BreakingBenjamin, a hard-rock/alternative rock band from Pennsylvania, formed in 2000with vocalist/guitarist Benjamin Burnley, guitarist Aaron Fink, bassist MarkJames Klepaski, and drummer Jeremy Hummel (Henderson). As seen in the interviewon YouTube “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Breaking Benjamin,” the band acquired their name fromvocalist Benjamin Burnley. Burnley was originally in a previous band calledPlan 9, but ‘broke off’ from the band to come intoBreaking Benjamin. Their first album, Saturate,was released on January 1st, 2002, with their second album We Are Not Alone being released on June29th, 2004 (iTunes).
Before long, band member Jeremy Hummel wasreplaced by Chad Szeliga (Henderson). In this time period, they marketedthemselves through video games. VP of marketing at Hollywood Rob Souriallteamed up with Breaking Benjamin to release 11 tracks from their first twoalbums in the video game ‘TRON2.0′(Traiman). The band has been influenced byPearl Jam, Nirvana, Korn, Tool, and others (Henderson). In 2006, the bandintroduced their 3rd album, Phobia,which quickly became debuted at album #2 on the Billboard charts (Henderson).The band headlined on a nationwide tour, alongside acts Evans Blue and DroppingDaylight (Henderson).
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When the band returned from tour, they quickly dived intowriting their fourth album, Dear Agony,which was released in 2009 (iTunes). This album was followed by more touring,alongside big-name acts Three Days Grace and Nickelback. Chad Szeliga left theband shortly after tour due to musical differences (Henderson). BenjaminBurnley however announced that the band would continue as a quintet, and onJune 23rd, 2015, released their most recent album, Dark Before Dawn (iTunes). To date, the band has sold over 7million copies of all of their records (Rutherford).
During the period whichthey teamed up with VP of marketing at Hollywood Rob Souriall to release theirtracks in the video game TRON 2.0 (the year 2002), the band signed withHollywood Records (Traiman). With the release of their debut album Saturate, the band reached No. 2 on theBillboard charts (Henderson). Their second album We Are Not Alone reached No. 20 on the Billboard charts, Phobia reached No 2. On the charts, Dear Agony reached No. 4 on theBillboard charts, and Dark Before Dawn was their first album to reach No.
1 onthe Billboard charts (Henderson). What first got the band attentionwas when a DJ played their single “Polyamorous”frequently on a station (Henderson). The song soon became the #1 requestedtrack on the station, and the band was signed in 2002 to Hollywood Records.
AfterSaturate was released and the bandbegan working on We Are Not Alone, Burnleyworked alongside Billy Corgan, front man of The Smashing Pumpkins to writesongs for the new album (Henderson). The release of this album was a struggleboth personally and financially for all members of the band. Drummer JeremyHummel filed a lawsuit against the band, claiming that Burnley had wronglyterminated him (Rutherford).
The lawsuit was settled in 2006, during the timewhen Phobia was being worked on.After his departure, Burnley auditioned 15 drummers for the band, and choseChad Szeliga for his outstanding ability on stage (Rutherford). The main themeof the album was centered around Burnley’s many phobias with driving anxiety, deathanxiety, fear of flying, and fear of the dark (Rutherford). The album had somuch success that bands like Three Days Grace, Skillet, Red, Puddle of Mudd,and Seether joined them on tour in the fall of 2007 (Henderson). In 2009 whenthe band began working on Dear Agony,fans learned that this was the first album that Burnley wrote while being ‘completelysober’ (Henderson). The album cover is a photo of Burnley’sbrain scan, which is a representation of his illnesses due to being analcoholic (Rutherford).
The album was a huge success, but was followed by a fewyears of hiatus. It was not until 2015 that the band released their newest albumDark Before Dawn (iTunes). The albumhas been mainly met with only positive reviews, and during an interview whilebeing on tour this year, the band revealed that they have finished a 6thalbum titled Ember that has a pendingrelease date (iTunes). What makes this band my favorite isthe feeling I get when I listen to them. I can feel through the guitar riffshow much pain they are feeling, or the kind of regret they are experiencing, orthe struggles that they face, or the anger that they have.
No other band haswritten lyrics that have had such an impact on me. It wasn’t until I listened to their songsthat I began to really question the meaning behind the words that an artistsings. This was when I was 13 years old, as an 8th grademiddle-schooler. Now, as a 21 year-old college student, I have a greatercapacity to appreciate everything they’veever written, because I understand more in-depth the messages that they aretrying to get across.