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In late 2000, guitarist Aaron Fink and bassist Mark James Klepaski made a surprising and unexpected decision: they left Lifer, analternativemetal band that was signed to Universal and was gaining commercial acceptance. Fink and Klepaski departed Lifer(which was originally calledStrangers with Candy) so that they could join forces with singer Ben Burnley and drummer JeremyHummel and form Breaking Benjamin. Whywould Fink and Klepaski leave a band that had a contract with Universal to form a newalternative rock band that, at the time, was unsigned?According to Breaking Benjamin's press releases, ...read more
In late 2000, guitarist Aaron Fink and bassist Mark James Klepaski made a surprising and unexpected decision: they left Lifer, analternativemetal band that was signed to Universal and was gaining commercial acceptance. Fink and Klepaski departed Lifer(which was originally calledStrangers with Candy) so that they could join forces with singer Ben Burnley and drummer JeremyHummel and form Breaking Benjamin. Whywould Fink and Klepaski leave a band that had a contract with Universal to form a newalternative rock band that, at the time, was unsigned?According to Breaking Benjamin's press releases, the ex-members of Liferhad so much faith in Burnley's songwriting talents that they werewilling to take a gamble and uproot themselves. So in late 2000,Breaking Benjamin got started with a four-man lineup that consisted ofBurnley on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Fink on leadguitar, Klepaski on bass, and Hummel on drums. Breaking Benjamin wasn't the firsttime that Fink had worked with Burnley; he hadknown the singer since high school. All four members of the band are from Wilkes-Barre,asmall town in northeastern Pennsylvania.(Philadelphia and its suburbs are considered southeastern Pennsylvania..
When Breaking Benjamin started playing around Wilkes-Barre, they were far from a carbon copy of Lifer -- instead, they favored aradio-friendly post-grunge approach that was aggressive and forceful yet melodic. The band's various influences include, amongothers, Live, Bush,Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and Nirvana. Burnley has been quoted as saying that at age 14, he taughthimself to play guitar by listening toNirvana's seminal 1991 release Nevermind over and over. Korn and Tool have also beencited as influences, but unlike Korn, BreakingBenjamin doesn't have strong hip-hop leanings and isn't quite alternative metal --hard alternative rock, certainly, but not quite alternativemetal. However, that isn't to say that Breaking Benjamin hasn't beeninfluenced by certain aspects of Korn's sound. The Pennsylvanians doincorporate the sort of choppy, downtuned guitars that arequite prevalent in alternative metal, and even though Breaking Benjamin has a lotin common with post-grunge bands like Creed,Default, Cinema8, and Third Eye Blind, they tend to be a bit heavier.
In 2001, Breaking Benjamin's Wilkes-Barre gigs caught the attention of a local radio DJ named Freddie Fabbri, who was an on-airpersonalityat alternative rock station WBSX-FM. Fabbri put their song 'Polyamorous' in rotation, and he also financed the recordingof their self-titleddebut EP -- which, in 2001, ended up selling about 2,000 copies in and around Wilkes-Barre. It was also in 2001that Breaking Benjamin signedwith Hollywood Records, which united the band with Ulrich Wild (a busy producer/engineer who hasworked with Powerman 5000, StabbingWestward, White Zombie, Static-X, Pantera, Slipknot, and quite a few others). Wild servesas both producer and engineer on BreakingBenjamin's first full-length album, Saturate, which Hollywood released in August2002. We Are Not Alone followed two years later,complete with a few collaborations with Billy Corgan; the band landed aprimo spot on the Evanescence tour in support of the effort, as threeof the album's singles made their way onto the Billboardcharts ('So Cold' and 'Sooner or Later' both peaked at number two in MainstreamRock).
Breaking Benjamin issued their third album, Phobia, in August 2006 before heading out on nationwide headlining dates withEvans Blueand Dropping Daylight in tow. The album featured new drummer Chad Szeliga and was spearheaded by the single 'TheDiary of Jane', whichquickly heated up airwaves and helped the album debut at number two on the Billboard charts. Phobiawas reissued that fall withadditional bonus tracks, while the band continued touring alongside Godsmack. After the tour, BreakingBenjamin dove back into the studio tobegin work on their fourth full-length. The resulting Dear Agony, fueled by the firstsingle 'I Will Not Bow', arrived in the summer of2009. « hide
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