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The Times
  • Evanescence embraces social media for national Carnival of Madness tour

  • The Grammy Award-winning Evanescence tops a five-band rock bill dubbed the Carnival of Madness, which kicks off July 31 in Springfield, Ill., and will travel around the country throughout August.

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  • When Evanescence lead singer Amy Lee first started touring, she says she was among the musicians who wanted fans to pay attention to the concert rather than trying to surreptitiously shoot video or photographs.
    Nearly a decade of increasingly portable social media devices have pretty much made that impossible to enforce. And now, the singer who made “Bring Me To Life” and “Call Me When You’re Sober” rock music hits says those videos that populate YouTube actually help.
    “They show if you can play live, if you’re bringing it,” Lee said — meaning, there’s instant proof, without being filtered by bloggers or critics or anyone else, if Evanescence is on top of its game night to night.
    The Grammy Award-winning Evanescence tops a five-band rock bill dubbed the Carnival of Madness, which kicks off July 31 in Springfield, Ill., and will travel around the country throughout August. Joining Evanescence on the tour’s first show are Chevelle (“The Red,” “Hats Off To The Bull”), Halestorm (“I Get Off,” “Love Bites”), Cavo and New Medicine.
    During a recent conference telephone call with Lee, brothers Sam (drums) and Pete Loeffler (guitar/vocals) of Chevelle, and singer/guitarist Lzzy Hale of Halestorm, the rock musicians agreed that social media has changed a lot about how they do business.
    Although the ability to share information across the Internet for free is making it more difficult for record labels to turn profits (and keeping some bands from getting recording contracts), the Carnival of Madness tourmates generally agreed social media has let them get even closer to their fans.
    Lee said one way Evanescence is selecting concert sites on its tour is by reading what fans are saying on the Internet.
    “We’ve been all over the place, but there are those places that didn’t work out — Trinidad and Puerto Rico, places we hadn’t been to,” she said. “I’ve been seeing it on the Internet for so long. I know we have fans there. I want to go.”
    And those same camera phones have allowed the musicians to see what kind of music their fans can play.
    “We’ve opened ourselves up to our fans, and they’ve opened up to us,” Hale said. “I was in Montana last night, and there were these amazing little kids at the show. One was a little girl drummer, and her parents were showing me a video of her drumming. It’s amazing, the connection we can have with people.”
    Sam Loeffler said he watches other bands’ concert videos shot by fans, and he thinks it helps Chevelle when fans have “those personal things” like a few moments from a concert they can watch again. His brother Pete said he started a Twitter account about a year and a half ago, and “it wasn’t until I started my own that I realized the impact it could have. … Especially now more than ever, it’s great to connect with your fan base and grow that.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Time away and back again
    The more well-known acts on the Carnival of Madness tour have released new music in the past year or so. Chevelle’s current single, “Hats Off To The Bull” was at No. 6 last week on the Billboard rock music chart.
    Halestorm’s “Love Bites” recently hit No. 16 on the rock music chart. And Evanescence’s self-titled album released last fall hit No. 1 on the Billboard pop album chart.
    Chevelle and Halestorm released multiple albums since the last time Evanescence released a full-length LP, 2006’s “The Open Door.”
    Lee said part of the reason for the long break is because she took time from being Rock Star Amy Lee to being just regular, everyday Amy Lee — including getting married.
    “I wanted to be normal. I love what I do, but I felt like in a way, I seriously needed to get to know Amy again before putting myself out there on stage,” she said. “ … I did spend time finding myself and getting inspired. It inspired me to make the music we made and make an Evanescence album.”
    Another reason is, frankly, the music Evanescence makes — almost operatic hard rock with a big, sweeping, layered sound. It takes awhile to get that right, Lee said.
    “Evanescence records are a big production. I’ve always taken all the time and money we need to be great, to be perfect, to be the best thing we’ve ever done,” she said.
    Now that the bands have new music to share with audiences, they all said they are looking forward to touring together. Evanescence and Chevelle have toured together before, and they had a happy reunion not long ago in South Carolina.
    “There is nothing better than touring and having relationships with bands,” Pete Loeffler said. “When it’s really segregated, it’s obviously not nearly as much fun. This is going to be a fun tour. We all know each other. We’ll be bumping into each other and fighting over the last Hot Pocket. It’ll be fun.”
    Hale, acknowledging she works in the male-dominated genre of hard rock music, said she’s looking forward to being on tour with another band fronted by a woman.
    “Amy, I’m sure I’ll pass you in the hallway and say, ‘Check out my shoes,’” Hale said.
    “It’s a nice, rare thing to be on tour with another female,” Lee said.

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