High Five: Ben Burnley

Breaking Benjamin.
Breaking Benjamin.

After a stressful five years dealing with personal illness and a lawsuit against his former bandmates, Ben Burnley (above center) has finally brought Breaking Benjamin out of what was an indefinite hiatus. With new members and a new perspective, the band has had its most successful year. Its latest effort, “Dark Before Dawn,” shot to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Top 200 during the week of its release; “Failure,” the lead single, continues to dominate rock radio, and even as a second single, “Angels Fall,” has grabbed the No. 10 spot. The multi-platinum band plays the House of Blues on Friday. “It’s been a roller coaster ride to get back here,” Burnley says, “but we’re so excited to be back, playing the music we love.” Given the turbulence he’s weathered in recent years, we asked him to name five things that helped him through the tough times.

Nirvana “As a kid, these guys not only helped me emotionally but made me figure out what I wanted to do. Cobain was never forceful of his music. He never pushed it on his fans. He let the music speak for itself. I found myself revisiting them while I was going through what I was going through.”

Family “My mother and my incredible wife helped me so much. They kept me straight. It’s hard to look at the things that are great in your life when we go through dark [expletive]. Now that the worst is over, I appreciate every day what they’ve done for me.”


Son “My son is my inspiration for everything I do now. He’ll be a year old soon. Everything I do, I do for his future. He keeps me focused. If you look on our album cover, you can see his sonogram in the clouds. His heartbeat is also the beat for our song ‘Dawn.’ His inspiration is all throughout this new album.”

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The New Band “The guys aren’t just bandmates; they’re my best friends, too. They really make this return the best experience of my life. I had wanted these guys in my band for a while, so when the time came to get back at it, the question of who to hire wasn’t a question at all — I knew who I wanted in the band.”

Hometown “I think where we come from always shapes us. I’m from Ocean City, New Jersey, and growing up there will always have a special place in my heart. It shaped me more than I realized at first. After being away for 25 years, I’ve finally been able to come back recently, and it’s meant the world to me.”

Breaking Benjamin performs with Young Guns at the House of Blues on Friday at 7 p.m. Resale tickets only, prices vary.

Mackenzie Cummings-Grady can be reached at