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Fueled By death cast



Fueled By Death Cast Ep. 157 - Breaking Benjamin

SHAUN FOIST AND AARON BRUCH - BREAKING BENJAMIN

"So when you get out on stage and you see the fans, and they're smiling ear to ear, that's what it is, what it's all about.

 

 

HIGHLIGHT VIDEO

ABOUT BREAKING BENJAMIN:

Breaking Benjamin formed in 1999 and after finding success in the hard-rock musical landscape, hit some rough times internally and stop being a band in 2013. But a new lineup came together to reform the band in 2015 including Shaun Foist on drums and Aaron Bruch on bass and backing vocals. Shaun talks about how he started playing drums and was influenced by great players like Rush's Neil Pert, and Aaron describes what it is like to tour and perform with Breaking Benjamin and just how much the fans mean to the band members. Plus, we are all connected by mutual Zakk Wylde stories and a love of coffee.

TRANSCRIPT:

Jeff: Shaun.

Shaun: Yeah.

Jeff: Thanks so much for joining me in my studio.

Shaun: Thanks for having me, man.

Jeff: I'm so glad that you had a second to talk because you guys are super busy out on tour right now, as you were talking.

Shaun: Yeah.

Jeff: How's tour been going? I've got to start there.

Shaun: Well, it's just getting started. We've been out for like a week.

Jeff: Like a week, right? Yeah.

Shaun: So we're just now getting used to the routine. My schedule's already messed up. You know, going to bed at 3, 4 o'clock in the morning. Doing all that stuff. It's fun man.

Jeff: Yeah. And correct me if I'm wrong, is the entire tour you guys are doing with Three Days Grace and Chevelle, or are you switching it up?

Shaun: I believe so, but I want to say there's one or two shows that Chevelle's not on.

Jeff: I thought I saw that, too.

Shaun: Yeah, I'm not really sure.

Jeff: But I know not Three Days, like, you guys and Three Days are like brothers.

Shaun: Yeah.

Jeff: I see you guys on the road all the time together.

Shaun: Yeah, they are a good hang. Very nice, good people. And so is Chevelle. The whole tour's great. It's a great package.

Jeff: That's awesome, that's awesome. So, let's start here with Breaking Ben and you, because I mean, you joined in 2014.

Shaun: Correct.

Jeff: You've been with the band now for a while, cut a record, two records, with them. Right?

Shaun: Yes.

Jeff: Yeah. Two records with the band, how has it been joining... I always like understanding this from a musician's perspective, joining a project that already existed with a rabid fan base, with an incredible back catalog of songs that now you're adding to. What was that like joining up with this project?

Shaun: Nerve wracking.

Jeff: Really?

Shaun: With my whole life of playing drums in bands it was always pretty much bands that I started growing up.

Jeff: Okay, okay. You were there from day one.

Shaun: Yeah, you know, like "I'm starting this band, this is my band." There wasn't any added stress, it didn't matter if you really messed up or anything like that.

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: And then I ended up a few years before Breaking Ben, I played for Gregg Allman's daughter in a band. I was still like, "This is cool." Wasn't a huge band.

Jeff: Right.

Shaun: We did a couple tours that were bigger. But when I got the call for Breaking Ben, I'm like, "Oh, no." Like, "I can't mess up. I have to be perfect. These fans know all these songs."

Jeff: True.

Shaun: They're going to hear every little thing. So then I started a little, I'm like, "Oh, no. I've got to be good." So it changed because I was never a drummer that would get up on stage and be nervous, or worry about something like that until Breaking Ben. You get out there and you see all these people, and you're like, "Oh, okay."

Jeff: Oh, wow. So, walk me through that initial then, did you have a bunch of prep time before hitting the stage or was it like trial by fire?

Shaun: Oh, no. There was tons of prep time. When we first started we actually were in a law office building in Ocean City, New Jersey.

Jeff: Breaking Benjamin, we'll work for you.

Shaun: We were even sleeping in it, I don't really think that was legal. But we spent three or four months in this building as a band. And we slept there, ate there, rehearsed the set three times a day.

Jeff: Whoa.

Shaun: You know, you had guys in one room doing vocals, you had me in a room going over drums. It was like bootcamp.

Jeff: It's like rock and roll bootcamp, that's crazy.

Shaun: For real. And we were all just like, "Can we do this?" Because you're dealing with Ben, this professional guy, he wants what he wants.

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: He's been doing this forever.

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: And we're in the hot seat, you know. So, you had to be able to produce it right and go out there and play. But once we started going out there and playing the shows, and everyone started getting comfortable, then it just became second nature. Now we just don't really rehearse all that much, we'll come in a few days before the tour happens at the arena, play the set a couple times and go, "Okay, we're ready to go."

Jeff: Excellent. Well, I can tell you from a fan's standpoint that I think you were a perfect fit right from day one.

Shaun: Thanks.

Jeff: And you guys definitely all at this point are an oiled machine that just works like it's...

Shaun: That was it, I was going to say, we work. We don't stop.

Jeff: Exactly. You don't stop.

Shaun: We had three months off and I didn't know what to do with myself. I'm like, "I'm not used to this." I'm used to maybe two or three weeks at tops, going right back out. But sitting at home for three months, you're like, "Wow, this is very weird." We don't stop ever.

Jeff: It's good though, and it shows. Because like I said, you guys are consistent every single show, you come out there, you bring it for the fans all the time, and it's always a good time. On the other side of that, not just performing with the band live, but when you guys started writing as a band with this unit, and on that record, it was a little different from the early iteration of the band, which was predominately Ben.

Shaun: Right.

Jeff: Being that driving force, you guys all contributed to that. What was it like in the writing process of these records?

Shaun: Humbling.

Jeff: Yeah?

Shaun: For him to put trust in us to be able to recreate a style and not change it too drastically. But just giving us the trust of like, "Hey, I need a verse for this song." Or, "I need lyrics for this part of the song." And like, "Here you guys go. Figure it out." And we're like, "Wow, he respects us and trusts us enough to do that." So that was pretty cool, but at the same time when it comes out, you put it out there, and it's like throwing a grenade and going, "Oh god. Are these people going to like this stuff?"

Shaun: Because like the first single that came out Red Cold River, Aaron wrote the chorus. For him, I would imagine he was like, "Oh, boy."

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: You know, like, "I hope they like it, because if they don't that makes us look bad." You know?

Jeff: Right.

Shaun: Because it's always been a success for Ben, whatever he touches turns to gold. I mean, he could touch that microphone and it's worth millions of bucks. So, for us it was really, really nerve wracking for sure.

Jeff: Well, it paid off.

Shaun: It did pay off I think, and I think the fans are digging it. And for us, that's great. You know?

Jeff: I mean, I saw, especially when Breaking Benjamin started to come back into form, let's say 2016, 2017 and the fans were really starting to be there. It was like the band had never left and it was like you guys had been that unit forever, you know?

Shaun: Right.

Jeff: I think the entire fandom embraced this iteration with open arms.

Shaun: Yeah. Even from the Dark Before Dawn release, it's like they never went away. The band was gone, what, four or five years?

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: And when they started sensing that something was about to happen, you know, it was crazy. We released the lineup and then social media starts going crazy, you've got all these fans. I'm like, "What am I doing with this? This is so crazy." We didn't know what was going to happen.

