My name is Ben Moody, founding and former member of Evanescence.
I’m not someone who partakes in online communities, nor do I scour message boards or read reviews of my work and I almost never read comments posted to videos on YouTube.
However, I was showing a friend the video for We Are The Fallen’s introductory single, “Bury Me Alive” on YouTube. I couldn’t help but notice that there have been over 4,000 comments posted. Curiosity got the better of me and couldn’t help but find out what in the world about a music video could merit months and thousands of individual comments of discussion.
I have never been one to give any credence to the often overly critical and unnecessarily malicious opinions of anonymous masses online. Nor have I been emotionally affected any of the countless times that criticism and malice have been directed at me. I don’t obsess about what people whom I’ve never met have to say about me. And I am NEVER moved to respond, defend, or even acknowledge all of the countless misperceptions and inaccuracies about my life. But, for some reason, I am compelled to break my silence. I have no doubt that many of you will misinterpret this as a prideful attempt at vindication. But the truth is my only hope here is to maybe, possibly restore some grace and peace to something that means more to me then anyone realizes.
I am literally overwhelmed at not only the impression of my new band We Are The Fallen amongst Evanescence fans worldwide and the assumptions of our intent, but in the relentless perseverance of a misunderstanding that has grown into something so dividing and malicious that I simply can’t be silent anymore.
Out of more than 4100 comments, 4000 of them were nothing but the same comments regurgitated over and over again engaging in a ridiculous WATF vs EV / Ben vs Amy debate.
The only motivation I have to set the record straight after all these years of silence is the refusal of such a huge number of Evanescence fans to move on and focus on what is importantâ€¦.even though the only two people involved in the split of Evanescence did so years ago.
The appearance of WATF and the appertaining resurgence of such intense feelings has left me feeling as though I need to set the record straight before this unfounded drama gets out of hand. Ironically, it’s the same passion that drives some of you to feel so strongly that confirms in me it is worth saying anything at all. So here it goesâ€¦
For once, I am not going to paint the sugar coated pleasant version of events. I’m going to tell you exactly what happened in October of 2003. There is no doubt a great many of you will cling to your opinions and assumptions regardless of what I have to say. That is your rightâ€¦though it takes a great deal of foolishness to assume your version of an event is correct even when in direct conflict with the account of those involved.
Amy Lee and I began our friendship and creative relationship in our early teens. Our meeting was the sole determining factor that set our lives and what we believed to be our destinies on their course. It was exciting, rewarding, and more motivating than any other relationship in my life. When we made our first recording together, I knew what my life was meant for. And I never looked back. Shortly after we found our missing piece and my lifelong musical soul mate, David Hodges. It was years of the three of us revolving our worlds around each other and our band that gave birth to Evanescence. In our 5th year, we began to finally get the music we all longed to make from our head to tape. And though everyone we knew didn’t understand our relentless drive to make this our lives, the three of us never wavered in our determination to bring something into this world we believed to be bigger than all of us. I maxed out credit cards to buy us enough gear to make our first cd, which would lead to signing with Wind Up. When I couldn’t pay the bills, David and I lost our apartment. We slept wherever we could, including many nights I spent in the bed of a pickup truck, until Amy graduated and we could all move away to follow our dreams. None of it mattered to me. I’d give up anything. Eventually we found ourselves signed, living in L.A., writing “Fallen”. The three of us living together, doing everything together. we were all we had. But a cruel fact of life is that the person you are at 15, doesn’t resemble the person you are at 18, and 21â€¦.and today I in no way resemble the person I was when i was in Evanescence. I did everything in my power to put that person in the ground. Sometimes you grow together, and sometimes you grow apart. We were very young people in a very stressful situation.. and we were becoming two very different people. I believe we both contributed to the resentment of the deterioration of our friendship that quickly turned into a downward spiral of animosity, conflicting opinions, and a very volatile environment. By the time we went on tour to support “Fallen”, it sadly was over. We had parted ways with David, nearly severing the relationship with the someone that was a brother to me. In that time, being so young and on this amazing ride, I became someone I didn’t like. And had no power to change. I’d like to believe that looking back, Amy would have handled things differently now as well.
Ironically, it was Amy and my absolute equal devotion to Evanescence that drove us to such extreme opposition. We had such opposing desires and personalities that mixed with the pride of youth and inexperience (and an extreme amount of insecurity and loss of direction on my part) led to an all out war. We were completely blind to the fact that we were poisoning the very thing we held most dear. I was an awful person, and Amy reacted in kind. On the night of October 22, 2003 everything came to a head. And through my fit of rage and desperation I put the nail in the coffin of Evanescence. At that time, there was no way we would ever complete another record together. It was highly probable we wouldn’t last the remainder of the tour. Neither one of us willing to back down. Every emotion I felt manifested itself as anger. I was devastated by what we had become. Everything I based my existence on, an unreachable dream come trueâ€¦ was a nightmare. And I was powerless to stop it. We were so passionate about Evanescence and so determined in our opposing desires for the future, that my once best friend and I had become enemies.
