Disturbed Frontman David Draiman Interviewed
Widely known for their single Down with the Sickness; Disturbed's frontman, David Draiman, took the morning off to give me a phone call to discuss their upcoming album and future plans for the band. Recording their fourth album, these guys have plans to come out stronger than ever in 2008.
Scottydawg: I’m talking with David Draiman, vocalist of Disturbed. Thanks for the phone call. I was checking tour dates but you’re actually in the studio right now recording your fourth album.
David Draiman: Right, we’re just finishing the record. We’re gonna start mixing Nov 29th.
Scottydawg: Do you have a title for the album?
David: Right now we’re calling it Indestructible.
Scottydawg: Do you have a release date yet?
David: We’re lookin at the spring of 2008 but don’t have an exact date.
Scottydawg: Can you tell us a little about the upcoming album such as what it’s going to sound like and how will it be different from your last three albums?
David: I think this is going to be a much darker record than the previous two. It has a lot more definement than the first record. It certainly doesn’t divorce itself from the more melodic aspect and the more rhythmic and soloing that Danny (Donegan, guitarist) has started doing. It seems to be a darker record, be a little bit more aggressive, and be a little bit more like the vibe of The Sickness. It still seems to take all those enhanced qualities that the Believe record and the Fists (Ten Thousand Fists) record brought out of us; and take em to the next level as well. Basically when we sat down for lunch, me and Mikey (Wengren, drummer) were discussing what we wanted the record to be like. I’ve had a rough past few years (laughs). It’s been challenging in my life lately. I’m like look man, just give me the angriest, happiest, you know the most in your face aggressive shit you can. Everybody agreed (laughs). That’s where this stuff came from, to give you an idea.
Scottydawg: How many tracks on the album?
David: Umm, not sure. I think there’s gonna be eleven or twelve.
Scottydawg: You have that unique sound where you can put out a single without telling anyone and once I hear it on the radio, I know it’s Disturbed. What inspires you to write your lyrics?
David: It’s a myriad of things really; life experiences probably more than anything. Life experiences, my view of world events, other incidents that I have witnessed; or situations that I have been part of that I can describe in a certain way. Sometimes I just paint a story. It really depends on the song. With each separate song, you kinda need to respect what it is musically first before you interpret what it is lyrically. For instance, I don’t write the lyrics until everything is done musically. It’s the vibe of what the song is singing musically that gives me the inspiration of what to write. It’s the feel of the song that inspires me and what direction to go lyrically. You can have an in your face song and you can write something that’s a softer subject, and it’s just not gonna be appropriate.
Scottydawg: Now you guys are producing it yourselves. Do you find it easier to produce an album yourself opposed to having a third party involved?
David: I don’t know if easier is necessarily the word because we actually tend to be pretty damn hard on ourselves. In fact, it may make it more difficult because then all the pressure is on you (laughs). You get over analytical because you don’t have that extra pair of ears and eyes and opinions; so ya gotta be hyper critical like we are of one another. Myself, Danny, and Mike are our own producers with each other. You know, we push each other pretty hard. So for all intense and purposes, the process hasn’t really changed much. You know, Johnny (Johnny K, produced Disturbed’s last three albums) taught us a lot over the course of three records. If you haven’t learned from somebody that’s been teaching ya for three records straight, then you shouldn’t be doin it.
Scottydawg: Do you have a tour planned to kick this album off?
David: I know we’re looking to start things off in Europe for the festival. I know that we’re looking into doing something for a summer tour in the U.S. but we’re not sure what yet.
Scottydawg: Any ideas of other bands that you might throw on the bill?
David: Not a clue yet, man. I’ll tell ya, the environment is dwindling. There aren’t too many bands that we can pair up with anymore.
Scottydawg: What do ya mean? You guys are kick ass!
David: Well, thank you. Let me put it to you this way, we could go ahead and get a number of any bands anytime; it’s just that a lot of the bands that were our colleagues so to speak, have fallen off the face of the planet. You know what I mean? We use to like being able to bring out a whole grouping of new bands just to give them a flavor they haven’t heard yet. And it’s getting more and more difficult to do that. It’s challenging but we’ll see. So I don’t know. We’re willing to talk to everybody and anybody. We don’t have any problems touring with anybody. We get along with everybody so it’s really not an issue. I know that there are a number of things that are being talked about but I’m not at liberty to reveal anything.
Scottydawg: Aww, you can’t hit us up with any clues? (laughs)
David: (laughs) Not just yet. I’ll get myself in trouble.
