LiveScope.co interviewed Ben from the band Breaking Benjamin back in May. They were currently on tour with Godsmack and Cold and plan to take some time off then record a new record. Below is the interview with Ben – find out what he does before a show, the highs and lows of touring, and much more.
LiveScope.co: How’s the tour going so far with Godsmack and Cold?
Ben Burnley: So far so good. We are 3 weeks into it.
LiveScope.co: Crowd Response?
BEN BURNLEY: Nobody’s like thrown anything at us or anything yet.
LIVESCOPE.CO: Since you’ve been touring, Breaking Benjamin has played bigger arenas as well as smaller club shows. What do you prefer playing?
BEN BURNLEY: I really don’t know because I’ve never headlined in an arena. So maybe if I headlined I would like it better cause I could be more personable. But right now I’d have to say clubs just because we’ve been able to hold our own and everybody is there to see us. It is cool to be able to do something like this with Godsmack. I don’t know if you follow the history of our band, but we used to be a cover band that played some of Godsmacks songs.
LIVESCOPE.CO: Do you play any cover songs on this tour?
BEN BURNLEY: Nah, but when we play our headlining shows on the day off we will throw in a Tool song. We play Anemia, we know Stinkfist, and Undertow.
LIVESCOPE.CO: Stinkfist would be cool.
BEN BURNLEY: Yeah, we haven’t busted that one out in awhile though so we’d have to go over it first.
LIVESCOPE.CO: Any shows at the Staircase? (Staircase is a club located in their home town of Wilkes-Barre,PA)
BEN BURNLEY: Yeah, I think we’re going to play one right when we get back.
LIVESCOPE.CO: This tour going through First Union Arena in Wilkes-Barre,PA?
BEN BURNLEY: No, just a rumor. I wish…
LIVESCOPE.CO: What are the bands plans for the future?
BEN BURNLEY: After this tour, we’re going to take some time off and then eventually write a new record. We’re going to release one more single, which will be Medicate. It depends on how that does, if it happens to blow up and get really big then obviously we would go on tour. That’s just a lottery pot shot though. It will help move some records and stuff but I don’t know if it will blow up that big. But that seems to be how our label works, its like real quick like that, one album after the next.
LIVESCOPE.CO: Skin has been getting a lot of airplay lately.
BEN BURNLEY: Skin is a radio thing and it doesn’t go over that great live. I mean, we play it good, but it’s just the crowd, especially on a tour like this; we have to play our heaviest shit. So, it really doesn’t fit in to that mix but it does well on the radio. It shows another side of what we can do.
LIVESCOPE.CO: On the current tour, do you change up the set list at all?
BEN BURNLEY: Ya know, the guys want to, but I don’t want to because you’re in a different city everyday and I like to get it to the point where I know what’s coming next ya know? Right now it’s just the way the songs are ordered it flows pretty nicely so why fix it if it ain’t broke?
LIVESCOPE.CO: Going back to the new record, is the new song “Breakdown” going to be on the new record?
BEN BURNLEY: Yeah, Breakdown will be on the new record. It just needs to be tweaked. But we’ve always done shit like that whenever we write something, we play it live. People don’t know what to do, they just like bop their head because they don’t know the song at all. Over the internet, I’ve heard some good things about it.
LIVESCOPE.CO: Yeah, people have been talking on the boards lately about that song as well as what the next single should be. It has been a pretty been debate. Some people want a song like “Next to Nothing” and others want a heavy song like “Shallow Bay”.
BEN BURNLEY: Yeah, that’s what I want. But radio is a weird world man. You never know if it will do well but I feel Shallow Bay is a safe bet because it does so well live so why wouldn’t it do well on the radio.
LIVESCOPE.CO: So, ultimately Hollywood records has the say in what singles are put out?
BEN BURNLEY: Nah, if I wanted to put it out I could throw a hissy fit and be like “I’m not gunna play if you don’t release that” you know what I mean man? I’m at the point where we’ve sold a decent amount of records, so even if we stopped right now I would be content. We’ve outsold a lot of bands that I didn’t even think we would. Like Chevelle on their first record, we’ve probably sold the same amount.
LIVESCOPE.CO: And look at Chevelle’s new record now…
BEN BURNLEY: Yeah they’re totally huge. It’s like a slapback, so our second record would come out and we would get more exposure and then we’d get a slapback which means people would buy our first record too. We worked really hard on Saturate and obviously any band that records a record works hard on it but we definitely had high expectations for it. Not that it didn’t do well but it didn’t reach my expectations. I can’t complain being a band from PA selling 200,000 records shipped.
LIVESCOPE.CO: Will you be using the same producer on the new album, Ulrich Wild?
BEN BURNLEY: We feel like making records is like making a movie. We’re the actors and the producer is like the director. You don’t use the same director for every movie, so we feel like that about our records.
LIVESCOPE.CO: Do you think the next record will progress into a different kind of sound?
BEN BURNLEY: I don’t know about that. The songs follow pretty much the same formula. I think that we’re on to something, we’ve discovered our sound. So I think we’re just going to expand on that but there will be some stuff on it that will be a little different. But, it will still be heavy and melodic. That’s what Breakdown is like and there will be some ballads.
LIVESCOPE.CO: What do you do before a show, after the show, any kind of rituals?
BEN BURNLEY: I’ve partied so much and been on tour so long that I can’t really do it anymore. I partied last night, and now I feel like crap. But, we were on tour with hed(PE) and Salavia right before this and we were only home for about 5 days before we left for this tour so basically; we’ve never stopped touring. So, it kind of wears you down as far as the party scene goes. But, I do watch Godsmack every night. If I don’t watch they’re whole set, they do this drum thing in the middle so I always watch that at least. Before the show, I usually yell a little bit and see how my throat is. Then, I chew a piece of gum and drink some Gatorade and then go out there and tear it up. Come off stage, wait about a half and hour, smoke a cigarette then I go watch some Godsmack.
LIVESCOPE.CO: What music have you been listening to lately? Any new music that stands out?
BEN BURNLEY: I just got the new Deftones record. I got mine yesterday cause a buddy of mine works at a record store so he hooked me up. I also have the new Evanescence.
LIVESCOPE.CO: Didn’t you play with them?
BEN BURNLEY: We didn’t play with them, we played at the same festival at the second stage right after them. It was weird, it was like right when the band was done, the second band started. Boom, right away the next band would play. It was funny because when we started there was a decent amount of people. I’m doing my thing, then I look up and there is all these people that ran over from the other stage. Radio shows, I don’t know why, they are just so much fun and all the kids were jumping up and down and it was just so cool. That was definitely the best show I can remember in awhile.
LIVESCOPE.CO: Who would you tour with living or dead if you had the chance?
BEN BURNLEY: Nirvana. Definitely. Kurt.
LIVESCOPE.CO: What would you be doing if you weren’t in the band?
BEN BURNLEY: I’d like to do something in the video game industry. I’d test or review whatever. Anything that has something to do with it I would enjoy. Or, I’d be in a shitty cover band somewhere.