"Dark and twisted" are how some describe Chicago's own metal band Disturbed. They're in the forefront of today's metal scene. With a fierce and electrifying assualt the band has staked claim that they will be reckoned with for years to come.
Livewire's Phil Bonyata had the chance to meet up with David Draiman and talk about their new album, politics and of course, Dimebag Darrell's awful demise.
Livewire: Tell me about your benefit concert at the Aragon this Wednesday night.
David: Well we're trying to get together a bunch of people who loved Dimebag Darrell and do something for the family and the people left behind by the tragedy. Try to make something good that comes from something from such horrific circumstances. Try and give the family a little bit of hope and give Vinny an excuse to maybe jump on a drumkit again. We just want to show some unity and some strength.
Livewire: What do you think of Phil Anselmo?
David: I think that he's probably one of the more enigmatic frontman of our time. He's tremendously inspirational to vocalists throughout the genre including myself. I know that there's some weirdness regarding the "incident," but I certainly know that Phil would have never in his darkest thoughts ever have wanted any harm to befall Dime. You know the world is a very, very extreme place. When a fan gets so connected to a band that the demise of the band, however they want to interpret it, leads them to question their own lives and their existence...I mean it's weird. There are too many types of music that inspire that passion in people and thankfully metal is one of them. It's just unfortunate that this animal happened to take the demise of Pantera so seriously that he felt that it was justification for him to do what he did. He took the life of probably one of the greatest guitar players to walk the face of the Earth.
Livewire: Is the show sold-out.
David: It sold-out in under an hour. We're happy to see the tremendous amount of support from people all over the country. It's going to be an interesting cast of characters on the night. Every band will be doing either a Pantera or a Damage Plan cover. We plan to have a kind of multi-band jam at the end of the set to close the night. We're doing a video presentation in the middle of the show. There's going to be an auction of merchandise. You know, the proceeds go towards the benefit. Everybody just kinda chipped in and everybody is willing to, you know contribute. It's just really good to see this outpouring of support and emotion. It'll be a good healing thing. It will be a way for us to take comfort in each other over our very dear, beloved fallen brother and to remember why we do what we do. Were it all started from and what makes it worth it.
Livewire: You answered an ad in the paper and became lead singer of Disturbed.
David: Pretty much. They didn't have the name Disturbed yet and definitely the music wasn't the same.
Livewire: Why the name Disturbed?
David: It had been a name I have been contemplating for a band for years. It just seems to symbolize everything we were feeling at the time. The level of conformity that people are forced into was disturbing to us and we were just trying to push the envelope and the name just sorta made sense.
Livewire: Do you feel that you're emotionally stable?
David: Oh yeah, it's not meant to mean that we need to be institutionalized (laughs). I mean you'll find world events disturbing. You will find the duality of man disturbing. You know peoples' inhibitions and fear to live how the really want to live is disturbing. The media serves as the fourth branch of government is disturbing. And more than anything else - that metal could be disrespected is disturbing.
Livewire: You haven't had a new studio release in over two years now. How's the new album coming along?
David: We're in the studio now.
Livewire: Do you have a name for it?
David: No, no not yet. We're about six songs in. We just finished preproduction on the next seven. We're actually recording 20 tracks and from the 20 we're going to choose the record, have our B-sides and, who knows, maybe a start on the next record as well. We don't plan on taking so much time between records now. What's happened in between the last record and this one is my guitar player had a baby girl, and people were just groovin' to their own thing and being just normal human beings. Now it's time to jump back into the fold and let our proverbial hair down, although I don't have any hair.
Livewire: Any release date set for the record?
David: No, we were hopefully looking at the end of the summer, but I can't guarantee anything. It all depends on what the touring environment is going to look like, what's the situation overseas, do we want to make sure that we take advantage of the momentum of a worldwide coordinated release. Do we stagger it? There's a whole bunch of different questions that need to be answered before I can accurately answer that question.
Livewire: Do you see Disturbed's music evolving or staying pretty much to formula?
David: There's always going to be the simple quality that whenever you hear one of our songs you'll know it's us. It will still be very aggressive, it will still be rhythmic. This new record seems to take on a darker tinge than the Believe record. It seems to be pushing the envelope a little bit further even. A little more classic metal and bringing back some of those electronica elements that were a little more prevalent on "The Sickness." Just trying to fuse the best of both records and taking it further. There's more soloing on this record and we're just trying to be what we are. We're just a metal band at heart.
Livewire: Best Disturbed song to date and why?
David: Best Disturbed song to date. (pondering) Not including the new material, of the first two records my personal favorite song is "Remember" off the Believe record. To me that what shows our highest level of musicianship, complexity and sense of melody while still fusing it with the power, hopefully that we'll come to be known by.