Jeff: Right.

Shaun: It could have done nothing.

Jeff: It didn't.

Shaun: And the thing that was funny about that is I still specifically remember this, we were sitting in that law office talking about what that first single should be.

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: And it wasn't originally going to be Failure from what I believe. And I was sitting there going, "Failure's the one." And Ben made this comment, he goes, "Yeah, but wouldn't that be something, if we released Failure and it was a Failure?" And I was like, "Yeah, you've got a point." But I was like, "That's the song, Failure's the one." And it ended up being the one that they ended up releasing and it, what, went to number one within seconds, and the album went gold, and all this stuff. I'm jut like, "Wow."

Jeff: Yeah. That was what was incredible about that record, because I'm a big fan of Rolling Stone, and I'm a nerd about that kind of stuff.

Shaun: Yeah.

Jeff: And I remember reading the album sales that you guys had initially on that record, and that's 2015, I think?

Shaun: Yeah.

Jeff: 2015. That was at a time where everybody was like, "Well, the record industry's dead. Nobody's buying records anymore." You know? It really was, and yet, you've got a band like you guys, who are like, "Nope, our fans buy them."

Shaun: It was crazy.

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: It was like, what, 142 thousand first week?

Jeff: Crazy.

Shaun: And to get those plaques in the mail that says, "Breaking Ben, number one, Taylor Swift, number two." I'm going, "Wait a minute."

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: Like, we're a rock a band. Rock's supposed to be dead.

Jeff: Uh-uh (negative). You guys are keeping it alive.

Shaun: I don't think so.

Jeff: No way. No.

Shaun: You always read it like, "Rock's dead." Well, we just had 17 thousand people just a couple nights ago that proved that wrong.

Jeff: Right, right?

Shaun: So I think rock is definitely making a comeback, I really do.

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: And I think with the record sales and all that stuff, I think that goes hand in hand with all styles and all bands. It's not what it used to be.

Jeff: Nope.

Shaun: You've got the power at your fingertips to get free music.

Jeff: Yes.

Shaun: So, it's not a rock thing I don't think. It's global.

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: You know, but it's never going to be what it used to be in the 70s and 80s.

Jeff: No. That was a lightning in a bottle situation. But we'll get to something like that again. I've said this before talking with other musicians, that I don't feel like anything is dying, I feel like we're actually regressing back into like the 1950s mentality; where it wasn't about the record, it was about the single. It was about the A and the B side. It was about generating the buzz song by song.

Shaun: Right.

Jeff: Whereas, you know, in the 70s and 80s it was like cut that full record and make sure that record is something.

Shaun: Yeah.

Jeff: And we're kind of going away from that and coming back to the roots of rock and roll. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Shaun: I would agree with that completely, there is nothing wrong with that at all.

Jeff: Yeah. Another thing I wanted to bring up which is a little different for rock bands, but it seems to be all the rage now.

Shaun: Oh boy.

Jeff: You guys did this in 2016 and it actually links back to Death Wish Coffee a little bit, because of Father Zakk Wylde. You guys were on Axes & Anchors.

Shaun: Oh yeah, we were. That's right.

Jeff: And I love talking to bands about this because it really is this new thing, like, "Let's go on a rock cruise."

Shaun: Right.

Jeff: Five years ago, even when that was happening, I was like, "That's the weirdest thing I've ever heard of." You know?

Shaun: Yeah.

Jeff: But now it seems like every band in the world does that kind of thing. Take me back to 2016 doing that, was that surreal? Being on a cruise ship with like Zakk Wylde and all these people?

Shaun: It was weird to be headlining it with all those legendary people if they're playing before you and all that stuff. And you're walking around that boat feeling like a jerk, you know, because it's like, "Wait a minute. These guys should be the ones playing this boat for the headlining spot." But it was awesome to be walking around seeing those guys. You're just like, "Oh, hi." You know? Like, "It's me."

Jeff: Did you hang out with Zakk at all?

Shaun: You know, I never really got to hang out with Zakk. I have a funny story about Zakk Wylde, though.

Jeff: I'd love it.

Shaun: It's not the boat.

Jeff: I'd love it.

Shaun: Back to 2012, 2013.

Jeff: Okay.

Shaun: When I was doing the Brooklyn Allman thing.

Jeff: Yup.

Shaun: We were playing in L.A., and I forget which venue it was, it might have been The Whiskey.

Jeff: Okay.

Shaun: And there was an upset, I remember that. I was upstairs, and I was coming downstairs. I opened the door and I went to turn the corner to go down the stairs, and I ran right into him. And he didn't move.

Jeff: No, he's a mountain of a man.

Shaun: And he's like, "Easy, boy." And I was just like, "Oh, hey Zakk." I ran into a viking.

Jeff: Yes you did.

Shaun: Yeah, he didn't move.

Jeff: Oh man.

Shaun: That's my Zakk Wylde story.

Jeff: Man, that is awesome.

Shaun: And I was like, "You know, I'm all right with that because it was Zakk Wylde."

Jeff: Yeah. Obviously we love Zakk here because of making his coffee, give a holler if you've had that.

Shaun: I love his coffee.

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: Yup.

Jeff: And he's just so nice to all of us here. In fact, when he came around, I always tell this story because people always ask, but when he came to this area he came with Zakk Sabbath and played that guitar, and walked right off stage, and gave it to our owner right afterwards. And was just like, "Thank you so much."

Shaun: That boy can play.

Jeff: He can play.

Shaun: I mean.

Jeff: When they say guitar god.

Shaun: He is.

Jeff: Hands down.

Shaun: He's the best.

Jeff: Hands down. So, that kinds of leads me backwards even farther then.

Shaun: Okay.

Jeff: As a drummer, did you pick up the sticks from an early age? Did it happen later? What was that moment that was like, "I want to start playing this instrument?"

Shaun: Well, my dad was a drummer.

Jeff: Okay.

Shaun: So there was always a drum set in the house.

Jeff: Easy then.

Shaun: And, you know, age 5 I was picking up drumsticks and just kind of banging on the drums, that was it. Of course I wasn't good. And this went on for years and years. I ended up doing sports and all that stuff, and then I eventually got tired of doing that. And then I was around age 10 and dad had a band every Friday. They would play after work, and I'd just run off the school bus and run in the house, like, "You guys playing tonight?" And he'd be like, "Yeah."

Shaun: And I'd sit down in that basement until I'd just fall asleep just watching this band play. I was like, "This is so cool." And I remember, it was really strange. I told this story a few times and people were like, "That's not true. There's no way." But it actually happened.

Shaun: I fell asleep and I had a dream that I was playing an Aerosmith song called Lord Of The Thighs.

Jeff: Okay.

Shaun: I was literally playing the song with the band, my dad's band. I woke up, I went downstairs, 6 o'clock in the morning, and started playing the intro to that song from memory of how I saw myself playing this song. Perfectly.

Jeff: Yup.

Shaun: And my mom comes flying down the stairs, and she thought I was playing the CD because the song starts like... She thought I was just playing the song. And she's like, "Did you just play that?" And I was like, "Yeah." And she called my dad up at work, she's like, "He's playing drums." So that day he comes from work, and he's like, "Let me hear this." I went down there and played it, and he was like, "Whoa."

