll start right up again in January, after the holidays," Lee says. "We are going to be touring the whole world. We'll be back in the States several times. We're going to have a pretty extensive South American tour, an Asian tour, more Europe -- all the fun stuff."