Saturday, 30 January 2016 22:00

Breaking the Silence: Breaking Benjamin's Ben Burnley Rises from the Ashes with New Line-up

Written by  Dwayne Hoover
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Breaking Benjamin Breaking Benjamin PHOTO: Nicole Napier

Breaking Benjamin “Unplugged”
w/ Starset
The Orbit Room, Grand Rapids
Feb. 9, 7 p.m.
$40, $35 adv., (616) 942-1328

An abrupt end to touring in 2010 for alleged health reasons was the start of an implosion for the Pennsylvania-based rock band Breaking Benjamin.

What followed was a disagreement leading to a legal dispute and ultimately the group’s disbanding.

Despite the inner turmoil, founding member and frontman Ben Burnley assured fans it wasn’t the end. Several years of silence ensued but a new lineup was announced in 2014 and Breaking Benjamin began touring again. In June of 2015, a new album, Dark Before Dawn, was released, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts and lighting the way for the group’s successful return.

The band’s first tour of 2016 has them bringing its acoustic show across the U.S., including a stop at the Orbit Room in Grand Rapids.

“It’s stripped down, bare bones,” Burnley said. “There’s no way to mask what it is. A song, if you look at the dictionary definition, means something sung to. For me, the essence of a song is the chord structure and the vocals … It’s the vocal melody, the chorus and the feeling the vocals bring that really sets a song apart. It really gives it its identity.”

Historically, Burnley has taken on virtually all of the responsibility for songwriting, mostly due to necessity and not a desire to carry that burden alone. He said he would’ve been happy to have his mates contribute.

“I would generate the majority of songs in their entirety,” he said. “If I didn’t do it, it wouldn’t get done. I would never turn down an amazing song, to be a part of it or sing on it or whatever the case may be.”

Now armed with a new, handpicked lineup and renewed purpose, Burnley is eager to start down a new path.

“With the new members, I’ve heard some very amazing things,” he said. “I’m extremely excited about working with this band from the ground up, moving forward and not having beyond the lion’s share [of responsibility]. I’ve been doing that for so long. I’m ready to try a different way.”

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