Ex-Breaking Benjamin guitarist Aaron Fink auctions off ‘Diary of Jane’ guitar to benefit Bret Alexander
The massive local benefit concert for Bret Alexander of The Badlees and Gentleman East was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, so the artists involved have been finding other ways to raise money for the respected singer, songwriter, musician, and producer.
Aaron Fink, a solo artist who is best known as the founding guitarist of Wilkes-Barre rock bands Breaking Benjamin and Lifer, is auctioning off the custom guitar he used in Breaking Benjamin’s music video for “The Diary of Jane” and during the “Phobia” tour in support of the band’s platinum-selling third studio album. Released in 2006, the single was certified triple platinum by the RIAA in 2019, and the video has over 165 million views on YouTube.
Fink continued to perform and record with the band until 2011. The description of his guitar on the music gear marketplace Reverb reads:
Calling all guitar geeks, collectors, Breaking Benjamin, and Badlees fans alike… a very special one of a kind offering here. I am selling off this custom-made Washburn Idol to the highest bidder. The guitar was specifically featured in the video “Diary of Jane” and played throughout the Phobia album tour. All the proceeds will go to my friend of 30 years and all-around badass singer/songwriter/producer Bret Alexander and his family. He has just undergone a major kidney transplant and, to boot, his benefit concert event was cancelled due to COVID-19. Bret wrote, recorded, and toured extensively with his band The Badlees before producing the first Breaking Ben EP and also helped the band secure a management deal. Such is fate, karma, and the cyclical nature of all things… so I do hope this fiddle finds a good home, knowing it went to a wonderful cause. I can sign the guitar if requested.
With all the specs available online, the guitar is currently listed for $5,000, and while the video quality on YouTube is low, it can be seen prominently with a star sticker on it about two minutes and 15 seconds in:
He also uploaded a video to prove it still works:
View this post on Instagram
Calling all guitar geeks, collectors, Breaking Benjamin and Badlees fans alike…a very special one of a kind offering here. I am selling off this custom made Washburn Idol to the highest bidder. The guitar was specifically featured in the video “Diary of Jane” and played throughout the Phobia album tour. All the proceeds will go to my friend of 30 years and all around badass singer/songwriter/producer @bretalexandermusic and his family. He has just undergone a major kidney transplant and to boot, his benefit concert event was cancelled due to Covid-19. Bret wrote, recorded and toured extensively with his band The Badlees before producing the first Breaking Ben EP and also helped the band secure a management deal. Such is fate, karma and the cyclical nature of all things…so I do hope this fiddle finds a good home, knowing it went to a wonderful cause. Thank you and if you know Bret and want to help, share the post! Link in bio for more details.
UPDATE ON JUNE 16: The guitar “has sold for the asking price in just over a day,” Fink said on Facebook. “Stoked for my friend Bret Alexander and his family and wish him nothing short of a full recovery back to badassery, and his donor Brittany Wilson too.”
“I owe you one, pal. More like several dozen. Here’s to lifelong pals,” Alexander said in response. “The music made is always stellar, but this is on another level. Lucky to have you as a friend. Here’s to many more years!”
Organized by music journalist and Music on the Menu radio host Alan K. Stout and AJ Jump, drummer and co-owner of Karl Hall in Wilkes-Barre, the “BANDing Together for Bret” benefit concert was scheduled for April 11 at The Woodlands Inn in Wilkes-Barre. It was set to bring together many of the musicians Alexander has worked with and influenced since his career began as a studio engineer in the late 1980s and later rose to national fame as the principal songwriter and guitarist of Selinsgrove rock band The Badlees with their hit album “River Songs” in 1995. As the owner of Saturation Acres in Dupont, he has recorded many notable artists from Northeastern Pennsylvania, including Breaking Benjamin’s debut EP.
Alexander suffered from a genetic kidney condition that required a transplant. Thankfully, his cousin donated the kidney, and a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign raised $10,175 for him during his procedure and recovery. At the time, no one could have predicted that he wouldn’t be the only musician out of work this year as COVID-19 soon shut down most of the music industry.
Fink has been keeping busy during the quarantine, though, releasing Lifer’s first new song in 18 years, “The Start of Something Else,” on March 31 and contributing to all-star “Corona Sessions” videos with members of Cold, Crobot, Candlebox, and Filter, among other bands:
He also joined chart-topping hard rock band Earshot, known for hits like “Get Away,” “Headstrong,” and “Wait,” and helped record their first single in five years, reinventing the Grammy Award-winning Alanis Morissette hit “Uninvited.”
Lead vocalist and guitarist Wil Martin and Fink, who met when Earshot and Breaking Benjamin played shows together and have since stayed in touch, both produced the track that was released on May 15.
“We are currently working on a new EP, which we hope to release sometime this year,” Martin said in a press release. “But in the meantime, we wanted to surprise fans with an unexpected cover. When Aaron suggested recreating ‘Uninvited,’ we knew it was the perfect opportunity to pay homage to one of our favorite artists while putting our own mark on the song.”
Since Fink and Breaking Benjamin parted ways, he has written and recorded four solo albums in four years: “Wolves & Butterflies,” “Galaxies,” “Heavy Feathers,” and “Saint Sylvania.” He also had a brief run in The Badlees, which ultimately led to him joining Alexander’s current band, Gentleman East.
It appears that Alexander is also feeling well enough to record again. After releasing his version of The Band’s “The Weight” with Paul Smith, AJ Jump, Nyke Van Wyk, and Stacia Abernatha from 2019, he uploaded new “Cellphone Sessions” videos featuring him and Van Wyk collaborating remotely on various songs. On June 1, he released a cover of the Bob Dylan classic “The Times They Are a-Changin’.”
He also recently played live from home on the Turkey Hill Brewing Company Facebook page and was the final performance in Season 1 of “NEPA Live From Home,” a live local music series produced by the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza and Karl Hall in Wilkes-Barre.
Watch the full performance from June 4 below: