Breaking Benjamin is an American rock band from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, consisting of Benjamin Burnley, Aaron Fink, Mark Klepaski and Chad Szeliga. The band has released four albums to date. Their music is most often classified as alternative rock, and post-grunge.
Before Breaking Benjamin was formed, Ben Burnley had earned money by playing cover songs in various coffee houses as a solo artist under his own name, "Benjamin". He later came up with the band's name, "Breaking Benjamin," after doing a performance of a Nirvana cover. At the end of the performance, Ben knocked over and cracked a microphone he had borrowed. The owner of the microphone walked onto the stage and said, "I'd like to thank Benjamin for breaking my fucking microphone."
In 1998, Burnley and current lead guitarist Aaron Fink, got together (along with Nick Hoover and Chris Lightcap) and started the band Breaking Benjamin. Eventually Ben wanted to try something different and went out to California to try some new material. Ben Burnley soon moved back to Pennsylvania and started a band called Plan 9 with drummer Jeremy Hummel. Originally the band was a 3-piece. The lineup consisted of Ben on vocals and guitar, Jeremy behind the kit, and Jason Divoli on bass. Plan 9 would occasionally open for Lifer at home shows. During one show, Ben said "Thank you, we’re Breaking Benjamin," and thus reclaiming the name from 1998.
Breaking Benjamin signed to Hollywood Records in early 2002 after the success of an independently-released, self-titled EP, which sold all 2,000 copies that were manufactured. The band then released their full-length, major-label debut, "Saturate", on August 27, 2002. The album peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers Chart and at 136 on the Billboard Top 200.
The album's first single, "Polyamorous", received a fair amount of radio play, although it failed to reach mainstream audiences. A video was released in three different versions for "Polyamorous": one that had all live-action footage, and one that had footage of the video game Run Like Hell. The third was a variation of the non-live action video, but instead of scenes from Run Like Hell, it has scenes of people in flirtatious acts.
The second single from "Saturate" was "Skin", which fared even worse than "Polyamorous". Burnley has been known to state his disdain for the song during live performances and has the crowd sing the words as the band plays. This is due to Hollywood Records choosing it as the main single instead of the band's choice, "Medicate".
They had planned on releasing a studio version of their cover of "Enjoy the Silence" along with "Lady Bug" on the European version of "Saturate. However, the European version was never released. "Lady Bug" was eventually released on the "So Cold EP", and on the Japanese version of We Are Not Alone.
Breaking Benjamin released their second album, "We Are Not Alone", on June 29, 2004. The album featured the lead off single "So Cold", which reached number two on the United States Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. The band had two music videos made for "So Cold" one of which was a promotional video for the movie "Hellboy". "So Cold" spent 37 weeks in the top 20 of the Billboard charts (as of February 3, 2005).
Also released as singles from the album were "Sooner or Later" and a re-recorded, full band version of "Rain", which was featured on later pressings of the album. A music video was made for "Sooner or Later" as it got a fair amount of radio play reaching number two on the Mainstream Rock Charts. The track was also performed live on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno".
Kevin Soffera was the drummer that Jeremy suggested as a fill in while was unable to play with the band due to the birth of his child. Kevin filled in for Jeremy from August until September 2004. Kevin appears on the recordings of The Conan O’Brien show and The Carson Daly Show as well as on the So Cold EP performing the songs Away and Breakdown. In September 2004, drummer, and founding member of Breaking Benjamin, Jeremy Hummel was fired. Subsequently, on September 28, 2005, Hummel filed a federal lawsuit against the remaining members of Breaking Benjamin, as well as its management, claiming he was not paid for songs he helped write. Hummel's lawsuit asked for more than $8 million in damages. An article was released October 25, 2006, stating that Hummel does not receive any payments from the making of "We Are Not Alone" in which he co-authored. After Kevin was finished with his duties as a fill-in for Jeremy, the band brought Ben "B.C." Vaught into the band to fill in as their drummer. B.C. was with the band until the band hired Chad Szeliga in early 2005. The track "Firefly" was featured in the "Smackdown Vs. Raw" video game, released on November 2004.
The tracks "Rain", "Forget It" and "Follow" were all co-written by the guitarist and vocalist of The Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Corgan. Ben Burnley and Billy Corgan's collaboration took place for six days in December. Burnley admitted he was, at first, nervous to work with Corgan, but later felt comfortable and called the experience one of the highlights of his career. Later in 2004, the band released the "So Cold EP".
We Are Not Alone achieved platinum status in mid 2005 which led to the platinum edition of We Are Not Alone being released featuring the full band version of "Rain".
