It might seem surprising, but when Evanescence guitarist Jen Majura first auditioned for the Amy Lee-led rockers, she didn't even bring her axe. Moreover, Testament's Alex Skolnick helped her get the gig.
The musician reflected on those fateful events in a recent interview with Guitar World alongside her Evanescence co-shredder, Troy McLawhorn. In March, Evanescence drop their first album in over three years, The Bitter Truth — it's also their first of all-new material in almost a decade.
But before Majura joined the group in 2015, she was touring around with other acts until a chance meeting with Skolnick started the chain of events that would lead to her current position.
"What happened was that I was playing bass in another band," Majura recalled, "not really being happy as I'm a guitar player. We happened to play two festivals, one in Germany and one in the Czech Republic. And it turns out Testament were playing the same days as us."
"I'm a huge Alex Skolnick fan," the musician continued, "so we ended up talking and keeping in touch. A couple of days later, I got this very mysterious email from him saying, 'Jen! Some friends of mine are going to contact you and I can't reveal too much but I think it's something you should say yes to!' I was wondering what the hell he was talking about."
What Majura would soon find out is that Skolnick was referring to Evanescence, the group who found fame starting with 2003's Fallen and hit singles such as "Bring Me to Life" and "My Immortal."
"A day later, I got this email from Evanescence's management asking if I would be interested in — and I didn't even finish reading the email," Majura explained. "I just immediately replied 'Yes!' … The next evening I was on the phone with Amy talking. She invited me to come visit her in New York and hang out. I thought, 'Okay, cool!' and three days later I was on a plane."
There was only one hiccup, however — the musician didn't bring a guitar with her on the trip. But it was no matter. It turned out the Evanescence try-out was more of a personality audition than a musical one.
"I asked her if I needed to bring one," Majura remembered, "and she said, 'Nah, I know you can play, I've seen plenty of videos — let's just hang out!' And that's what we did. … Hanging out, long walks and talks, going out for dinner or to a concert. Becoming friends and getting to know each other."
Majura replaced guitarist Terry Balsamo, who himself supplanted Evanescence co-founder Ben Moody. Now, she's part of the outfit that also includes Lee, McLawhorn, bassist Tim McCord and drummer Will Hunt.
Evanescence's The Bitter Truth comes out on March 26.