Shaun: And I ended up entering a school talent show shortly after that. And he made me learn an Allman Brother's song, ironically, that come full circle.

Jeff: Crazy.

Shaun: So my first performance in front of a crowd was In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed by the Allman Brothers. It was an instrumental and I played just the drums to that to my school.

Jeff: Wow.

Shaun: Got a standing ovation, the school band directors are like, "We want you, we want you." And all this stuff. I was reluctant, and was like, "I really don't want to do marching band or any of that stuff." And then my dad encouraged me, my mom encouraged me. They were like, "You know, you should give it a shot." So I ended up doing it. I said, "I'm not wearing one of those goofy outfits and march across the field. That's not cool." You know?

Shaun: But in order to do jazz band, which was drum set, you had to marching band.

Jeff: Oh, that's how they get you.

Shaun: So I was like, "Well, okay. To do that, I'll do that." I ended up digging it, I learned a lot from it. Learned a whole lot from jazz band. Won the top drumming award three or four years in a row for that. I ended up graduating getting the Louis Armstrong award.

Jeff: Whoa.

Shaun: And there's 17 pro musicians that have gotten it. John Mayer is one of them.

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: So, I got that. And that just kind of set me in my path. And then, of course, [inaudible 00:15:25] wanted me to be in their jazz band. And I was like, "Nah, I want to be a rockstar."

Jeff: Yes.

Shaun: So I didn't go to college. And then my dad's like, "Well, you can either do college or you can do music." So, I was like, "I'm doing music." I graduated, and then the next day after graduation he wakes me up, he's like, "Come on. Hit the streets. Make some flyers, get you a band." And I started working. So that was it.

Jeff: Wow.

Shaun: So that's how I got started. And I ended up moving to Atlanta, Georgia.

Jeff: Wow.

Shaun: I was only 17, you know? And learned really quick how to grow up. Like, I grew up quick.

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: I was on my own.

Jeff: You just went straight for it.

Shaun: Yeah.

Jeff: Both feet, that's awesome.

Shaun: I dove right in.

Jeff: Yeah. No plan B, no nothing.

Shaun: That was it.

Jeff: Ambition.

Shaun: It was my parent's mentality. They were like, "You're going to do it, you've got to go out and do it. It's just like if you're going to school or going to work, you've got to work for this." And I'm like, "Okay." So that's what happened. It took me years later, but I finally got where I was at.

Jeff: Yeah. Wow. Wow. That's inspiring though. Because I mean, it's a very scary thing to be like, "This is what I want and I'm going to do everything I can to go for it." You know?

Shaun: Yeah.

Jeff: Instead of kind of tiptoeing there. That's what a lot of people do, especially as musicians. They never make it past their hometown band or whatever because they don't want to take that extra step.

Shaun: Right.

Jeff: And you didn't even wait. You were just like, "I'm gone. I'm doing it."

Shaun: No, I didn't have a choice

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: It was like, "Got to do it now."

Jeff: Wow. Did you have any bands in high school that you played in? Because I love high school band names.

Shaun: Okay. I did, actually. I was a freshman and these guys were seniors.

Jeff: Oh. Always looking for the drummer, I get it.

Shaun: Yeah, they saw that first talent show that I did, and were like, "We want that." So they kicked out their drummer that was a senior. He was so mad, I'll never forget it. So, I'm like walking in the hallways like, "Hey dude." And he's just like giving me the look, like, "I hate you." But we ended up being good friends. And then I got kind of popular because I was hanging out with the cool seniors that played football and they had a band. They were coming to my house to rehearse. But that band name was called Maximum 50.

Jeff: Maximum 50. How come?

Shaun: We were basically a Creed cover band, I'm not going to lie. I mean, my singer, he wore the wife beater.

Jeff: Oh, wow.

Shaun: And we literally played Creed and Godsmack. I'll never forget it. We did an after school event, and we played Keep Away by Godsmack, and the principal's just going... Looking at us, and we're going... Yeah, boy. You know? And he was not pleased.

Jeff: It's that hard rock.

Shaun: So, Justin Murphy if you're watching I'm telling the stories about your band.

Jeff: That is so funny.

Shaun: Yeah.

Jeff: That's why I love it. Because we all had those high school bands, you know, because you've got to start somewhere.

Shaun: Yeah, that was the one.

Jeff: But I love that moment in time because especially when you're a freshman to senior, if you are in a band, no matter what band it is, no matter how good or bad you are, you are a rockstar. It is the be all, end all.

Shaun: Oh, yeah.

Jeff: It's like, "This bands going to make it. We're going to do everything with this band." Like, yeah.

Shaun: Oh, yeah.

Jeff: I love those moments.

Shaun: There's a couple YouTube videos of that band out there somewhere. It's hilarious. I'm like the short little fat kid and I've got drums that are way taller than me. Because I still played my dad's drum kit that was from the early 80s, so the drums were this big, and everything was super high. That's how I learned how to play so I just never changed the setup.

Jeff: Why? You know what works.

Shaun: I wanted to be my dad. And then he brought me home a couple videos of Buddy Rich and all that stuff. And he's like, "You need to watch this." And I saw it, and I was like, "Yeah, that ain't happening. This guys on a whole different level."

Jeff: He's an alien.

Shaun: And then I got heavily influenced by Led Zeppelin at around 14, and then I got hit with Rush.

Jeff: Oh, Neil Peart.

Shaun: And that changed my entire life. I was like, "Okay that drum set spins around, this guy's throwing sticks 30 feet in the air. I want to be that guy."

Jeff: Yeah. He's something else. When I went to college my college roommate was a drummer, he was huge into Neil Peart. Have you ever seen any of his drumming videos?

Shaun: I have all of them.

Jeff: The one that always sticks out in my mind because my roommate used to watch it on repeat was Neil Peart in a canoe, in the middle of a lake, talking about how ripples in the water are like the circles that you play on your drums and all that stuff. And I remember watching that as a non-drummer and going, "This guy is insane"

Shaun: Yeah, that was called A Work In Progress. I have that on VHS.

Jeff: Yeah, I was going to say.

Shaun: He was like, "Preparation meets opportunity." And he's floating in a canoe.

Jeff: Yup.

Shaun: And he starts talking about... The guy is brilliantly smart.

Jeff: Oh, so smart.

Shaun: Like literally book smart.

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: I never got to meet him, but my Sabian Cymbal rep is literally his really close friend.

Jeff: Oh, wow.

Shaun: And he just sent me an autographed cymbal by Neil.

Jeff: That's so rad.

Shaun: So I got that the first day of tour.

Jeff: Oh, that's so rad.

Shaun: Anyways. You're all jealous.

Jeff: Oh, that is so rad.

Shaun: Yeah. That video is great. I remember I was watching it with my dad, and he was just going, "This guy is way too intelligent." My dad is all like super redneck, drink beer, smoke cigarettes.

Jeff: Yup.

Shaun: And he's like, "I don't understand a dang thing he's saying." And he would be in a boat, and he would jump and the camera would pan, and he's in the woods. It did those, you know what I mean?

Jeff: Yeah. It's so weird.

Shaun: And I thought it was cool.