By the end of that evening, I saw for the first time what we were not only doing to ourselves, but what our war was doing to everyone around us. We fought dirty, and Evanescence paid the price. I couldn’t sleep. If one of us didn’t leave, my one chance to leave something in this world greater than myself would be lost. I had tried before, out of ignorance, pride, and resentment to convince Amy that she should leave. That we’d be better off and Evanescence didn’t need her. I was hurt, and wanted her to hurt like me. Amy, if for some reason you happen to see thisâ€¦ I hope you know I never truly believed that. There was no way I would ever let someone walk on that stage and sing your lyrics. I had become a shell of myself. Even if I was foolish enough to attempt it, it would have never provided me with my truest desireâ€¦for Evanescence to continue. It would have become a joke. As I sat on the bus that night in absolute shame and defeat, there was no escaping the truth. EIther I leave, or Evanescence dies. It broke me in a way I could never truly describe. My entire existence, my self worth, my identity was this music, this band. If my life is to mean anything, Evanescence has to mean something.
For some reason there has been a widespread opinion that my departure was a “betrayal” or “abandonment” and against the will of the band. I have no idea where this came from, as on the night of the 22nd, Amy made her wishes clear, sending me a message saying, and I quote, “Get on a plane, and never come back.”
Hearing those words, I was overcome with the reality that I had allowed myself to become someone that my once best friend would feel that way about. It is deeply saddening that such a huge number of you viewed my departure with such animosity and distain. Here are a few major truths that escaped almost all of youâ€¦
I left so that Evanescence would continue.
What did i leave?
What was the significance?
Everything I based my life on. My dreams. My future. The music I loved most in this world. It’s as if no one even considered the fact my life now had no plan or purpose. Walking away meant forfeiting a winning lottery ticket. A dream so big it’s unfathomable it would even happen once in a lifetime. Millions of dollars. Years of security. And the one and only chance to truly realize the reward of of all my work, faith and dedication. My fucking identity. Less than one percent of the very few people throughout history to achieve such a dream could even fathom a sacrifice like this. Getting on that plane meant when I landed, every single thing my life was built upon was gone. And there was no delusion or hope that I would ever reach that pinnacle again. Try and imagine being in that position for a moment. It is remarkably rare that a person is ever faced with a decision like that in a lifetime. And to top it all off, I was just a fucking kid.
Not only did I give Amy exactly what she wanted, and Evanescence exactly what it needed, but I did everything in my power to ensure I didn’t cause a single speed bump on their massive ride to worldwide success. I went quietly and peacefully. Evanescence didn’t miss a single show. There was absolutely no argument over rights and ownership. I owned 50% of the trademark and property value of the now very valuable brand of Evanescence. I gave it to Amy free and clear. I asked for no buyout, no negotiations. Just a clean break. When resentment led to slanderous and sometimes completely false statements about me in the pressâ€¦ I said nothing. When the very fans I had such a deep connection through the music I helped create with decided that it was mandatory to pick a side, leading to an overwhelming backlash of distaste for meâ€¦ I said nothing. For seven years I made every effort to bring no drama to Evanescence. No oneâ€¦ NO ONE could have made it a smoother, more gracious, or more generous dissolution.
After rebuilding my life and career, through years of hard work, expanding my musical horizons and many many dark times of confusion and depressionâ€¦I have my life on a new path. I’m very content with my career and personal relationships. The only thing missing from my life was the satisfaction of playing the music I love most live.. with people I like and who like me. In this time Evanescence has progressed a great distance from the original sound..and made it clear that they intended to expand much further. Amy is very artistic and never has had a problem thinking outside of the box and defying expectations. So I called the guys up. I say, “Fuck it. Why deny ourselves the experience of doing what it is we do best?” After an extensive search we were very fortunate to find what we looking for. Contrary to almost every Evanescence fan’s opinionâ€¦ what we were looking for was NOT an Amy Lee look alike. Nor was it someone who would wear Amy Lee’s clothes, or try to sing like Amy Lee. I hate to break it to you, but this is about 5 people, who love to make music together. Does “Tear The World Down” have many stylistic similarities to “Fallen”? Sure. You want to hear me do something different? How about the songs I wrote on both Daughtry records. Or Kelly Clarkson. Or Avril Lavigne. Celine Dion. Halestorm. Hana Pestleâ€¦hellâ€¦I even have COUNTRY releases. My solo record is as far from Evanescence as it gets, which has a lot to do with why about 12 people own it. I made Evanescence music to leave a mark on this world. Everything else I do, I do for me. I LOVE playing in WATF. In several thousand of the comments I read yesterday the song of the day seemed to be “Ripping Amy Lee. Trying to be Evanescence. Just a total copy of Evanescence. Get your own sound. She’s trying to sound like Amy. Wishes he was in Evanescence.” wellâ€¦.I don’t wanna be the guitar player for Evanescenceâ€¦ I WAS the guitar player in Evanescence. If I appear to be reminiscent in style, its because it’s written and performed by the very same damn people. It’s not rocket scienceâ€¦it’s plain and simple. Rocky, John and I playing together just doesn’t come out any other way. Accusing me of ripping off myself is just silly. If you take half a second to really take in to consideration the factsâ€¦ If I intended to compete with Ev I would have done it ohâ€¦. about seven fucking years ago. And it is this presumption that I’m somehow trying to start a war with Evanescence that demands my rebuttal.
