Interview with Evanescence Guitarist Jen Majura By Thomas Amoriello Jr.
Posted by NinaBRR on January 25 2020 07:18:47

Family Affair

Interview with Evanescence Guitarist Jen Majura

By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

Boston Rock Radio

                                                 

 

Around the turn of the millennium, the Amy Lee fronted Evanescence hit the big time with various radio and MTV hits such as Bring Me to Life, Call Me When You're Sober, Sweet Sacrifice and My Immortal followed by GRAMMY awards and sales in excess of 20 million units.  The goth-inspired hard rock song oriented compositions featured memorable chorus hooks, lush dynamics via intertwined distorted guitars, keyboards topped with sometimes powerful, sometimes ethereal vocals.  Fast-forward with various lineup changes, extended hiatuses, Amy Lee solo projects and the band is about to start its third decade.  Today we hear the story of how one of the newer members of Evanescence came to be a part of the family.  Boston Rock Radio would like to thank German guitarist Jen Majura for this exclusive interview.  

 

So in August of 2015 is was official that you were now a part of the Evanescence family.  The group has an international following and it is easy to say that this is a coveted gig to have.  What kind of audition process did you go through and did you have any reservations about joining the band?

Funny enough I didn’t audition at all.  I know it sounds weird because most of the times you’d imagine a studio rehearsal room with the band members and all the different musicians one after another would come in to audition. I received an email from their management and that they would kindly like to ask if I was interested.  Immediately I replied YES!  The next day I was on a phone call with Amy and 3 days after that I found myself on a plane on my way to New York City to meet up with her. We spent some days together, walked around in the city, went to dinner, had great conversations and laughs, checked out music stores etc. I like to quote Rob Zombie who said the following in the movie Hired Gun, "It is easy to replace a band member with an excellent musician, the world is full of awesome talented musicians. But then you gotta find somebody who is cool enough to be on stage in front of thousands of people - that limits it down to a smaller group. And then you gotta find someone who you can stand to be around 24/7 and that shrinks down the list to just a handful of people.”  In the end a show is only 90 minutes, so what about the other 22.5 hours on tour EVERYDAY!? Amy and I clicked immediately realizing we have a lot in common and that was it.  In a music store we sat down with acoustic guitars and she said, "Jen, you got the gig!" 

 

 

Amy Lee has been the primary songwriter and leader of the group since the late 1990's.  What have you learned from her thus far from a "bandleader" point of view that you feel sets her apart from others?

Amy’s work attitude is really strong and she knows exactly what she wants, that alone speaks for her years of experience in the music industry as well as a composer and musician. I’ve been working with bands before I joined Evanescence and the one thing I have to say over and over again is that Amy has the talent to create an honest warm family feel, not only with the band, but also the crew and as far as it comes to the Evanescence group.  We are all one big family and I am well aware of the fact that this can be a rare thing to find in the business.

 

The drummer of Evanescence, Will Hunt, is a highly respected and in demand session drummer who has worked with some talented guitarists such as yourself, Zakk Wylde, Gus G, and Michael Sweet.  Do you get a chance to do some impromptu "jamming" with him during sound checks and rehearsals?

Will is a phenomenal groove monster and it happened already during rehearsals that I missed playing my part because I stood there so fascinated by his drum performance, haha. During sound checks we usually never "jam" unless just a few bars for fun. Whenever I play music, trade shows and exhibitions such as MusikMesse, NAMM or Music Park for Ibanez, Synergy or other companies I work with, I always try to get Will on the billing as well so we would end up performing some Evanescence songs together. He is one hell of a drummer!

 

 

You are also a guitar teacher in Germany and have been so for many years.  Will this always be a part of your life for years to come whether the lessons are in person, Skype, or master class and clinic settings?

The actual act of teaching warms my heart. That moment when your students get that smile on their face, the moment of success when they manage to play a difficult piece correctly, the joy you can see in their eyes - that’s what I enjoy the most about teaching. I own a music school here in Germany. We teach all the instruments and I have the coolest group of teachers and whenever I am not touring, I try my best to offer lessons there. It keeps me down to earth.  It keeps me grateful and reminds me to appreciate the life that I am allowed to live.

 

 

You have been loyal to the Ibanez company for some time playing a variety of their RG and Jem models.  Do you plan to do some designing with the corporation in the future for a Jen Majura signature model with your specs?  

Talk to my Ibanez guys - I would love to hahahaha

 

Do you have any solo recordings or continued projects away from Evanescence currently in the works?

As you probably know I have released 2 solo albums.  My second solo album, inZENity was released Nov 2017. These days I am working on a smaller side project called "Something On 11" together with another guitar player friend of mine named Alen Brentini from Croatia. We recorded 8 songs already and plan to put out a super exclusive crowd funder soon for people to pre-order the album. "Something On 11" is about breaking the mainstream rules, instrumental songs, but also both of us singing, songs with a drum solo in the middle of the track, songs with a guitar melody line instead of a chorus with lyrics. It is fun and a good creative outlet for everything crazy in a musician’s brain.

 

What will be the big moments that will keep you busy musically speaking for 2020?

In January I’ll be flying to Los Angeles again to once more attend NAMM, which is always a highlight of the year. I’m looking forward to my performances for Fishman, D’Addario and Synergy Amps.  For what I am really excited about is our upcoming Evanescence European Tour together with our friends of Within Temptation this spring. That will be awesome! At the same time we are working on the new Evanescence album and if I ever decide to take a day off again, I could put some thought in to maybe starting to write for my 3rd solo album!

 

http://www.evanescence.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Evanescence/

https://www.facebook.com/jenmajuraofficial/

https://www.facebook.com/SomethingOn11/

 

Boston Rock Radio Guest Contributor Thomas Amoriello Jr. is a heavy metal guitarist, children's picture book author, educator and recording artist who resides in Lambertville, New Jersey, USA. You can learn more about Tom at  https://thomasamoriello.com