Jeff: Hey, no, even as a non drummer I was entertained watching these videos with my buddy.

Shaun: He was like, "Can't you just stop talking and just play?" And then he'd start playing, he'd be like, "This guy's sick."

Jeff: He really is. He's something else. You know, of the greats. Of the two bands as a drummer to get into at a young age, Rush and Led Zeppelin, you couldn't do any better.

Shaun: Yeah. And then I got heavily influenced by the drummer of Bon Jovi, believe it or not.

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: And a lot of people didn't realize how good that guy was, or still is.

Jeff: So good.

Shaun: That guy is a jazz drummer, and a lot of people don't really understand that. He was taught by Joe Morello at a younger age. And if you kind of listen deep into their tunes a lot of people are like, "Oh, he just plays two and four." False. Guy's got some chops.

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: And he's one of my favorite drummers of all time.

Jeff: That's awesome.

Shaun: Yup.

Jeff: That's awesome. Very, very cool. So, that kind of leads me into the theme of this show. The question I get to with everybody. You have an inspiring journey, even though you were forced into it you did it, both feet forward. And you went after what you wanted, and you achieved that goal. You are now part of an incredible band that brings rock and roll to the masses still even, it's never dead. It's not going to die.

Shaun: Nope.

Jeff: What fuels you to keep going? What fuels you to keep doing what you do?

Shaun: The fans. You know? That's it, that's it.

Jeff: That's a great answer.

Shaun: Without them, we wouldn't do what we're doing. So when you get out on stage and you see them, and they're smiling ear to ear, that's what it is, what it's all about. We could make music forever and if they don't like it, then it stops.

Jeff: That's true.

Shaun: So the fact that they're still supporting us. I mean, the band's been around since, what?

Jeff: 99? 2000? Something like that?

Shaun: Like, 1999? And to think about people saying, "Well, this is like the 14th anniversary of this album." And you're like, "Wow." Even though I wasn't there for that, it's still like holy crap. They're still supporting this band. And you see these bands that come out, they've got a huge record. Second record kind of does not so well, and then they're gone. And then they're playing in clubs.

Jeff: Yup.

Shaun: And it's horrible, because some of those bands are some of my favorite bands.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Shaun: And for us to still be out here playing these huge shows, it's humbling.

Jeff: That's awesome.

Shaun: We're lucky, let's face it, we're lucky. So, thank you to the fans. Because without you we wouldn't do it.

Jeff: That's awesome. With your time with Breaking Ben, this is kind of a loaded question, but is there a favorite fan moment you've had within those years? Something that you think back on and go, "Oh my god. That happened."

Shaun: Oh man.

Jeff: I'm sure there's lots of them, that's why I said it was loaded.

Shaun: Favorite fan moment? Wow, you actually stumped me. Because there's so many cool things that have happened.

Jeff: I figured. I figured. Because you guys, like I said, you guys have such rabid fans. Your fan base is so supportive of the band.

Shaun: Yeah.

Jeff: It's awesome. It's awesome to see. And that's why I didn't know if maybe one stood out, but I'm sure there's just a thousand just rattling around in your head.

Shaun: Yeah there's a bunch. Just to be recognized and the fact that they like what we're doing says enough in itself. You know?

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: I think when I looked out in the crowd and saw someone that just the other night, they had a sign and they were holding it up, "Shaun's awesome." Or, it said something like that. And I'm just like, you know, that's weird for me. I still find it weird. Because I don't look at myself as a great drummer. I look at myself as, "Okay, I got lucky. I'm in a great band. And I just do what I do." But for people to say, "You're great." I'm almost like, "Oh, thanks."

Jeff: That's good, though.

Shaun: I'm a normal dude that just likes playing drums and that's it. I don't walk around like I'm great.

Jeff: Maybe you should try it. I'm great.

Shaun: I've met people like that.

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: And I'll tell you, I'm not going to mention names, but as younger age growing up playing drums and idolizing bands, I met a couple people that I looked up to, I really liked their band. I was like, "Man, I love you guys.", "Thanks kid. Fuck off."

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: And you're just like, "You know what? I'm not going to be that guy."

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: And that was one thing I said I'd never do, I said I'd never act like that.

Jeff: That's good. That's good that you learned that from that.

Shaun: Well here's the deal, tomorrow this could all end.

Jeff: Right.

Shaun: We don't know when.

Jeff: Right, exactly.

Shaun: We don't know how long this is going to last. You know? And a lot of these people, they walk around like they're invincible and better than everybody else. And you're just like, "Nah."

Jeff: Yeah. You're humble about it and that's what's so genuine about you as a person, and I can tell that even just talking to you. You love what you do, and you understand why you get to do it.

Shaun: Yup.

Jeff: It is because of the fans.

Shaun: That's it.

Jeff: And you're thankful for that every day that you get up there. That's so great. And that's, again, why you guys are such a good unit as a band, and it shows on stage every single night.

Shaun: We're also a good unit because we're all very close friends. We don't fight, there's no drama, there's no BS.

Jeff: That's good.

Shaun: We literally joke around, we have a group text. You know?

Jeff: Oh, that's great.

Shaun: So, if it weren't for that. I mean, you see so many break up.

Jeff: Totally.

Shaun: Like, the singer hates this guy or the guitar player hates this guy. There was none of that.

Jeff: That's great.

Shaun: We literally were handpicked one by one by Ben. And he knew all of us through touring, so he picked well-rounded, good people at the end of the day.

Jeff: That's awesome.

Shaun: And everybody in this band is a good person.

Jeff: That is so awesome. And I can't wait to see what's next for you guys. Do you know of anything that's in store for the band after this tour looking forward towards the end of 2019 or early 2020?

Shaun: Well, I know that there's an acoustic album.

Jeff: I've heard that, yup.

Shaun: It's floating around somewhere. It does exist.

Jeff: I've always got to ask the drummer, does that mean that you don't have anything to do?

Shaun: No.

Jeff: Okay, good.

Shaun: Actually, the drums are still full on drums.

Jeff: That's awesome. That's awesome to hear. Because sometimes you hear bands with acoustic albums, and it's like, "I can't wait to hear the band as an acoustic ensemble."

Shaun: And then you hear... Shakers and tambourines.

Jeff: Poor drummers just with the shakers in the background.

Shaun: Well, that was the thing. It's weird that you brought that up. When we started doing acoustic tours, I remember we did one and it was just Aaron, Ben, and I. And we did like three, four shows. I was playing a hand drum. I literally was beating the tar off of this thing, where my hands were black and blue. There's a picture of me online somewhere just in a bucket of ice going. And then Ben's like, "You know what? We should just play like full band, we'll just play acoustic guitars, you just play drums."

Shaun: So then from there on out acoustic tours ended up me still playing the full drum set. I didn't bring the electronics, like all the pads.

Jeff: Right, right. Yeah.

Shaun: Which is a lot of stuff.

Jeff: Yeah, yeah. You don't need it.

Shaun: Because we don't use backing tracks so everything that used to be backing tracks I'm triggering in realtime. It's kind of like Rush, you see Neil do all the little pods.

Jeff: Yeah, yeah.

Shaun: So, I brought that kind of aspect to it. But, I don't do that on the acoustic tours. It's still a full drum kit.

Jeff: That's awesome.

