Breaking Benjamin Drummer, Chad Szeliga, on Tour with Black Label Society

Devoni Novak, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Chad Szeliga knew he wanted to be a professional drummer at an early age. He began playing the drums when he was only six, and since then Szeliga has been drumming for most of his life.

Szeliga got his first big break at age 25 when he began playing for the band, Switched, in Cleveland, Ohio.  After performing with the band for some time, Szeliga heard Wilkes-Barre’s Breaking Benjamin had lost their drummer and he decided to audition. In late 2004 he was hired, and has been working with the band since.

Recently, legal issues came upon Breaking Benjamin after lead singer, Benjamin Burnley fired two band members, Aaron Finke and Mark Klepaski. Burley filed a lawsuit against them back in June after they had given Hollywood Records permission to create a new version of “Blow Me Away” for the Breaking Benjamin greatest hits album.

Because consent was given without consulting Burnley, he said Klepaski and Finke were guilty of contract violation. According to Szeliga, Burnley was against putting out a greatest hits album this early in his career. Apparently, Burnley refuses to purchase the album because he is ashamed of it.

With just two musicians remaining, the band announced its break-up this past August. However Szeliga and Burnley will continue to work together, either with new hires or as soloists.  For the time being, Breaking Benjamin is on hiatus, since Szeliga explained that Burnley is physically ill and if he is able to recover the band will continue performing.

“Hopefully he can get better and we can start pressing on for the future for a new record,” said Szelgia.

With Breaking Benjamin on break, Szeliga is currently on tour with Black Label Society.  Presently, Szeliga works with numerous musician groups. To keep his skills top notch, he tries to play with every band possible. He admits he is a perfectionist and dedicates himself to the art of drumming.

Although it is necessary for his career, Szelgia says it is tough to be on tour. He compares going on the road to living with your colleagues 24/7 . In his opinion, it is a good time for the most part, but tolerating the same people constantly can be a challenge.

“Sometimes it gets annoying and gets aggravating but you [have] got to make the best of it because we’re all trying to do what we love,” said Szeliga.

To pass on his love for music and drumming, Szeliga also gives drumming lessons both privately, at his home and internationally, over Skype. Teaching is a new passion for Szeliga. He hopes teaching will help him to reach his ultimate goal professionally.

“I think my goal is to just touch a lot of people and pass down the feeling that I have for drumming to another person and get them inspired like I’ve been inspired,” said Szeliga.