Breaking Benjamin released "Phobia" on August 8, 2006, heading off the album with the single "The Diary of Jane", which made it to #4 on the U.S. Modern Rock Charts.
On February 11, 2007, HDNet premiered a one-hour show of the Breaking Benjamin concert in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania at Stabler Arena. This is also the concert that was included on the "Phobia" re-release DVD in April 2007, advertised as "The Homecoming". The band obtained their first number 1 billboard single with "Breath". Footage of the band's live Stabler Arena performance of "Breath" comprises the song's music video. On April 17, 2007, Breaking Benjamin re-released the album "Phobia". The album featured a DVD with about an hour of their Stabler Arena concert footage. They completed a co-headlining tour in the United States with Three Days Grace and had Red and Puddle of Mudd as openers. The album re-entered the Billboard 100 at number 38 on May 5, 2007 with its reissue.
On June 29, 2007, the band appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and performed "Breath". On July 6, 2007, the band performed "Breath" again on "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson". The band did not perform as scheduled on July 9, 2007 at the Tabernacle in Atlanta due to an illness that Ben had. Two other concerts wrapping up their tour (in Myrtle Beach, SC on July 10 and Greensboro, NC on July 11) were cancelled as well. On their website, they announced that Burnley was ill and unable to perform in Atlanta and at the two remaining shows. Rumors that the band was breaking up turned out to be false, as the band announced a 36-date fall 2007 tour with Three Days Grace, Seether, Skillet (first half) and Red (second half).
On May 21, 2009 Phobia reached RIAA Platinum status, selling over one million units in the U.S.
David Bendeth who produced the band's last two studio efforts, "We Are Not Alone" and "Phobia", produced Breaking Benjamin's 4th studio album, "Dear Agony". On their MySpace blog, Breaking Benjamin stated, "We are busy crafting the new material and have several songs ready for the Bendeth production treatment." Jasen Rauch, guitarist for Red, co-wrote four of the new tracks including "I Will Not Bow", "Hopeless", "Lights Out" and "Without You". He stated that he was getting no deadlines or pressure from the label on this album so he was taking his time.
On August 11, Breaking Benjamin's hometown radio station WBSX (97.9X) in Wilkes-Barre, PA debuted the album's first single, "I Will Not Bow". Due to the single being leaked, "I Will Not Bow" began streaming on their MySpace at 8PM eastern time on August 11. "I Will Not Bow" was released onto radio stations on August 17, and was released on iTunes on September 1. After a few days it became one of the top ten selling songs on iTunes, along with the album "Dear Agony". A music video for "I Will Not Bow" premiered on their MySpace on Friday, August 21.
On September 28, the album was officially released in Australia. On September 29, the album was officially released in the United States. Dear Agony purchased from Best Buy includes a bonus DVD of the band's six music videos, one of them being a previously-unreleased version of the video for "I Will Not Bow". The version on the DVD is of the band only and does not contain any footage from the film "Surrogates", unlike the version released online.
The band co-headlined a January-February 2010 tour of the US with "Three Days Grace" and "Flyleaf".
On January 5, 2010, "Give Me a Sign" was released as the second single off of "Dear Agony". Subsequently, the music video for "Give Me a Sign" was released on the band's MySpace page on March 10, 2010, which happened to be Ben Burnley's 32nd birthday.
As of February 16, 2010, "Dear Agony" has been certified Gold by the RIAA.
On June 15, 2010, the third single of "Dear Agony", "Lights Out", was released.
During the summer Ben played two solo acoustic shows with friend Aaron Bruch who is the bass player of Chad Szeliga's side project OurAfter. This was the first time "Forget It" and "Follow" were actually performed live. Benjamin also did some covers of Tool, Queen, Michael Jackson, Alice in Chains and Cyndi Lauper.
There has not been word yet from the band when they will start touring again.
• Benjamin Burnley - lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1998–Present)
• Aaron Fink - lead guitar (1998; 2001–Present)
• Mark Klepaski - bass guitar (2001–Present)
• Chad Szeliga - drums, percussion (2005–Present)
• Chris Lightcap - drums, percussion (1998)
• Nick Hoover - bass guitar (1998)
• Jonathan "Bug" Price - bass guitar, backing vocals (1998–2001)
• Jeremy Hummel - drums, percussion (2001–2004)
• Kevin Soffera - drums, percussion (live) (2004)
• Ben "B.C." Vaught - drums, percussion (live) (2004–2005)
Official Website: http://www.shallowbay.com/