Shaun: And I'm still beating the crap out of it.

Jeff: That's awesome. That's awesome. That's exciting. So we will get that acoustic album eventually.

Shaun: At some point.

Jeff: All right.

Shaun: Like I said, it exists. There's going to be songs on it. That's all I can tell you.

Jeff: Excellent, excellent.

Shaun: You know, that's it.

Jeff: Do you guys write on the road? Are you looking towards another album?

Shaun: We always individually are doing something.

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: Especially Jason. That dude carries ProTools with him.

Jeff: That's awesome.

Shaun: If I need something he's like, "Yeah." He pulls out the MacBook, he's got ProTools. I'm like, "Yeah, this guy's constantly writing." I mean, he's a huge producer, too.

Jeff: Yeah, yeah.

Shaun: If you know Jason's track record, he's worked with a lot of huge bands.

Jeff: Yeah, tons of them.

Shaun: So, he's always busy. So are Keith, and Aaron as well. Those guys have been collaborating with other bands and writing. Ben's always writing. But I think Ben... It's funny, I always tell him this, "You already have the song programmed and written in your head. You know exactly what it's going to be and then you just put it down." Like, I think the guy literally writes songs up here and has it.

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: Because this is my theory why. I remember we doing, I think it was Dark Before Dawn. He's like, "Yeah, I just need one more song." And I was like, "Oh, that's cool." And then 30 minutes later, he's like, "I got this song." And he comes out with Never Again.

Jeff: Oh my gosh.

Shaun: And then we ended up, a few of the guys, I didn't collaborate on that one, I think Aaron, and Keith, and Jason finished it up with him.

Jeff: Wow.

Shaun: But he had a song.

Jeff: That's incredible.

Shaun: The dude's just a book of songs.

Jeff: That's incredible.

Shaun: I'm like, "You know what, I hate you because you're so good."

Jeff: But, well, that's what's exciting about it. Because I know that we're going to get new music from you guys. We're also going to continually see you on the road, probably forever. Because you guys don't quit.

Shaun: Yeah, we don't quit. As long as the fans are going to be there, we'll be there.

Jeff: Oh, that's awesome

Shaun: Like, "Yeah, we're going to be here to stay."

Jeff: Excellent, excellent. Finally, for our viewers and listeners out there, I know it is very easy to follow the band, Breaking Benjamin, across all social and all that stuff.

Shaun: Yeah.

Jeff: But do you social media at all? Do you want to call any of that out? You don't have to if you don't want to, but if people want to follow your journey?

Shaun: Yeah, I more use Instagram.

Jeff: All right.

Shaun: It's Shaunwfoist. It's got the little blue checkmark.

Jeff: Perfect. I'll put that right in here.

Shaun: Woo.

Jeff: Hey, whatever. That's easier for people to find you. Make sure that nobody's impersonating you.

Shaun: Believe it or not, it's happened. And I'm like, "Why would you impersonate the drummer?" Really, guys? The drummer? Me? That's dumb. Impersonate the singer.

Jeff: Yeah.

Shaun: Someone that's like relevant, that's got all the fans. Not the drummer. No one cares about the drummer.

Jeff: Well, you've got the blue check so they can't be doing that anymore.

Shaun: No. But they've still tried.

Jeff: They still try, they still try.

Shaun: Yeah. But Shaunwfoist. Shaun's with a U on Instagram. And then I have a Facebook official page somewhere, I don't remember what the... It might be Foist Official.

Jeff: Yeah, yeah. I can link that in here as well.

Shaun: But, they've both got the little blue checkmarks.

Jeff: Awesome, awesome, awesome. Shaun, it really was great talking with you.

Shaun: You too.

Jeff: It's really inspiring to hear someone who's in this business and still loves it, and is still humble like you are.

Shaun: Well, thank you so much. I appreciate that.

Jeff: Awesome, awesome.

Speaker 3: We now return to Fueled By Death Cast.

Jeff: So, Aaron, thank you so much for joining me on the show.

Aaron: Oh, absolutely.

Jeff: And I kind of want to start where we are, you guys are on tour right now.

Aaron: Yes.

Jeff: How's tour been going?

Aaron: You know, we started this run with Chevelle, and Three Days Grace, and Dorothy and Diamante. Diamante was on a lot of that past run, too.

Jeff: Yeah.

Aaron: So we kind of knew her. And the band, the band's done a lot of touring with Three Days Grace in the past.

Jeff: Oh, yeah. I was actually saying to Shaun that it's funny, anytime I see either you guys or Three Days Grace on a bill, it's like-

Aaron: It's with each other. Yeah, exactly.

Jeff: You guys are like brothers on the road.

Aaron: Like twins we go everywhere together.

Jeff: That's really great though.

Aaron: It's awesome. And they're incredibly sweet guys, too. And when you watch them, you can easily forget how many just huge songs they have.

Jeff: Yeah.

Aaron: Because it's like, you just go out and watch them, and it's like, "Oh, yeah. I remember this song. Okay." And then you'll just like not even be paying attention and be like, "Oh, right. This is them, too." It's unbelievable. Unbelievable.

Jeff: The other side of that is all of the incredible songs that Breaking Benjamin has.

Aaron: Oh, well.

Jeff: And I love talking to musicians in a state like you are.

Aaron: Right.

Jeff: Because you joined the band in 2014.

Aaron: Yeah.

Jeff: What was it like joining a project that had a bunch of hit songs, an incredibly rabid fan base. What was that like for you as a musician?

Aaron: So for me it was a little different from some of the other guys' experience. I'm from a little area called Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, which is where the band is from. I've known Ben since before this band was anything. I was one of the like five people that used to go to this little dive bar in Luzerne, Pennsylvania to watch the band on like Thursday nights or whatever. I was introduced by one of the old bass players who was a good friend of mine. He was like, "Man, you've got to come check out my band." His name was Bug, it was just that. When I went down and checked them out it was just Ben, Bug, and the old drummer Jeremy. They were playing like Godsmack and Tool covers.

Aaron: I went up and actually that night they asked me to come up and play a song. I played Mudshovel by Staind with them.

Jeff: Awesome.

Aaron: Which was pretty cool. We were just friends after that. If I'd come out, Ben would be like, "Dude, come up and sing." You know, come up and do something. So I've been a fan of the band and friends with the band like from the very beginning. And getting to see and watch the band from small clubs to those clubs being filled, to playing bigger clubs, then the band taking off and going all over the world, and playing arenas and stuff like that. Well, all over America. We didn't go all over the world until the new guys came in.

Aaron: Yeah, it's just crazy. It was crazy. And I've always really loved the band, and I've always really loved the band's music. Ben and I have always had kind of a similar mindset musically. And we stayed friends through the whole thing and we always wanted to do something together. I guess it was like 2010? Yeah, it was 2010. They were wrapping up the Dear Agony tour.

Jeff: Yup.

Aaron: And Ben called me and he was like, "I'm going to play some acoustic shows, and I want you to come play with me. I've never really had anybody who can like sing-sing come, so I want you to come and play." And I'm like, I'm not really a great guitar player. I can play guitar. I write songs on guitar and stuff like that. I would not by any stretch of the imagination call myself a lead guitar player. And he's like, "Yeah, you know, don't worry about the lead parts. You'll play them fine. I really just want you to sing."

