EVANESCENCE Guitarist Says Headbanging On Stage Caused His Stroke

Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with EVANESCENCE guitarist Terry Balsamo. A few excerpts from the chat follow:

Ultimate-Guitar.com: You've been through a lot in the past year. How is your recovery going?

Terry: Yeah, I still have paralysis in my left arm and hand. I'm like at enough where I can get by on tour. Basically this tour is like therapy right now for me. I'm hoping it will get better, you know.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: You are so young to have something like a stroke happen to you. Do they doctors know what caused it?

Terry: When I went in the hospital, my whole left side was paralyzed. All of my vitals were fine, my blood pressure and cholesterol and all that crap. So they had no idea what was going on. They had to do an MRI. When they did the MRI, the doctor came back in the room and he was like, "Have you ever had any neck injuries like from a car accident or anything?" And I was like, "No." Then we were like, "Other than banging his head all day and every night for an hour and a half." I've always had weird thing in my neck doing that, but I never would have thought it would have given me a stroke.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: They think the headbanging is really what caused your stroke?

Terry: Yeah, they actually saw the clot in my artery in my neck.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: Through this all, it sounds like Amy Lee found a kindred spirit in you. When you started writing together, did you know immediately that the songwriting would flow so well?

Terry: When we started writing, we had no idea. When I started filling in, I was still in the group COLD. We were together touring and COLD was opening up for EVANESCENCE. Basically I came out after Ben (Moody) left and they asked if I'd fill in. I didn't plan on leaving COLD because I was still attached to the guys. We're all from the same city and we grew up together and all that kind of shit. When I came out, things were kind of bad in COLD. It wasn't too terrible, it's just things weren't going good. And obviously, things weren't going good with her and Ben. So when I came out, I kind of like brought this vibe of, "Let's have fun and forget all the bullshit that a lot of us have been through and all that crap." We really got along very well. Musically and influence-wise, we definitely had a lot of the same connections of stuff that she liked and I liked. We just basically got along really well together.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: What kind of musical influences do you and Amy share?

Terry: Well, that was another cool thing. I turned her on to a lot of stuff like PANTERA and that kind of shit. She turned me on to classical stuff and BJORK. So we threw it all together and made a record!

Ultimate-Guitar.com: Is there a certain process that you and Amy use in approaching songwriting together?

Terry: From the very first song on the record that we wrote, which was a song called "Snow White Queen", she basically sent me some kind of loops, drum beats, plus some melodies she had and some keyboard stuff over it. She was like, "If you can come up with anything…" Right after that, I came up with the chorus and all that. Every song was a little different. Some songs we would start with a bass line or a guitar line or a vocal line even, and then just kind of go from there. There was never any set way of doing anything.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: With the huge success of "Fallen", was the band intimidated by the idea of trying to write another batch of hit songs?

Terry: No. The pressure really never ever got to us because we had fun the entire time. It was kind of like, "It's either going to happen or it's not." We could do a fucking "Back In Black" record and it could bomb. You never know how it's going to work. It never really got to us. I think if anything, all those feelings just kind of fueled us in wanting to prove everybody wrong.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: In your thank-you notes on the new CD, you mention Dimebag Darrell. Did he have a big influence on your playing?

Terry: When PANTERA came out, I must have been like I guess 16 years old or something like that. When I saw them live, that was a night probably in my life where I was like, "I don't know if this is something I really want to keep doing or what the fuck I'm gonna do." But when I saw them live, it was like, "This is what I want to do forever."

Read the entire interview at Ultimate-Guitar.com.

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