Keith Wallen was destined to create music. Now writing, recording and performing around the world as guitarist for Breaking Benjamin and as a celebrated solo artist, Wallen’s drive to share his creative output is embedded in his blood, bones and soul.
An ex-guitarist for the band Adelitas Way, cofounder of underground alt-rock act Copper and a songwriter and collaborator who has written with Pillar, Fuel, and Saving Abel, the Breaking Benjamin guitarist/backing vocalist released his debut solo record in 2014. The Allies EP is comprised of beautiful, stripped-down, soulful compositions. Wallen has established himself as a diverse and talented songwriter.
From Active Rock to piano-driven ballads, music is part of his DNA. Wallen’s parents met while performing together in the sixties; his father was a singer and his mother a dancer. Growing up, he’d hear classic big band standards sung by Frank Sinatra around the house, plus the music of eighties hitmakers like Tears For Fears.
Armed with the talent he inherited, Wallen picked up a guitar in high school and began learning songs by his favorite bands, including iconic rock groups like Metallica, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots.
After high school, he left West Virginia for the University of Tennessee, where he formed Copper with a childhood best friend.
Over the course of their career, Copper played with Thirty Seconds To Mars, Shinedown, 10 Years, Saliva, and the band Wallen would eventually join, Breaking Benjamin. They released three albums, including material recorded with Dove Award winning producer Travis Wyrick (P.O.D., 10 Years, Pillar). The band beat out over 3,000 competitors to win the D’Addario/Guitar.com/FUSE TV “We’re Listening” contest, which resulted in an appearance on Fuse TV’s Daily Download.
Christian rock giants Pillar rerecorded one of Copper’s songs, “Call to Action,” on their 2009 album, Confessions. Following the dissolution of Copper, Wallen joined Adelitas Way, recording two albums with the group (2009’s Adelitas Way and 2011’s Home School Valedictorian) and sharing stages with notable rock acts like Guns N’ Roses, Papa Roach, Godsmack, Three Days Grace, Deftones, Halestorm and more.
Wallen first became acquainted with Breaking Benjamin frontman Ben Burnley on the road. When Burnley decided to reform and reconfigure the multiplatinum rock act, responsible for a number of successful radio singles, he invited Wallen into the fold. The end result was the powerhouse comeback album Dark Before Dawn, which debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200 when it was released in 2015. The following year, it was certified gold, for sales in excess of 500,000 copies in the U.S..
Wallen has a co-writing credit on the song “Never Again” and is featured on all of the album’s tracks, which were primarily written by band founder/singer Burnley.
The acoustic/piano-oriented solo EP demonstrates a different side to Wallen’s musical persona. The songwriting is nuanced and diverse but no less powerful. He gets most of his writing done at home, alone with his acoustic guitar and piano. Oftentimes he doesn’t know whether a composition will end up on a solo release or with Breaking Benjamin until the song is entirely finished. The common thread with all of his music is that it comes from his heart. Remember: music is part of his DNA.