Aaron: So we went out and did those two shows in 2010 and that kind of cemented that we were going to do something together. And then the band went into the hiatus, and all the well-documented legal stuff happened. And then when the band was coming back, it was like, "It's me and you. Let's put together a band."

Jeff: So you were the first one that Ben contacted?

Aaron: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Jeff: Oh, wow. That's really cool.

Aaron: Yeah. And as far as putting the band together, he gave me as much input as he would have given anyone. He was like, "This is our band. So I want you to be okay with whoever we get, too." And I was like, "Oh, okay. You don't have to do that." And that's the way its been ever since. Even with everyone that he brought in he could very much be going around like, "Oh, well I, and me, and this is mine. I did this, I did that."

Aaron: But he always has very much a we mentality when do stuff, and tries to keep us involved and in the loop on everything.

Jeff: Yeah.

Aaron: As much as is possible. And then the people that we put together, it's just such a talented group of people and it's such an honor to get to play with everybody every day. And they're all fun, we all have a great time. I mean we've now... What is it, it's 2019 now, so we've been touring for like five years together, pretty much straight.

Jeff: Yeah.

Aaron: And we love each other. We're having the time of our lives. It's so great to get to do it.

Jeff: You can tell it. When you see you guys play on stage, it's not just that you guys are a well-oiled machine and a bunch of talented musicians, you can tell you that really enjoy being there with each other. You know?

Aaron: Yeah, there's a million inside jokes and we're constantly like walking back and forth across the stage laughing at each other. It's super cool that we get to do that in front of so many people. And on this tour it's just been nuts. Because usually when we go out on a bigger run like this it's usually a co-headlining tour where it's like us and a different band like trading places every night, and doing different stuff. But this is the first time that it's like, "Oh, shit. This is on us." I'm sorry, I said a bad word.

Jeff: Hey, we're fucking Death Wish Coffee. It's okay.

Aaron: Yes. Thank god. All right. I was getting ready to clap so that you knew where to cut.

Jeff: Oh, heck no.

Aaron: All right, good. We did like a short arena run earlier this year, and then going into this it was like, "Oh, shit. What are we going to do?" And then the other bands on the bill came in and it's like, "Wait a minute. Did you say Chevelle?" Because we love that band. We love that band.

Jeff: Yeah.

Aaron: and we've done some, since the band got back together, we've done a festival here and there with them. But that's been the bucket list band, that's like, I want to tour with Chevelle. And the other one is Deftones, so Deftones if you watch this, please. Pretty please.

Jeff: There you go. It could happen. Hey, you say it out into the universe and it's going to happen.

Aaron: Yeah. I've been shouting it out into the universe for a while now, the Chevelle one happened. So now let's get the Deftones one down.

Jeff: Since the band came back and you guys all came in as this unit in 2014 you guys have done some incredible shows, festivals, tours. You guys have just been nonstop. One of the connections actually to Death Wish Coffee, you guys played the Axes & Anchors cruise in 2016.

Aaron: We sure did. We sure did.

Jeff: With Father Zakk Wylde.

Aaron: Yeah.

Jeff: What was that like, to headline a cruise? It seems to be like the normal thing nowadays.

Aaron: All right, so Axes & Anchors was a very interesting experience. So, first off I bumped into Zakk Wylde on an elevator. I've never really like met him, or hung out with him, or anything.

Jeff: He's a mountain.

Aaron: I grew up a massive Ozzy fan, like, huge Ozzy fan. And Zakk Wylde is my favorite guitar player of all time.

Jeff: Awesome.

Aaron: So it was just like, I walked into the elevator and he's standing there. And I'm like, "Hi." You know? And I can barely say my name and stuff. But it was so cool. And that cruise was different because it wasn't just shows, there were like guitar clinics and stuff. It was very much like a learning thing. I actually did a bass clinic on there. People were coming and teaching people different technique stuff that I do. And explaining like how I did... I did my clinic on our song Failure, because there's some pretty cool slapping techniques in there that you don't necessarily hear in rock music every day. But I managed to jam it in there and make that shit work.

Aaron: Sometimes I wish I didn't, because it's hard. But that was a really cool experience. And then Zakk did this thing where it was just him with an acoustic guitar. He just got up there and just started shredding for like 15 minutes. There's too many notes, I don't even understand what's happening. And then he played a really sick version of Machine Gun Man, which is like one of my favorite songs that he ever wrote. Pride And Glory is awesome.

Jeff: That's awesome.

Aaron: Yeah. That was really, really cool. But yeah, that was a weird, weird, weird cruise. The one room that we played in, so you're in this, it's like the room that they have shows in.

Jeff: On a cruise.

Aaron: Yeah, like kind of like Broadway shows-ish kind of things. It's like this big open thing, and the lighting is really weird. And it's in the part of the boat that rocks the absolute most. So you can just feel yourself swaying back and forth while we were playing. And it ended up being so awkward that we were just like, "Okay, we're going to turn all of the lights on in here, and we want to see everybody, and we just want everybody to get as close as you can." And it was just like this really big, intimate thing that was super cool.

Jeff: That's awesome. Yeah, because it seems like now in 2019, every single band is going out on a cruise, or doing their own cruise.

Aaron: Yeah.

Jeff: It's like it's the let's have a show in the middle of the ocean fad.

Aaron: Yeah. We headlined Shiprocked the year after that, too. And it was funny because it was actually on the same boat that Axis & Anchors was on. So it's like, we already know this boat. This is great. This is great.

Jeff: That's awesome.

Aaron: We were super experienced, we were pointing out where people can go. We already knew all the little... By the way, on cruise ships, people don't know this, all the people who live on that cruise ship they live like basically in the middle of the boat. There's this infrastructure that happens in the middle of the boat that's unbelievable. They have their own bars and restaurants and stuff in there. It's nuts. So getting to go through all the back areas of the boat where the employees are and stuff is pretty cool, too.

Aaron: Also, the other thing when we walked on that Axes & Anchors thing. We went in our dressing room to sound check the one day, and Yngwie Malmsteem was also on that cruise.

Jeff: Yeah.

Aaron: So we walked into our dressing room, and there just chilling out in our dressing room on one of those stands is Yngwie's acoustic guitar. And I'm like, "I'm not touching that. No. No." I have no business going near that thing. But, yeah. It was crazy, crazy.

Jeff: That's awesome. Well, going all the way back then what made you touch a bass guitar to begin with? Where did that hit in your, was it childhood, was it later?

Aaron: So, I started playing when I was 15. I got the bass because I had some friends who had a band and my buddy Matt was like, "You should play bass." And then I was like, "Yeah, okay. We can do that. We can do that."

Jeff: Okay, so, 15 years old.

Aaron: 15 years old, yup.

Jeff: I love young band names, what was the name of the band?

Aaron: It didn't even have a name.

Jeff: Great, it was that good.

Aaron: It didn't even have a name, it was just terrible. I'm trying to think what kind of songs we were playing, it was probably like whatever we could because we were all real bad and we're just destroying whatever that was. It was probably like Paranoid by Black Sabbath, I think, is one of the first songs I learned. Fun fact, the first song I ever learned how to play on the bass was Twist Of Cain by Danzig.

