The specter of Breaking Benjamin’s last album — 2004’s platinum “We Are Not Alone” — hung heavy over frontman Ben Burnley as he was writing songs for the Pennsylvania rock band’s new set, “Phobia.”
“I had my platinum record hanging on the wall,” Burnley, 28, says, “and I had to take it down ’cause I had a little case of writer’s block, and it was looming over my shoulder. It was like, ‘You have to do as good as me.’
“So I took it down and just cleared my head and realized that you can only do your best. If it’s not good enough, then it’s not good enough. I can’t make it go platinum; either it will or it won’t. The only thing I can do is go out and play.”
Burnley and his bandmates are certainly doing that in support of “Phobia,” which came out in early August and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. Burnley says the goal was to “just write a great record,” but there’s a string of heartbreak that runs throughout “Phobia” that, he acknowledges, often cuts close to home.
“I don’t want to say it’s, like, absolutely personal, but it’s based on facts,” he notes. “Everything is based on some kind of experience. Where else would it come from?
“But I try to be clever about it. I try to find a way to make it so it’s interesting to me, as far as being a storyteller. I don’t really like to explain what they’re about, really; I think that’s what songs do for themselves. That’s why you should listen to them.”
Breaking Benjamin, Evans/Blue and Dropping Daylight perform on Tuesday (October 17th) at Harpo’s, 14238 Harper, Detroit. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call (313) 779-9278 or visit
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