EVANESCENCE: Interview Controversy Leads To Product Recall

EVANESCENCE's record label, Wind-Up Records, has officially recalled the group's products from Christian stores, Christian radio, and Christian charts, citing "recent statements by band members [which] have made it abundantly clear that EVANESCENCE is a secular band."

In a letter dated Thursday, April 10, Alan Meltzer, the Chairman and Owner of Wind-Up Records, explained the decision, stating, "Despite having roots within the Christian community prior to the release of 'Fallen', recent statements by band members have made it abundantly clear that EVANESCENCE is a secular band, and as such view their music as entertainment. No more, no less. As such we strongly feel that they no longer belong in Christian retail outlets. Despite the spiritual underpinning that has ignited interest and excitement in the Christian religious community, the band is now opposed to promoting or supporting any religious agenda. The decision to release 'Fallen' into the Christian market was made subsequent to discussions with and approval by the artist. Obviously the band has had a change in their perspective, as well as changes within the band itself as relates to new band members. Wind-Up deeply regrets this situation."

Meltzer's comments concluded with the following. "I have no issues or problems with the band not wishing to promote a religious agenda. That is their opinion. How it has been handled is a separate issue. That being said, I do have a problem with misrepresenting the artist to the Christian community. That is not and has never been the intent of Wind-Up or the band. Nevertheless, it is quite apparent that the landscape has now changed... I apologize for what has become an unfortunate and embarrassing situation. While I cannot go back and undo what has been done, going forward we will scrutinize our Christian artists' beliefs and commitment with even greater diligence. I assure you that there will not be any repeat of anything even resembling this present situation. I will personally inform all of our future artists who represent themselves as Christian artists and wish to be represented in the Christian community that in doing so they must understand the lasting and on-going commitment that involves. Those who are not 100% committed will not be offered to Christian retail."

According to Robin Parrish of Christian Music Central, the "recent statements" that Meltzer speaks of is likely a reference to this week's edition of Entertainment Weekly, which has a feature article on the group. In the article, band member (and professing Christian) Ben Moody uses the "f"-word and takes Christ's name in vain multiple times.

This comes in contrast to past comments made by Moody. In "Fallen"'s liner notes, he thanked (among others) Jesus Christ, saying, "All the life left in me is you." In an interview given to Stranger Things magazine in 2002, Moody stated, "The message we as a band want to convey more than anything is simple - God is Love." Yet now, according to the EW article, Moody and Lee consider discussions of their faith in early interviews to be "youthful indiscretions."

Before they were signed to Wind-Up Records, EVANESCENCE had a history as an underground independent group in the Christian Music scene. But some are interpreting the group's latest comments as an effort to not only distance itself from Christian Music, but even Christianity itself.

"We're actually high on the Christian charts," said Ben Moody in the EW article, "and I'm like, 'What the fuck are we even doing there?'" Vocalist Amy Lee added, "I guarantee that if the Christian bookstore owners listened to some of those songs, they wouldn't sell the CD . . . There are people hell-bent on the idea we're a Christian band in disguise, and that we have some secret message. We have no spiritual affiliation with this music. It's simply about life experience."

As a result of these comments, many Christian radio stations and charts have already pulled "Bring Me To Life" from their play lists, virtually overnight.

Christian stores reportedly have until June 30, 2003 to remove all EVANESCENCE products from their shelves.

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