Highwire Daze: Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Breaking Benjamin, and how long the band has been together.

Jeremy Hummel: I'm Jeremy Hummel, I'm the drummer, and the band has been together as this current line-up since New Years Eve at the beginning of this year - so nine months I guess.

HD: Where is the band from and what is the music scene like there?

Jeremy: The band is from Wilkes-Barre, PA which is located in Northeastern Pennsylvania. And the scene there is much like some other places, but it's also not too. It's a place where most of the bands there get their start by doing covers of other people's stuff. Pennsylvania isn't a hotbed for original acts. There's a lot of bands that do original music, but only certain ones are able to shine through.

HD: Have you ever been in any of these cover bands?

Jeremy: Oh yeah. When Ben the singer and myself, when we started this band a year and a half ago before Mark and Aaron joined the band - we did that. We played both cover material and original stuff. It's the type of thing where it's not like it is in a place like Los Angeles where you would go out and play your own material and people are immediately receptive to it. You kind of have to give them a reason to listen to you. It's a very hard crowd, and the people that come out aren't exactly open to things that are new to them. You first have to lure them in with something they're already familiar to. We always did half-original material and half covers and we would go out a play a set.

HD: How did you guys wind up getting signed to Hollywood Records?

Jeremy: Last summer in 2001, Ben and I recorded an EP of 5 songs with our former bas player before Mark and Aaron were in the band. And a local DJ named Freddie Fabbri - he pretty much funded the whole EP. And since he had some connections with the industry, he kind of got the ball rolling as far as playing us on the radio, getting the EP out there and getting the name Breaking Benjamin into the ears of people that mattered. And then after Aaron and Mark had joined the band, our manager Larry Mazer came along, and he pretty much told all of the record companies that "These guys are going to have a record deal in two weeks." And he said there were two shows - one this week and one next week. And if you don't have the power to sign them, you should bring somebody who does. And the first week that we played there were six record companies there and the second week there were eight. People really came out and we were fortunate enough to get a couple of offers from record companies. So the band and our manager sat down, and we elected to go with Hollywood.

HD: Is their any problems with you guys being signed to a label that is affiliated with Disney?

Jeremy: No, not at all. We don't really ever hear too much about that. Even though they are owned by them, it seems to me that least when it comes to what we've done with our connection with Hollywood - that Disney and Hollywood are their own separate entities. I think the record company itself is more involved with Disney in terms of soundtracks, but as far as their bands go, I haven't really encountered anything that's been relating to Disney too much.

HD: Where did you get the name Breaking Benjamin. Is the band named after your singer?

Jeremy: We did and we didn't. He was telling somebody in an interview earlier today that he wishes that his name was not in the name of the band actually. The way it came up was - you see, everybody in the band has known each other for a while. Aaron and Ben use to play in a band together four years ago, and that band that they had was called Breaking Benjamin for a little bit. The band didn't last that long. But they decided to call the name Breaking Benjamin, just because whenever you're trying to find a name for a band, it's really tough to find something that's not already out there. It was just kind of two words that not only sound well together, but when you stack them side by side, they look good together. And that's all there really is to it. There's nothing else behind it.

HD: What if the band was called Breaking Jeremy?

Jeremy: It would suck! That would be a horrible, horrible band name. Breaking Benjamin works because of the "B" reference and it kind of rolls off the tongue. Breaking Jeremy rolls off the tongue in a kind of non-pleasant way. But that's the way it turned out really.

HD: Two of the members left Lifer to join your band. Are you all still on good terms with the remaining Lifer members?

Jeremy: In the beginning, there was a time when they first left - things weren't on bad terms, but it kind of left them in a position that was really awkward. Aaron and Mark played very big roles in the songwriting for that band. There they were, a band that got a record deal. And the next thing you know, you have what are probably the best two components on the band who write the songs leaving. They were left in a situation of "Well, what the hell are we going to do now?" Originally there was a bit of - I wouldn't say animosity - just that they were let down, disappointed, confused. Then after awhile it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Because Ben and I got what we wanted with Aaron and Mark, and Lifer kept going. They got two other members and they are releasing a new EP. They don't have a record deal right now, but they kept going. On my way to New York this morning, I heard on our radio station at home they were doing an interview and talking about their new tunes. And they said the same thing. They get asked about it a lot just like we do - they said it was tough in the beginning but it worked out the best for both parties.

HD: Would you guys ever want to tour together?

Jeremy: No. I mean you never say never. Everything is on good terms, but I don't think that's something that either band would want to do. It's kind of like when you break up with an ex-girlfriend. When you run into her, you'll still talk to her, but there's still all the baggage there too. But no, I don't foresee that any time in the future.

HD: What can we expect from a live Breaking Benjamin show?

Jeremy: Sheer, raw energy. Great musicianship and just a really kick ass, in your face show. It will be the type of show that will make the hair on your arms stand.

HD: Do you have any messages for people who haven't heard your music yet and might be interested in checking it out?

Jeremy: I would say believe the hype. I, myself, am a very harsh critic of music in general, because I expect things to be top notch. I'm not the type of guy who is going to go out there, listen to something and like it because everyone else does. I would say to people that this album is one that if somebody told you that it's good and that you should go out and buy it - that it sincerely is just what they said. I feel strongly when you put this record on from start to finish that it's a great record - you won't find yourself skipping tracks.