Jeff: Whoa.

Aaron: And I thought I was a badass.

Jeff: Yeah. Well, I mean it's a badass song.

Aaron: Yeah, I was like, "There's notes in this song. Yeah. I'm not just playing an open string. Look at me go."

Jeff: Yeah.

Aaron: Yeah. Some stuff like that.

Jeff: So you started playing because your friends needed a bassist, so you start playing there.

Aaron: Yeah.

Jeff: Where does it click in your brain, "Oh, I want to start actually pursuing this."

Aaron: As soon as I picked it up.

Jeff: Really?

Aaron: Yeah. Pretty much as soon as I picked it up I started playing it. I always wanted to play music. I've sang and loved music since I was could.

Jeff: Yeah.

Aaron: When I finally got that first bass, and there was a lot of negotiating to get to that point. Because mom, I didn't really like school. Wasn't like super for me. I did well when I went, but I just didn't want to go.

Jeff: It's a hassle.

Aaron: It was early and then they wanted me to do all kinds of stuff when I was home, like homework and stuff. And I was like, "I don't want to do this. I go to school and I do well on my tests, I pay attention and participate in class. Don't take up my time. I'm not coming to your house, telling you what to do when you're not here. Leave me alone."

Jeff: That's true.

Aaron: But yeah, I was like, "Mom, get me a bass and I'll go to school, and I'll pay attention. I'll do my homework, I'll do whatever. Just get me a bass." And finally she was like, "Okay, I'll get you a bass." And I got that bass, and I did not hold up my end of the bargain. It just went downhill. From the time I got it, it was like that was it. Just something immediately clicked and I played it for like five to eight hours a day, every single day. And I didn't have a case for it. I was really poor. I didn't have a case or an amp. So, I'd learn like little tricks. If I'd take the headstock of the bass, and put the headstock of the bass against the wall when you'd play the acoustics will transfer into the drywall, or if you're sitting next to a table the acoustics will transfer into the table and it will actually amplify it a little bit, and make it a little bit louder.

Aaron: So I'd do that to practice and stuff. And then I'd go hang out at the mall. I didn't really have any money to do anything at the mall, but you're a teenager so that's what you do.

Jeff: You've got to go there.

Aaron: You go hang out there.

Jeff: Oh yeah.

Aaron: So I'd take my bass with me to the mall and I would like have the bass strapped on me. Of course, I didn't have a car. So, it's just me walking to the mall, walking down the street playing my bass. I'm sure looking like an idiot, but I guess it worked out.

Jeff: Yeah, it definitely did.

Aaron: I guess it ended up being worth it.

Jeff: So right from that point then you're thinking in your head, "I'm going to do this as my career."

Aaron: Yeah. This is what I want to do. Yeah. I mean, I knew I wanted to be a musician. And that it was just something that I wanted to do. Anytime you find yourself in certain situations in life, you kind of have a moment where you're like, "Okay, this is something that I would love to do." And my mom would take my concerts a lot when I was a kid. And I was like, "I want this. This is what I want. This is what I want."

Jeff: Yeah.

Aaron: So, you know. I knew really early on what I wanted to do, but it was obviously a thing where it's like no, that's not good. You better have a plan B because that ain't happening.

Jeff: Well.

Aaron: Well, you know.

Jeff: I'm glad you didn't.

Aaron: Yeah. Just be too stubborn, you know.

Jeff: Hey, sometimes that's what you need, though.

Aaron: Yeah, yeah.

Jeff: And that kind of brings me through circle. Through from picking up the bass from the first moment and being like, "This is where my journey is headed, with this in my hand." To now, 2019, been performing with Breaking Benjamin for five years plus now and everything in between. What fuels you to keep doing it? What fuels you to keep being the best you can be at it?

Aaron: Oh, I don't even know. In anything in life it's easy to get complacent with things. And it's easy to be like, "Okay, well." You know. So, with a lot of this stuff you have to remember that none of this is real and it can be gone at any second. And I have an incredible support structure in my life. I have a great wife and great kids, they're like kind of my driving force moving forward. There's the other guys in the band are all super incredibly talented people. And I personally feel accountable to them that I know that they're going to give me everything they have, and they're going to give me their best. And I owe it to them to do the exact same.

Aaron: And then there's our incredible fans, which are, you know, every show that we play, they're unreal. And from day one with this new lineup of the band, they were nothing but supportive. Which they didn't have to be.

Jeff: Right.

Aaron: They had every right to be like, "Okay, you guys have been gone for five years. This is a whole new lineup of the band. We're done." But no. They were like, "This is our band, this is our music. And we love you guys." And it was just incredible. We picked up without missing a beat. It was unreal. Dark Before Dawn came out and it debuted at number one on Billboard. And Failure came out and it went to number one at Active Rock and it stayed there for like 11 weeks, or something ridiculous like that.

Jeff: Yeah.

Aaron: So it was the fans were ready for the band to come back and the fan base has done nothing but grow since we came back. And we're seeing like so many younger faces and stuff. And every show that we play we just kind of want to make sure, you know, because it could be their first time ever seeing the band.

Jeff: Right.

Aaron: And concerts aren't cheap. Concert tickets aren't cheap. Finding a babysitter isn't easy. This is like their night, it could be in some cases it's the only night of the year that they're going to get out and do something. So we want to make sure that it was worth their time. And that they have a night that they're going to remember.

Jeff: Yeah. Well, you guys bring it every single time you hit the stage.

Aaron: Thank you.

Jeff: 100%. And the fan base did welcome you with open arms right from the get go.

Aaron: Right.

Jeff: And two records later they're still doing that.

Aaron: It's nuts.

Jeff: What is it like from your perspective, someone who has known the band, who has been a fan of the band, now is a part of the band. And with these newer records, Ben, before in the early inception of the band it was really his deal.

Aaron: Yeah.

Jeff: You know, like, "These are my songs. This is what we're going to do." Now he's opened it up to all of you guys.

Aaron: Right.

Jeff: What was it like coming on and being like, "Oh, wow. I'm going to start writing for Breaking?"

Aaron: Yeah, that was crazy. So when we were working on recording Dark Before Dawn, most of that album was done when we had the whole band assembled. Most of that album was done. Never Again is really the only song on there that was really a collaborative effort between people. But coming into this album, he was like, "Okay guys. I've written five albums. I'm good. So, let's go." And he just like completely opened the door for everybody.

Aaron: And it's one of those things where we'll listen to every single idea and if it fits, and it's good, then of course we're going to use it. And there will be even like little things, like, "Okay, well, I have these parts of a song. I need this, I need this." And technology's come to a place now where you don't sit in a room and jam parts out and be like, "Oh, this is my idea, this is my idea." It's like I'm in Pennsylvania, Ben's in Jersey, and Jason and Keith are in Tennessee or wherever, and Shaun's in Ohio. So, it's like, "Okay, well we're going to individually figure out." Like, okay we know we have this part of the song. So we'll all just write a bunch of parts, record them, and just send them to each other in a group text. And we'll listen to them and be like, "Okay, this is the one. Cool."

Aaron: And then something else that didn't get used will get saved for somewhere else.

Jeff: That's so cool.