Scottydawg: I gotta pry, that’s my job.
David: That’s alright.
Scottydawg: On a personal level, what got you into music as a professional career? I mean, you have three college degrees under your belt.
David: Well, I’ve been in bands since I was sixteen years old so it was just a matter of time. This is always my first love; everything else is kind of like me trying to be realistic so to speak; just trying to do the things that I can fall back on. Initially I was gonna go into law but I couldn’t live with myself being an attorney (laughs). And then I ended up going into healthcare and did that for like six or seven years. I was a healthcare administrator. We use to run the band out of my office. I had my secretary posting our mailings and shit (laughs). We probably parted like four or five grand worth of FedEx in terms of sending it out to labels with promo packs and demos and shit like that. You do what you have to do. When this is what you love, everything else is just kind of like a means to an end. And so it was really about this all the time.
Scottydawg: So you’re living your dream now?
David: Yeah, yeah. We really are, man. You know, it’s a blessing. It really is. I mean people can say what they want and we can even say what we want about it sometimes; but it’s difficult because it’s not all easy, it’s not all pleasure. There’s a lot of sacrifices. But there’s nothing that compares to being up in front of ten thousand people, having them sing your words with you. You know you raise your fist and they raise theirs. It’s amazing.
Scottydawg: Ya know, I talk to many local bands. Some of them think it’s all gravy once you make it big but that’s not the case.
David: That’s a bunch of bullshit (laughs). Once you actually “break” or have a hit record, you then have to follow up again and again and again. It gets harder and harder because you have to keep on writing new material and it has to be something that has it’s own identity. It has to be something that doesn’t sound like something you’ve already written. It has to be something that doesn’t have words you’ve already used or phrasings that you’ve already used. It gets fucking hard. It kinda forces us to kinda push ourselves in directions that we haven’t pushed ourselves in yet. Whether it’s furthering the limitations of range or rhythm or aggression or soloing or whatever; we keep on trying to push the envelope.
Scottydawg: Thinking back when you started as a local band, did you think it would be anything that it is now? Did you ever imagine the success?
David: You know, I always had hoped. I always had belief. I thought it was good enough to stand the test of time. The question in my mind was always going to be whether or not we could continue to remain relevant and remain in the game over the course of time. I don’t think there are too many bands “like us” that still go out there and fill venues with five to ten thousand people and sell one and a half to two million records. We’re very, very fortunate in the loyalty of our fan base. They are there, they’re not going anywhere, they’ve been with us from the beginning; and as long as we continue to give them records that they can be proud of, I think they’re gonna stick around.
Scottydawg: Now you also have your own record label company, Intoxication Records. Can you tell us a little about the label and how it got started?
David: Well, we’re always looking at acts and that’s another reason why we wanted to push and produce this record ourselves; because Danny and I always have other acts that we’re looking at in terms of potentially signing to the label or producing. There’s a number of people that we are looking at but nothing that’s ready yet.
Scottydawg: Anyone signed yet?
David: No, nothing yet. We’ve been close a couple times but haven’t signed anyone. With the first band signed to a label, you gotta make sure it’s the right one. We’ve had a bunch of near misses but nothing yet.
Scottydawg: You covered the song "Land of Confusion" by Phil Collins. He’s a great artist. What made you choose that song?
David: It’s a good song, man. You know, lyrically, it made sense with a lot of what I was writing about at the time. We had a vision of what we could turn it into as far as making it our own. I think we did. We like to metamorphosize and shit. We just had visions of what that song could become with our version.
Scottydawg: How far do you wanna take this?
David: As far as it’ll take us (laughs). I have no problem being around another twenty years. I’d like to play until people don’t wanna hear us anymore (laughs).
Scottydawg: (laughs). I don’t think that’ll happen. Is there anything that I might not have touched base on that you want your fans to know?
David: That’s about it. I’m just really excited to get these songs mixed. We got artwork to do and all kinds of shit to do.
Scottydawg: Well, David, I appreciate you taking the time out to give me a call this morning. I wanted to thank you personally for what you guys have done for me in my personal life. Disturbed was one of the handful of bands that inspired me to become a journalist.
David: Oh, hell yeah, man. That’s exactly what the stuff is for. It’s to make you stronger. It’s to help you come to terms with whatever problems you are experiencing in your life. Fuck yeah!
Scottydawg: Thanks, David, once again. Looking forward to your new album Indestructible coming out next year and seeing a tour kicked off as well. You guys are amazing.
David: Thank you.
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