If you truly believe, that after the most selfless sacrifice I’ve ever made in an attempt to atone for the person I had become, YEARS of taking the high road and the endless verbal bashings I still receive TO THIS DAY that i never defended myself against.; that I would then spend another year and a half and a sizable financial investment to launch this band just to reignite a fictional feud between myself and Amy Lee after ALL I DID TO GO IN PEACEâ€¦.If you TRULY believe that’s even plausible; then you are lost. And you are wrong.
Every single bit of success that Evanescence achieves, is a success for me. Every cd they sell (with or without my contributions), every venue they sell out, strengthens the one great thing I did with my life. Ensuring my sacrifice wasn’t in vain. I want nothing more in this world than for Evanescence to have decades of success and connection with the millions of people that connected to our music. It is absolutely absurd that anyone would think otherwise.
It has been the greatest disappointment and hurt of my life that the very people that so passionately supported my life’s work, who gave me the strength to walk away, were so quick to make me the villain. And even though Amy Lee, the one you hold so dear, has TOLD YOU ON NUMEROUS OCCASIONS that the happiest she’s ever been in the band was after my departureâ€¦you make her a victim. She has absolute empirical control of the creative direction of Evanescence for the rest of her life. I literally handed everything over without fighting for a thing. Yet all I’ve heard for seven years is “Ben Moody is an asshole for leaving. Ben Moody is douche. Ben put Amy through hell and betrayed her.” I honestly thought eventually you’d all move on, but WATF has apparently incited an uprising. Though some of you will continue to disagree, and contradict thisâ€¦the absolute 100% unavoidable FACT of the situation is that you still have Evanescence SOLELY because I was willing to leave. And I refuse to sit silent while while a great number of you insist on making something that should be so wonderful and positive in to this bullshit. Evanescence is bigger than that. It’s bigger than Amy Lee. It’s bigger than Ben Moody. It can still be something special. So many of you seem to be fighting a war that doesn’t exist. Amy is happy! I am happy! Why is it that so many of you refuse to acknowledge that?
Do I expect gratitude for what I’ve done, or an apology for the resentment I’ve been shown with absolutely no basis?
Do i deserve it?
So I’ll skip a step…
You’re welcome that I gave it all away, so that the connection I felt with you all through music might not die. Standing on that stage every night playing these songs and seeing so many people sharing the same experience was the greatest joy I’ve ever known. When I left, the biggest part of me died. That those same people couldn’t see that and abandoned me overnight, is the greatest heartache I’ve ever had to endure. I have no way of repairing what has been done. It is done.
Evanescence is in no way threatened or concerned by WATF, and WATF is in no way threatening. Having a band almost a decade later that I can make the music I love with on such a minuscule scale compared to EV just to be happyâ€¦is pretty goddam little to ask. Do any of you really think I’m trying to steal thunder from Evanescence or defeat Amy Lee at some stupid pissing contest? It’s asinine to even think it’s possible. You don’t like it? That’s fine. You think listening to WATF or enjoying WATF or simply leaving it be is somehow betraying your loyalty to EV? That’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it. But neither WATF nor EV agree with you. This need to pick a side is only real in your head. I just want to play. This is what the music I make sounds like. And for the first time in a very long time, I’m happy. i just wish you’d spare yourselves so much wasted time and energy tearing everything down. We don’t care. And that’s energy and passion you could put towards something positive.
I love Evanescence. If there were anyway in the universe I could go back and do things differently.. I’d pay any price. But I have never been stronger in my resolve and belief that I made the right decision for everyone. You don’t have to agree with or believe me, but for everyone’s sake hopefully at least some of you will take a hint from Amy and myselfâ€¦.and just move on.
I wish Amy Lee and Evanescence a lifetime of success and happiness. And I hope you all will continue to find a kindred spirit in both Evanescence, and other Evanescence fans.
And heyâ€¦ if you decide you’re willing and able to drop this imaginary competition between us twoâ€¦Who knows? You just might be able to enjoy both.
I certainly do.