Aaron: Yeah, it's pretty cool. It's pretty cool. And in the case of our first single from this album, Red Cold River, that was a song that Ben, Shaun, and I had worked on. It was like we were jamming that. That was one of the things that was jammed in a basement when Shaun first came onboard with the band and we were doing stuff for Dark Before Dawn before we even had Jason and Keith.

Aaron: And we were playing this part, Ben came out and he started playing this thing, and he's like humming something. I'm like, "Nope, stop right there." And I grabbed the guitar off of him, I was like, "I have a chorus that is that." And I played it for him, and sang it to him. He's like, "Okay, that's perfect. There it is."

Jeff: Wow.

Aaron: And that ended up being the chorus to Red Cold River. And then he came up and he was like, "Okay, well, I've got verses for it." Okay, cool.

Jeff: That's so cool. What a collaborative effort.

Aaron: Yeah.

Jeff: And that's inspiring from a band that went from a hiatus, to all new members, to for someone like Ben who's literally being like you said, like, "I did five records, now let's see what this whole new group of guys can do." Kind of relinquishing that control a little bit. And to produce such a killer piece of work.

Aaron: Oh, thank you. Yeah, so another instance of that. We did preproduction in New York City in the December before. We needed a song, we needed one song. And I had an old demo that Ben had sent me from Dark Before Dawn. And he's like, "What do you think about this?" And I mean, his grasp of melody is so great. And it's like you listen to a Breaking Benjamin song, it doesn't matter whether it's a heavy song, a light song, whatever. You're going to find a part of that song that you're going to end up humming after hearing it once.

Jeff: True.

Aaron: And he's so great at doing that. And there was a song that he had written, he sent it to me and he wasn't like super happy with where the song was musically. So I was like, "Okay, we need one more song." I dug through my emails, I played it for Jason. He's like, "Oh, okay." And then I sent it to Ben, and I'm like, "Ben, do you remember this song?" He's like, "Yeah, I still don't like the music for it." I was like, "Okay sounds good." So me, Jason, and Keith rewrote all the music for that song and then just kept his old melody, and his verses, and choruses as far as like the vocals went and completely rewrote all the music to that song and made it something that it wasn't before.

Aaron: And we played it for him, he's like, "Okay, cool. We don't need anymore song now. We're good."

Jeff: That's so cool.

Aaron: Yeah. It was really cool. It was a really cool thing.

Jeff: That's so cool. So, looking ahead then, what's next for the band after this tour going into the end of 2019, 2020? I know there's been talk of an acoustic record?

Aaron: Yes, yes. It does exist. There's a lot of, I think based on our Instagram, I'm going to say that I think it's safe to say that there's a lot of really cool collaborations that happen on this album.

Jeff: Awesome, awesome.

Aaron: I'm not going to say what they are, or what songs they are. But, it's going to be a really exciting thing. We have a much different take on what acoustic is compared to like other people. For people who have come out to see our acoustic shows, it's a rock show. It's not a bunch of dudes sitting around with candles and all kinds of like tapestries and shit.

Jeff: Shaun on the tambourine.

Aaron: No, there's a drum set.

Jeff: Yeah, oh yeah.

Aaron: There's a full drum set. I'm playing an electric bass because I just can't do it. I tried. I tried playing an acoustic bass, I can't do it. It doesn't sound good. It doesn't stay in tune.

Jeff: No.

Aaron: It's not a great thing. So, if anyone makes an acoustic bass that sounds good and stays in tune, let us know. I'll try it. But for now, no. But yeah, it's a rock show. We play the songs like we were playing them on electric guitar just with acoustic guitars. The album I think really reflects that.

Jeff: Excellent.

Aaron: And there's some cool stuff. There's some cool extra stuff going on in there. I hope people will like it, I like it.

Jeff: Well, I can't wait for you guys to release it. I know you'll be doing that eventually.

Aaron: There's some talks about fall tours. We obviously don't have anything nailed down.

Jeff: You guys never quite though.

Aaron: No, no.

Jeff: Like, whatever talks about fall tours, let me say it like this, you guy are probably going out on tour in the fall.

Aaron: Yeah, I'm sure we are. I don't know with who or where, but we're definitely going. It's just we love it. We love it.

Jeff: Yeah.

Aaron: And our fans are just awesome.

Jeff: Well.

Aaron: That we have the opportunity to go out and do it like night after night, it's still kind of mind blowing and humbling, the amount of support that we get and the things that we get to do because of our incredible fans. So, yeah. We're going to go out and play for them whenever we can.

Jeff: Excellent. Like I said at the beginning of this, it definitely shows every single time that you guys are on stage. You really do, you love it. And that's what's awesome and inspiring to be able to hear that.

Aaron: And this new show is unbelievable. This is definitely the biggest production that we've had, is this version of the band. There's so much fire. And the staging is really cool, and all the lighting is incredible. I catch myself watching the show. If you watch the show, there's certain parts of the show I don't even realize what's happening, I have my head turned around like, "That's awesome."

Jeff: That's awesome though.

Aaron: Like, "That's for us."

Jeff: That's so cool.

Aaron: Yeah.

Jeff: Well, finally for our viewers and listeners I know it's very easy to follow the band, Breaking Benjamin, across all social media and all that stuff.

Aaron: Yeah.

Jeff: Do you social media at all?

Aaron: Oh, yeah. Yeah, I have Instagram, and Twitter. Instagram, I'm pretty sure it's just my first and last name, Aaron Bruch, A-A-R-O-N B-R-U-C-H. And then Twitter, I think there's an underscore in the middle because somebody's squatting on my name that has like... Come on Twitter.

Jeff: Yeah.

Aaron: That account hasn't posted anything and the only people that follow it are people that follow me. So just give me my name, dude.

Jeff: [inaudible 01:00:32].

Aaron: The struggle is real.

Jeff: It is, it is.

Aaron: But, yeah, I do social media. I have a long running tour photography joke called The View From My Asylum Window. That I wake up in the morning and I pull up the shade on the bus. And whatever's out there I take a picture of and I post it on Instagram.

Jeff: That's awesome.

Aaron: Because there's a lot of misconceptions about touring, and one of them is that it's super glamorous. And I'm typically parked next to a dumpster or between a bunch of tractor trailers, or whatever. So, I'm like, "Okay." And I have a lot of friends who are photographers, who will be like, "Okay, well if I were there I would have gone to take pictures of this." Be like all right, I'm going to show you what I see every day. Here's what it is and then every once in a while some people will comment and be like, "Oh, well you call it The View From Your Asylum Window, it sounds like you're complaining." And I would like to point out that there are two definitions of asylum. It's either like it can be an insane asylum but also people seek political asylum. It's their safe place where they feel comfortable.

Jeff: Exactly.

Aaron: That's what it is for me. And it's also an insane place, too.

Jeff: Yes.

Aaron: It is both sides of that.

Jeff: That's great. Well I'll put all that stuff right in this episode so that people can follow your journey as well.

Aaron: Oh, right on.

Jeff: I can't thank you enough for taking the time to talk to me.

Aaron: Oh, no. Thank you. And thank you for coffee.

Jeff: Yes.

Aaron: I love coffee.

Jeff: Well, I'm glad you do.

Aaron: I drink a lot of it. And we're going to go drink some now.

Jeff: Awesome.