Evanescence co-founder Ben Moody, whose "Everything Burns" with Anastacia is the first single off the Fantastic Four soundtrack, is facing his demons on a solo debut set for release this fall.
"It's a rock record, but it's a lot more organic than stuff I've done in the past," says Moody. "When it's heavy, it's straight-ahead heavy."
Moody is producing the album, with Jay Baumgartner (Papa Roach) co-producing a handful of tracks, and he's recruited Godhead's Jason Miller to play guitar and sing lead vocals on a few tracks. Drummer Lance Garvin (Living Sacrifice), bassist Marty O'Brien (Tommy Lee, Methods of Mayhem) and guitarist Michael "Fish" Herring (Prince, Christina Aguilera) round out the lineup.
The cornerstone of the album is a song called "10/22," named after the fateful night in 2003 that he abruptly left Evanescence, the band he co-founded with Amy Lee, just as sales of its album, Fallen, climbed past the 10 million mark. "The funny thing is when I wrote it, I thought I was talking to Amy: 'Tell me again your fucked-up excuses,'" says Moody. "But I realized, as I was listening to it three weeks ago, that it's not about her at all. It's talking to myself, calling out my own bullshit."
Moody has not spoken to Lee since he left the band, but he says that his door is open. "I love her. I think she's great," says Moody, who was romantically involved with Lee in high school, long before Evanescence took off. "We both needed somebody to blame when it didn't turn out like we thought -- but it's time for us both to grow up. We had a great ride. Let's learn from the bad times, celebrate the good, and drink to everything in between."
Several of the fifteen songs Moody has demoed for his solo effort are about the turmoil he has gone through the past few years, "having to come to grips with my own anger and self-hatred and things that I tried to pin on Evanescence." Moody, who was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, confesses, "It goes much deeper than anything that came from being in a band."
Although he suspected a medical problem might be at the root of his trouble, Moody had resisted seeking help, afraid of the stigma mental illness can carry. "So instead of being medicated by a doctor, I medicated myself with anything I could drink or swallow or put up my nose," he admits. After leaving Evanescence suddenly that October day, he became "way worse," partying for pure "fun youthful debauchery." Moody decided it was time to confront his disorder -- and enter rehab.
When he was finally ready to return to music, he got a call from producer Don Gilmore, asking him to play guitar on Avril Lavigne's sophomore album, Under My Skin. He and Lavigne hit it off immediately and ended up writing the song "Nobody's Home" together. (Moody lifts up his sleeve to reveal her star logo tattooed on his arm; Lavigne has a matching one.) Shortly afterwards, he found himself writing for Kelly Clarkson's Breakaway, yielding the tracks "Because of You" and "Addicted."
Moody admits that it was Lavigne and Clarkson who gave him the guts to cut a solo album -- even though he'd never sung before. "They're the ones that just told me to buck up and get it done," he says. "So that's what I did."