Lead singer of Breaking Benjamin fires bandmates
ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- Breaking Benjamin is evidently broken, at least for now.
The platinum-selling rock band from northeastern Pennsylvania is mired in a legal dispute over what its founder and lead singer, Benjamin Burnley, called an unauthorized remix of one of the band's hit songs, "Blow Me Away."
Burnley said in court documents that he fired guitarist Aaron Fincke and bassist Mark Klepaski via email after learning his bandmates had struck an agreement with Hollywood Records to issue the remix and an album of rarities and outtakes.
Burnley is seeking at least $250,000 in damages and the exclusive right to the Breaking Benjamin name. Fincke and Klepaski denied Burnley's claims, according to court documents filed in Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. A judge has ordered arbitration.
The singer's attorney, Brian Caplan, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Burnley intends to hire new bandmates and keep performing as Breaking Benjamin. The band has been on an extended hiatus due to Burnley's health problems.
"The relationship between Mr. Burnley and the two other members of the band has ended," Caplan said. "Mr. Burnley intends on moving forward using the name Breaking Benjamin and the band will continue. It just won't continue in its prior configuration. He's not retiring."
A phone message left for an attorney for Fincke and Klepaski was not returned. The band's management declined to comment.
The legal dispute was first reported by The Citizens' Voice of Wilkes-Barre.
Hollywood Records is set to release "Shallow Bay: The Best of Breaking Benjamin" on Aug. 16, an album that Caplan said was put together without Burnley's consent. He declined to comment when asked whether Burnley will try to stop the release.
The record label said in a statement to the AP that "Shallow Bay" was compiled "with the awareness of all of the members of Breaking Benjamin."
"We're extremely excited about this collection, which is a fan's dream," the statement said. "Ben is a tremendous talent whose songs truly stand the test of time."
Burnley had no comment when reached by The Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday.
Breaking Benjamin has released four full-length albums and an EP since its major-label debut in 2002, the most recent of which was 2009's "Dear Agony."
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