Ben Burnley defiant in face of chronic pain
Breaking Benjamin mainman uses mystery illness to fuel live shows instead of buckling under agony
Breaking Benjamin frontman Ben Burnley says he copes with his mystery illness by using the chronic pain to fuel his live shows.
He's suffered from joint and muscle pain for years but says he has been given no answers despite consulting hundreds of doctors.
Burnley tells Rolling Stone: "The pain is so horrendous it distracts me from my other symptoms, so it's relieving in a sick way. Basically, my only relief is intense pain.
"It's a horrible, horrible condition. If I didn't have the support of all the fans, and if I didn't have my incredible wife and son it definitely wouldn't be worth living through.
"The agony never goes away. People ask me how I deal with it and it's because I have no choice. Now I get angry. If I'm dizzy onstage it'll push me even harder. I don't let it peck at me little by little, I charge right through it. And if I go down, I go down doing what I love for the people that want to see me perform."
Burnley – who reunited the band last year with a new lineup following a long hiatus – says the most logical explanation he can think of for his condition is his past excessive drinking.
"I used to be an alcoholic and I stopped drinking in 2007 because I got sick," he says. "The medical system tries to cure your symptoms, but not your illness. That's how the drug companies make so much money.
"And if you're a person whose symptoms get worse with every single type of medicine you take, guess what? You're shit out of luck."
Breaking Benjamin released fifth album Dark Before Dawn on June 22 and it topped the Billboard charts after selling 140,000 copies in its first week. They have a run of US tour dates coming up:
Jul 14: Big Flats Tags Summerstage, NY
Jul 16: Mt Pleasant Soaring Eagle Casino, MI
Jul 17: Oshkosh Rock USA At Ford Festival Park, WI
Jul 18: Cadott Rock Fest, WI
Jul 19: Council Bluffs River Riot, IA
Jul 21: Bloomington US Cellular Coliseum, IL
Jul 22: Rockford Harris Bank Center, IL
Jul 24: Buffalo Agri Center, NY
Jul 25: Syracuse New York State Fairgrounds, NY
Jul 26: Gildord Meadowbrook Pavilion, NH
Oct 3: Louisville Louder Than Life, KY
Oct 24: Sacramento Gibson Park, CA