Keith Wallen has become a vital member of Breaking Benjamin, but according to the guitarist, he nearly botched his chance to be a member of the band only to get a second chance.

Wallen was guesting on The Jesea Lee Show podcast when he recounted how he almost blew his chance to be a member of the group.

How Keith Wallen Was Approached About Joining Breaking Benjamin

As many fans remember, there was a period of discontent in Breaking Benjamin that resulted in legal matters and singer Benjamin Burnley eventually retaining the name to the group while deciding to move forward with a new lineup.

“I think when Ben kind of had that point where he had his disagreement or falling out with the other guys, he was looking for new players and I think somehow he just remembered me,” said Wallen, whose previous bands Copper and Adelitas Way had both crossed paths with Breaking Benjamin over the years.

For Wallen, the timing was great as he had just made the decision to leave Adelitas Way and Burnley had seen his exit statement.

According to Wallen, Burnley reached out through Facebook, they started talking, traded videos back and forth with Burnley complimenting the guitarist on his playing, but then five months passed without any further inquiry, leaving Wallen to believe that Burnley wasn't interested.

Why Keith Wallen Was Almost Passed Over

Luckily for Wallen, he was friends with guitarist Jasen Rauch who reconnected with him just as Breaking Benjamin were starting to reform.

"Jasen Rauch hit me up … And he’s like, ‘This Breaking Benjamin thing is happening and we’re looking for another guitar player-vocalist. Is this something you’d still be into?,’" recalled Wallen. "And I was like, ‘Hell yeah, let’s do this.’”

It was then that Wallen learned why he was almost passed over. He had played it too cool with Burnley, leading the frontman to think he had zero interest.

“The thing is when I spoke to Ben, I think he thought I wasn’t interested. To this day, he says when we spoke I just wasn’t interested," says Wallen.

"But you know how it is, I was trying to play it cool. It’s like when you meet a girl for the first time and it’s like, ‘Oh, nice to meet you’ and you text them right away. Like, ‘Oh, I was in the shower, thought I heard the phone ring. Thought it might have been you.’ But yeah, I was playing it cool, but I guess I played it too cool and he thought, ‘He doesn’t want to do this shit.’”

But after Rauch reached out, that cleared the path for another phone call with Burnley, an invite to meet up in person and the chance to see how he fit with the rest of the reconstructed lineup. Wallen says after a "three-to-six month Breaking Benjamin boot camp" learning the band's catalog, they finally moved forward.

Keith Wallen Reflects on a Decade of Breaking Benjamin

It has now been over a decade since the guitarist joined the group, and he tells Lee, “I can’t believe it’s been 10 years, but it proves we’re having fun and I’m having a good time.”

He adds that initial concerns about being the new guys were quickly dashed by the welcoming Breaking Benjamin fans. “They could not have been more welcoming to us new guys, and Ben, the same thing. He was just thrilled to have the band going again and to have us be part of it.”

In the time since the group started, Wallen has branched out with a solo career as well and has become an in-demand songwriter. Once again, Breaking Benjamin have supported him, with Wallen even opening shows for Breaking Benjamin.

READ MORE: Weston Cage Is Making Music With a Breaking Benjamin Member

Wallen's new solo album, Infinity Now, is due May 3 and is available to pre-order. You can also catch him on tour in April with Messer and Through Fire before he joins Breaking Benjamin and Daughtry on dates in May. All Keith Wallen dates are on sale now and can be viewed at his website.

Keith Wallen Guests on The Jesea Lee Show

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