Next week (August 16th), one of the biggest tours of the summer will commence. Korn and Evanescence will be hitting the road together for the first time since their fondly remembered 2007 Family Values trek, which followed Jonathan Davis and Amy Lee's stunning "Freak on a Leash" duet from Korn's MTV Unplugged appearance earlier that year. The two heavy acts make for a great pairing and surely there'll be plenty of warm nostalgia to bask in, but as much as the tour aims to reconnect with the past, it's also a moment for Evanescence to step into the future.
After dropping their first new album in a decade last year, 2021's The Bitter Truth, the band went through a significant lineup switch several months back. Guitarist Jen Majura, who had been playing with the group since 2015, was replaced by longtime Evanescence bassist Tim McCord, whose previous spot bringing the low end was taken over by new member Emma Anzai, also of the band Sick Puppies.
As Lee tells us, the switch-up has injected Evanescence with a renewed burst of energy that's got them feeling incredibly excited not just for their tour with Korn, but for the next chapter of the band entirely. We talked with Lee about the refreshed lineup, the prospect of new music, and her longtime admiration and deep friendship with Korn — including asking her to pick her favorite song in the Bakersfield nu-metal godfathers' stacked catalog.
EVANESCENCE RECENTLY WENT THROUGH A LINEUP CHANGE. HOW'D THAT COME ABOUT AND HOW ARE YOU FEELING ABOUT THE NEW SETUP?
I am so happy, we are all so, so grateful. Emma Anzai is from the band Sick Puppies and we are old friends. We toured together in 2007 and she's just an excellent musician. We're all fans of her and just fits us on a personal level really well.
We did a little European run in June and then we did a few shows here and had our first photo shoot with the new lineup just two weeks ago. Some things are just meant to be. Something I'm getting better at as I get older is not trying to control everything so much. Sometimes you just sort of have to listen to the universe and what's going on and go, "You know what, OK, I need to live in the reality of what's happening now and make something great out of it instead of constantly trying to pull things the way I think they ought to go."
It's hard to explain what I'm saying without being specific, and we all love Jen, we had a great time with Jen. Don't want to make it like it's anything negative there. But sometimes that chapter just ends, and when you feel that and you know that as a band, that's how you keep things going. That's how you keep your team, your band, and everything healthy and moving the way it's supposed to move.
It's complicated but at the same time you just need to follow your heart. At the end of the day, when you follow your heart and trust each other, you can move forward into a better place than you could've imagined for.
This is big time new for us because I've had Tim on bass for 16 years and for the first time he is on guitar, which is fantastic. It's his original instrument, he's great on it, he gets into that position when we're in the writing room a lot. And Emma is just this amazing, seamless ... it's just amazingly cool and the other guys are just thrilled with it as well.
We're all really happy right now, we're in a healthy new chapter moment. Those are always really energizing, so we've got a lot of energy and are feeling inspired and excited for the future.
AMAZING, I WAS GOING TO ASK HOW THE ENERGY FEELS LIVE.
So good! Everything feels just a little bit new again. Just the change-up of Tim being on a different instrument, is an amazing cool thing. And just Emma's presence and her ability is really fantastic. We're happy, we're looking to work more and more. We're feeling very motivated to work right now.
IT'S ONLY BEEN A YEAR AND CHANGE SINCE YOU GUYS RELEASED THE BITTER TRUTH, BUT ARE THERE ANY PLANS FOR NEW MUSIC ANYTIME SOON?
We're in that mode right now where it feels like it's time to do something. I don't know if any of us are ready to look at it like committing to doing a full new album yet, it's a little soon for that. But we need to just start playing around and getting creative. We're at that place. The itch is itching so the scratching comes next.
WOULD YOU SAY THAT HAVING THIS NEW ENERGY IS CONTRIBUTING TO THAT?
Absolutely. Like when you feel a little spark of something that's different, there's an instinct to want to grab that. I want to document that, I want to put that down, I want to find a way to translate that through music and visuals. The photo shoot was part of that visual — starting to have creative thoughts within us as a unit, but then the music, of course, is first and foremost with all of it. So whatever the next thing is, yes, it's from that.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT FOR YOUR TOUR WITH KORN?
We're excited. It's a little bit of a throwback feeling because we have history with Korn. We had a great tour with them back in 2007 with Family Values, and we have a lot of memories from that. And it's cool to be able to hit some of those nostalgic feelings with how we've grown since.
With the new perspective and with the lineup changes and with all of the things we've been through as a band and gotten stronger, it's cool to come back to kind of the same scene, and bring the new. And be like, "OK, here's what we've done in that time, see what you think."
We love Korn. I am really looking forward to it, they always bring such incredible energy. Their catalog is so huge ... It feels like watching their show is a medley of their whole career, and I think that they do that, they're good at that. Kind of taking a song and shifting into another one, and before you know what's happened, you've just heard four different songs that you've loved over the last 30 years. So they just know exactly what they're doing.
It's always inspiring — that is a band that I've always made a habit of standing on side stage as much as I can and just watching them and learning from them. There's always something inspiring that we take away from watching them. And we have a bunch of cool bands who we're taking out with us. A big slew of bands [Helmet, P.O.D., Palaye Royale, Dana Dentata and Jeris Johnson are set to open on select dates], it's going to be kind of different almost every show.
IF YOU COULD ONLY PICK ONE, WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE KORN SONG AND WHY?
This is weird, I have a few that are kind of in the same tier. But for some reason something about that song "Falling Away From Me." It has something that has to do with the chord progression, that sort of does a trick on the mind.
When it gets to the chorus, the chord progression to me as a musician, it's very interesting because it's doing a descending and ascending thing at the same time, and they work so magically together that I can't decide exactly how it makes me feel.
They just change the chords just enough to make it sound like it has to be that, it's nothing else, but it's so natural. I feel like, musically, the creation of that chord structure and the guitar part is really, really smart. So there's that. But I love the lyrics, as well. There's a lot of really deep, painful lyrics that Korn has to offer that are cathartic for me.
It's chaos but it's good to the ear. It's not the kind of metal where I can handle it for a few minutes and then I need to listen to something else because my ears hurt. They're creating something that feels good, it sounds good to your ears. It's metal but it isn't something that you can't hang out and listen to. They have a pop sensibility, I'm just going to go out and say it. It's there.
Korn and Evanescence 2022 tour dates:
Tue Aug 16 – Denver, CO – Ball Arena
Thu Aug 18 – Maryland Heights, MO – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Sat Aug 20 – Tinley Park, IL – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Sun Aug 21 – Clarkston, MI – Pine Knob Music Theatre
Tue Aug 23 – Cuyahoga Falls, OH – Blossom Music Center
Wed Aug 24 – Noblesville, IN – Ruoff Music Center
Fri Aug 26 – Mansfield, MA – Xfinity Center
Sat Aug 27 – Camden, NJ – Waterfront Music Pavilion
Sun Aug 28 – Wantagh, NY – Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
Wed Aug 31 – Charlotte, NC – PNC Music Pavilion
Thu Sep 01 – Pelham, AL – Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
Sun Sep 04 – Houston, TX – The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Tue Sep 06 – Dallas, TX – Dos Equis Pavilion
Fri Sep 09 – Salt Lake City, UT – USANA Amphitheatre
Sat Sep 10 – Nampa, ID – Ford Idaho Center
Tue Sep 13 – Spokane, WA – Spokane Arena
Thu Sep 15 – Auburn, WA – White River Amphitheatre
Fri Sep 16 – Ridgefield, WA – RV Inn Style Resorts Amphitheater