Livewire: What have you been listening to today.
David: I've been listening to the new Chevelle record a lot. I dig that record. I dig the new Alter Bridge record. I dig the new Papa Roach. It's just too bad that that record didn't get too much of a fair shot as I thought it should have. I'm curious to see what the new System sounds like. I listen to all kinds of stuff. There really hasn't been a whole lot of heavy rock coming out. As far as the other side of things I like good hip-hop and R&B, I like opera, I like all kinds of things. I've got a pretty eclectic range in terms of what I listen to.
Livewire: President Bush - impeach or now more term limits?
David: Well, those are two extremes. I think we're stuck with what we got. Was Kerry that much better of an option? One can only hope that Bush doesn't make a huge mess in the next four years. Hopefully, we'll get through this without another war starting. You know Syria, Iran. It seems that Mr. Bush has a hard-on for the Middle East. I'm just happy to see that the peace talks have kicked back up again with Israel and the new Palestine authority. That the Jordanians and the Egyptians are involved is good. When they went for the actual talks they were actually flying an Israeli flag in an Arab territory. That was a huge sign of acceptance and compromise. I see good things on the horizon and hopefully continued U.S. pressure on different elements within the region and not spoiling that.
Livewire: You're Jewish, correct?
David: Oh yeah.
Livewire: Are you religious?
David: No, not at all.
Livewire: Is there a viable presence of Jews in rock bands today?
David: You'd be surprised, man. There's more members of the tribe out there than you might think. You know Aaron Lewis is another member of the tribe, Mr. Brian Warner, Mr. Marilyn Manson are members of the tribe. There aren't too many Jewish metal frontmen though. (laughs loudly) It's all good.
Livewire: Being from Chicago, do you think that Chicago ranks with New York, L.A., Detroit and Seattle as an important incubator of rock music?
David: Not as far as public perception goes, no. Unfortunately, Chicago has never had a stream of bands that break. There's always one here and there. Whether it's us or the Smashing Pumpkins. It's always "a" band every once in awhile, so it's really never been able to cement itself as a city on the same level as New York or L.A. The reason is the business is always on one of the coasts. We'll never be able to get away from that fact. The high caliber people tend to go to where things can happen for them and that's why so many musicians move to New York or L.A. to try and make themselves heard. You really have to make a lot of noise in the Midwest to get heard. (laughs)
Livewire: Where do you hangout in Chicago?
David: Actually, I'm buying into a place. It's place called Rockbar. It's on the corner of North and Ashland here in Chicago.
Livewire: Will there be bands there?
David: No, it's necessarily meant to be a live venue. Chicago doesn't really have a cool rock club. You got the Double Door, you got the Liars club or your standards like Delilahs. These are all of your stereotypical kind of bars. There hasn't been anything a little more upscale. A lot of people don't want to go to places that is, dare I say, gritty. They don't have to listen to bam, bam, bam, bam all night long. Hopefully, it will be an alternate means of entertainment for people that are looking for something in that vein and don't want to deal with the techno jargon of the clubs and don't want to go to one of the grittier bars.
Livewire: Cubs or White Sox?
David: I like going to a Cubs game better. Wrigley Field has a much better vibe. I'm not a huge baseball fan to begin with. I mean I don't watch it on TV, but I prefer to go to Cub's games.
Livewire: Is it all sex and drugs on the road?
David: Well, one out of two aint bad. It's certainly not the drugs. We're not a big drug band. I'll smoke weed here and there and that's about the extent of it. We drink. We drink with the best of them. (laughs)
Livewire: Anything strange happen to you while on tour.
David: A guy gave me his prosthetic leg to sign.
Livewire: The three most influential rock artists or bands of all time?
The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. Have to include Black Sabbath. That is if I get to pick four.
Livewire: You have a unique kind of a marching in place kind of thing going on when your onstage. Some call it sexy. Is it natural.
David: No. It's all just feel and vibe. I march to the music and feel myself in it and letting it move you. I'm just a passenger on the train - I'm just trying to make sure it goes in the right direction.
Livewire: Where will Disturbed be in 10 years from now?
David: I can't see us ever making any drastic changes, I mean we do what we do. It think we like the way we do what we do, too. There's just more satisfaction out of rhythmic aggression infused with intense melody. I think when you can craft these songs a certain way and you get those moments when the combination of notes makes the hair on the back of your neck stand-up - you know you're doing something right. I think that nothing does that for us as much as metal. We're going to stick to who we are and where we came from.
Concert review - Ozzfest 2003 Aug. 2, 2003
Concert review - Ozzfest 2001 June 9, 2001
Concert review - Madison, WI Oct. 11, 2000