Amy Lee's Former Bandmates Have A Lot To Say About Her

Those who were around during the early 2000s when Evanescence hit the music scene can attest to exactly how big they were. The lead single "Bring Me to Life" — off their 2003 debut, "Fallen" – was one of those era-defining, colossal hits that was played everywhere, all the time. The track was equal parts aggressive but soulful, singable but complex, and approachable but defiant all in one — much like the rest of "Fallen." In the end, this one album alone was enough to solidify Evanescence's place in music history and earn the band two Grammys — Best New Artist and Best Hard Rock Performance. And at the center of the whole Evanescence phenomenon stood singer Amy Lee.

Amy Lee was a mere 21 years old when "Fallen" was released. As she said 20 years later in 2023 in a Loudersound interview, she'd only ever had one intended life path: to become a "mega rock star superstar." She'd felt this way since co-founding Evanescence at the very young age of 13 years old. Driven and determined to succeed, Lee incorporated mournful, classical elements into Evanescence's songwriting, with piano-centered tracks like "My Immortal" making it all the way from her early songwriting days to the release of "Fallen." 

Being so driven at such a young age, however, Lee was bound to butt heads with a few people. Some former bandmates have basically declared her a controlling drama queen, while others say that she's the heart of Evanescence for a reason.

Amy and Ben Moody clashed over creative differences

The tangled relationship of Amy Lee and Ben Moody has led to loads of discussion, debate, and controversy over the years. Along with Lee, Moody was one of the original co-founders of Evanescence back when the two of them were just teenagers writing music in their parents' houses. According to Moody, who left Evanescence right when the band took off in the middle of their European tour in 2003, much of his and Lee's conflict stemmed from tumultuous adolescent years. In a 2010 Spin interview Moody said, "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."

More specifically, Moody and Lee's separation often gets chalked up to creative differences. Moody in 2005 told MTV: "I still like to be creative, but she is more educated musically, and she wanted to explore that. I wanted to do that, but keep in the confines of what I knew people expected from Evanescence." In other words, Moody was more "commercial-minded," and Lee wouldn't budge when it came to songwriting and artistry. Lee echoes these statements in her Loudersound interview, saying that she didn't want a rapper on "Bring Me to Life" because it, "wasn't a perfectly honest picture of who we were." Moody went on to apologize to Lee and say that he harbors no ill feelings towards Lee, and in fact wishes her the best. 

Terry Balsamo worked well with Amy Lee

After Ben Moody left Evanescence guitarist Terry Balsamo stepped into the gap, and stayed with the band all the way until 2015. Balsamo had been in the band Cold, who was touring with Evanescence in 2003, and was asked to sub in for Moody. The timing was right for all parties, and Balsamo wound up being not only a permanent Evanescence band member but an ideal songwriting partner for Lee. The two collaborated on Evanescence's second and third albums, 2006's "The Open Door" and 2011's "Evanescence," respectively.

All in all, Balsamo's never had anything to say but praise about Lee and their collaborative relationship. The Gainesville Sun says that Balsamo "viewed her [Lee's] ideas as bold, not frivolous." In describing their back-and-forth creative process, Balsamo said, "Every little part, we would write bit by bit, and come up with something that we liked. Each part took a lot of concentration on the little things." Interestingly, in that same interview Evanescence guitarist John LeCompt said, "Amy gained authority as soon as Ben Moody walked out the door," which might have contributed to how well she and Balsamo got along. 

In 2005, Balsamo had a stroke from a blood clot that formed in his neck while headbanging on stage, according to what he told Ultimate Guitar. He took some time to recuperate, then rejoined the band before his final 2015 departure on good terms and in good spirits, the same as when he worked with the band. On Evanescence's Facebook page, he said of his departure (per Mxdwn), "We stand unified knowing it's the right thing for all of us."    

John LeCompt had a bitter falling out

Unlike Terry Balsamo, John LeCompt but seemingly left Evanescence on very bad terms following the release of the band's second album, 2006's "The Open Door." He'd been a guitarist in the band from 2003 to 2007, and non-coincidentally or not, left around the same time as drummer Rocky Gray. 

In 2007, LeCompt very scathingly wrote on his MySpace page (per NME) that he was fired from the band via telephone. The former Evanescence bandmate said, "Around 3:30 pm yesterday I received a call on my cell from Amy. This call wasn't from a friend who appreciated me but from an enemy who was prepared to hurt me and my family. Without any warning or negotiations for my future, I was fired for no good reason. We have not always seen eye to eye on everything, but who does?" On top of this, LeCompt called out Amy Lee in particular, stating, "I have now become just another of the people fallen by the wayside on the revolving door of her life ... I guess it's good for lyrical content, though."

Around the same time, Lee posted on the official Evanescence band page (via MTV), "John and Rocky were in Evanescence for four years and we shared some great times together playing live, but they were ready to move on and so we have parted ways. Evanescence is something I have loved and nurtured since I was fourteen, and I will continue to protect and fight for it as I always have." 

Rocky Gray claimed he was silenced

As stated above, drummer Rocky Gray left Evanescence around the same time as John LeCompt. Unlike LeCompt's, however, Gray claimed that he was being legally gagged and prevented from speaking about why he left the band. As Blabbermouth quotes Gray in 2007, "Amy Lee's management emailed me last night to tell me that, in their view, the contract I signed to record, perform and tour with the group says that I'm not allowed to have any free speech in regard to Evanescence. The way they spin it, I'm not even allowed to say I quit the group, I guess."

According to Lee, however, Gray didn't quit Evanescence — he was fired. Lee spoke about things plainly on an Evanescence fan club message board (per Spin), saying that it had been clear that both LeCompt and Gray had been unhappy in the band, "They were very vocal about the fact that they didn't really care about Evanescence at all, and just stayed around for the money. I treated both John and Rocky with nothing but kindness and respect, and I got nothing but jealousy and resentment in return."

This statement by Lee clarifies what she meant when she said that she would "continue to protect and fight for it [the band]" following LeCompt's departure. Gray has been silent since then regarding both his time with Evanescence and how he exited the band and hasn't clarified anything further.

Jen Majura was fired by phone

Fast-forward a bit and we reach guitarist Jen Majura, who joined Evanescence following Terry Balsamo's amicable exit in 2015. When Majura joined the band, everyone seemed elated about the decision. On the Evanescence website (via Digital Spy) the band wrote, "After scouring the globe, I found Evanescence's missing piece in South Germany. She plays like a supervillain, sings like an angel, and laughs like a great friend." Seven years later in 2022, Majura was out.

In what seems like another case of firing via telephone, Majura on Blabbermouth said that she was randomly cleaning her apartment one day and received a phone call letting her know that she was kicked out of the band. At the time the band said, "It has been a very special chapter in the band with our dear friend Jen Majura, but we have decided it's time to go our separate ways." Several hours later Arrow Lords of Metal reports that Majura jumped online, saying, "I feel the need to address that none of this was my decision! I have no hard feelings against anybody and I wish Evanescence all the best." Majura didn't have anything bad to say about Lee or Evanescence on a whole, and only reiterated how shocked and hurt she was at being fired. 

Lee never offered any further information about why Majura was let go. But, a leaked chat log of Majura's on X shows that she was passing along confidential information to fans.