Talking Horror with David Draiman of Disturbed

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Currently on the road in the midst of the fourth MUSIC AS A WEAPON TOUR, David Draiman, frontman of Chicago's DISTURBED, recently sat down with FANGORIA MUSICK prior to a show to discuss music, film, and the horrors of real life and beyond.

JAMES ZAHN (FANGORIA): When people hear the band DISTURBED, I don’t think they necessarily associate you with the horror genre, but your latest album INDESTRUCTIBLE is pretty dark in terms of subject matter, primarily with real-life horror…

DAVID DRAIMAN: There’s no doubt about that.

FANGORIA: Your latest video for THE NIGHT has been released, and it seems to present “the night” as a kind of “creature”...

DRAIMAN: Well, [Jason] Noble (director) presented us with a treatment for it that definitely fit the idea that we had for the song, which was the the night was it’s own kind of entity and it sort of takes you over, and in some cases can set you free. It’s a transformation, but a welcome one in a way.

FANGORIA: Last year you released a video for INSIDE THE FIRE, which was a very personal song for you…

DRAIMAN: That song was unfortunately written about a suicide that I had to deal with, where a girlfriend of mine had taken her own life. The idea for the song came from when I was at her funeral, and I was actually standing over her. It was the first time that I had actually seen a dead body in an open casket, and I was overwhelmed with feelings of guilt at the time even though she had already been on a path of self-destruction long before I had ever known her.

The imagery that goes through your mind when you’re in that state of depression will shock you.

I had this image of The Devil speaking to me from over my shoulder, trying to compel me to take my own life as well so that I could still be with her in the afterlife. So that spoken voice in the song is meant to be The Devil trying to compel me to commit the act.

FANGORIA: We’ve got a version of the video that includes a rather important PSA on the beginning of it.

DRAIMAN: Absolutely. This is meant to discourage suicide and show how horrifying it can be, and how damaging it is not only to the person that commit’s the act, but to all of those around them - long after they’re away, those people are still affected by it.

FANGORIA: On a happier note, many FANGORIA readers often associate Disturbed with Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake of George A. Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD through the Richard Cheese cover of DOWN WITH THE SICKNESS.

DRAIMAN: (laughs) I love it. (laughs more) I think he did a great job with it. I think it totally fit’s the scene in the movie, and I’m flattered that we were chosen to be covered by him. It’s a great version.

FANGORIA: People have done parodies of the parody and they usually pop up on YouTube for awhile before getting yanked, and DOWN WITH THE SICKNESS always seems to wind up in those.

DRAIMAN: (laughs) That’s pretty cool!

FANGORIA: How’s MUSIC AS A WEAPON going this year? It’s kind of evolved if I’m not mistaken?

DRAIMAN: It’s going great. It’s the largest incarnation thus far, with the largest production we’ve ever had; largest lineup of bands; and now it includes a lifestyle aspect of the festival. We’ve got a troupe of around 20 tattoo artists along with us, and they’re inking bands and fans. There’s also extreme sports activities, a vendor village, and a multimedia area. It’s really turned into a huge undertaking, but it’s going very well.

FANGORIA: Will you be releasing a DVD/CD combo for this your as you’ve done in the past?

DRAIMAN: We’ll definitely be putting out another DVD soon, but it won’t be a MUSIC AS A WEAPON DVD. It’ll be more in line with the first DVD we put out, but instead of focusing on one record cycle, it will look back at the past 10 years of Disturbed.

FANGORIA: In the meantime, you’ve got all those BOOTLEG EDITION's going up on your site pretty regularly.

DRAIMAN: Yeah, nothing like really putting your nuts on the table with those. We figured that everybody comes to the shows with some sort of PDA, or a recording device of some kind and the shows make their way onto YouTube the next day anyway. We finally just figured why not go out and spend the money, buy the equipment, hire the company to do the mixes, and give the fans something that will actually have good sound quality and be a good memento of their live experience. It’s kind of unfortunate that at the beginning of the tour I was really sick. I had an upper respiratory infection that became strep throat, so those early shows didn’t sound very good.

FANGORIA: Since this is Fango, I have to ask about your personal relationship with the horror genre. Are you a fan?

DRAIMAN: Very much so. I find myself drawn to classic horror more than a lot of the stuff that’s been coming out recently. I definitely find a gem once in awhile, but modern horror doesn’t intrigue me near as much as the older stuff like THE EXORCIST and THE SHINING. Once in awhile though, I stumble upon something newer that grabs me while flipping though the satellite.

FANGORIA: A lot of people identify you as a voice on the QUEEN OF THE DAMNED soundtrack.

DRAIMAN: The actual singing voice of the Vampire in the film was Jonathan Davis from KORN. The single FORESAKEN from the soundtrack is my voice. So the film was all Jon, but I was on the soundtrack.

FANGORIA: I believe they used six or seven vocalists on that album.

DRAIMAN: That was a big label issue from Jonathan’s end. Since the actual soundtrack was coming out on Warner, his label (Sony at the time) wouldn’t allow him to sing on it, so they had a bunch of Warner artists do the singing. They had myself, Chester Bennington (Linkin Park), Wayne Static (Static-X), and a bunch of other guys.

FANGORIA: On a final note, you did a cover of FAITH NO MORE’s MIDLIFE CRISIS that was floating around for years on the bootleg scene. Being a huge FNM fan myself, I was excited to hear your version, which finally saw an official release last month (hear it on myspace). How did you approach a song like that from a band that is largely regarded as a true classic?

DRAIMAN: Our approach was to respect it - to respect the integrity of it, and not deviate that much from the original. The original was genius. I have a huge amount of respect for Mike Patton, and we obviously love the song and the darkness within it.

Originally we recorded that when we were approached at one point in time to do a FAITH NO MORE tribute album that was being spearheaded by THE DEFTONES. Mike Patton ended up putting the kibosh on that because he didn’t want there to be any tributes to FAITH NO MORE. So we had that version sitting around for quite awhile and when this album came up (WARNER BROS’ COVERED: A REVOLUTION IN SOUND) we figured we loved that song so much that it was time to do a kind of modernized version of it. We changed a couple of things musically, but as far as his vocal approach, in no way do I think that I could ever out-do Mike, so I tried to just keep it true.

DISTURBED is currently on the road with MUSIC AS A WEAPON now in it’s Canadian leg. The band will head to Europe in June. Their latest album, INDESTRUCTIBLE is available now and can be ordered through, along with COVERED: A REVOLUTION IN SOUND.

For more:
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Songs from the DISTURBED Catalog have appeared on the soundtracks to numerous horror films, including HOUSE OF WAX, SAW III, DRACULA 2000, and more.


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now thats interesting.

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