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1 Disturbed: The Sickness is the Cure on Fri 27 Mar 2009, 17:50


One of the greatest compliments a band can get is the recommendation and accolades of their peers. Being witness to "the sickness" on the second stage of Ozzfest 2000, Disturbed is building a fan base that includes not only ticketholders but also many of the other acts on the metal festival's bill. Prior to the touting began of the band's performance as one of the best of Ozzfest 2000, Shoutweb caught up with the band in New York City. In the underground caverns of The Bowery Ballroom, lead singer David Draiman gave us a little insight into the Disturbed mind and explained why the sickness is really the cure.

Shoutweb: How did you get added to this bill with Dope?

David: As far as I know, our agent, David Kirby, got us booked on this show. We have a lot of fans in New York that unfortunately we haven’t been able to play in front of. So this is an attempt to give them a little taste of us.

Shoutweb: Actually you guys were supposed to come through here with Danzig in April, right?

David: Actually Danzig’s New York date was cancelled while we were on the tour with them. We dropped off the Danzig tour eventually because unfortunately we had some other opportunities – fortunately for us I should say. We had a chance to play a radio show in San Antonio, Texas with Godsmack and Static-X. You have to take the opportunity when it’s available. We missed the four last days of the tour which was not too terrible but unfortunate nonetheless.

Shoutweb: Danzig is pretty damn heavy.

David: It’s all good. It was good training for the band. We had to get used to what it’s like being the baby band on a tour full of bands that have been around for a while. It was sort of like earning our wings so to speak. It was definitely very good for us.

Shoutweb: Were there any initiation rights or sacrificing of small children? (laughter)

David: No, nothing like that. Just your basic everyday things that you have to deal with unfortunately when you’re starting up – whether or not you get a soundcheck or playing a 25 minute or half hour set or playing to a bunch of crowds that are very narrow-minded. Danzig’s crowd is kind of like a cult following. They only want to hear Danzig. There were a couple of other bands on the bill. There was a band called Six Feet Under, which is a death metal band, which are definitely not us. Then there is another band called Hatebreed, which is a hard core band. So we were kind of like the odd man out. I think we won over a lot of people. I also did see a contingency of our own fans at each of the shows which was good to see.

Shoutweb: I know people who are reading this can’t see you right now but I have to ask about that spike coming out of your chin. Is that permanent?

David: Yes, it’s a double-pierced labret.

Shoutweb: Ouch!

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2 Re: Disturbed: The Sickness is the Cure on Fri 27 Mar 2009, 17:51


David: It’s all good.

Shoutweb: Do you sleep with that in?

David: Sure. I eat with that in. I play with it in. I sing with it in. I fuck with it in. I do everything with it in.

Shoutweb: I love the outfit too. It’s very... Houdini.

David: Thank you. I got it when we did a photo shoot for Hot Topics. It was one of the things I modeled and I told them I liked it so they let me take it with me. It’s one of the nice parts of doing these gigs.

Shoutweb: Now, you were born here in New York, were you not?

David: I was born in Brooklyn – in Flatbush actually.

Shoutweb: When did you leave New York?

David: Three years old or something like that.

Shoutweb: But you don’t have a Chicago accent..

David: I have a mixture of accents. I didn’t spend all of my time in Chicago. I kind of grew up all over the place. It’s a bastard accent.

Shoutweb: So tell me a little about the background of the band for those people that are new to Disturbed. I know you have a web site at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] that people can visit to get more info on the band.

David: The other three guys in the band had been playing together prior to my joining them. They put out an ad in the Illinois Entertainer, which is a music publication in the Chicago area. They were looking for a singer. They fluffed it up a little bit saying that they were signed to an indie label, free recording, free this and free that, label interest, and all other kinds of garbage. Some of it was true and some of it was not but it got me to go out there. I showed up and I was a little intimidated because I hadn’t sung to anything that was that aggressive. I was kind of curious as to whether I could adapt my vocal style. The first day I just broke into something and I was just sort of winging it – improvisation. I was definitely feeling something. A friend of mine came with me who unfortunately is not with us anymore. He convinced me to go back and give it another shot and I did. Everyone in the band is very talented and I am very glad to be working with them.

Shoutweb: When you say that your friend is no longer with us...

David: I mean dead.

Shoutweb: Is this Jordan?

David: Yes.

Shoutweb: Tell me about that. I see that he is mentioned in the liner notes in the thank yous. Is it uncomfortable for you to talk about?

David: It’s alright. It’s okay. It’s not comfortable. But what in life is.

Shoutweb: My Dad just died last month so I understand if you don’t want to talk about it.

David: He was one of the people in my life. He was an ex-roommate of mine who kind of got me into real music. I come from a big punk and new wave background. I didn’t have a whole lot of dealings with heavy music. I listened to some Metallica. I listened to stuff like that. I think the first real new heavy thing he ended up playing for me was Korn’s first album when he first got it. It took me a while to warm up to it but then I was like "yeah, this is kinda cool". He went with me to the audition because I wanted somebody to come with me who understood the genre and knew what it was about. After the whole audition I went back home and I was like "Oh, I don’t know if I can do this." The singer that they had beforehand was kind of a Phil Anselmo kind of a singer – a lot of real aggressive screaming type of vocals. I was hurting myself and I didn’t know if I could do it. He was like, "Oh, what I heard of you today with the four of you combined is so great that if you do it you will definitely get signed. I can recognize it." He kind of pushed me and I’m glad that he did. Unfortunately, he was not a well person. He had a tracheostomy and heart problems and all other kinds of stuff. Unfortunately, one day right prior to the album release – a couple months prior – he was headed into a concert at the House of Blues in Chicago and he dropped dead. I feel he’s largely responsible for my getting involved with this so I felt it necessary to dedicate my part in this to him.

Shoutweb: Wow, thanks for sharing that David.

Shoutweb: You have an excellent voice. Have you had any training?

David: I didn’t until recently. About two years ago I started taking voice lessons because singing like this was killing me. I needed to learn how to do it without hurting myself. I did that and learned to use the correct muscles. I had a great teacher by the name of Arian back in Chicago who really showed me what I was doing wrong.

Shoutweb: Can you spell that name for me?

David: I don’t even know how to spell it correctly! She’s great though. I thanked her on the album too and I misspelled her name on there too.

Shoutweb: Oh, I was about to ask if I could find it in the album!

David: She’ll know who I am talking about.

Shoutweb: Let’s talk a little about the album. You’re responsible for the lyrics, right?

David: Yes.

Shoutweb: Let’s talk about the most obvious track "Shout". You said that you wanted to do something out of left field but was there any other reason for covering that Tears For Fears song?

David: Not really. I had a vision for it in terms of what I would do with the song. We all did. It really was something that was so *not* like us that we wanted to show everyone "look what we can do to this thing that is so vanilla so to speak". We really spiced it up. I don’t know if vanilla is the right word. That’s not meant with any disrespect to them but it’s new wave pop from the 80’s. It’s nothing like Disturbed. We wanted to take something that was absolutely nothing like us and make it our own. I think we did a good job with it.

Shoutweb: I love this entire album which is very rare. Usually I am saying "okay, skip that track". I can’t believe you haven’t gotten more recognition. I think Ozzfest will be big for you guys.

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3 Re: Disturbed: The Sickness is the Cure on Fri 27 Mar 2009, 17:51


David: A pinnacle? Who knows.

Shoutweb: It’s my prediction! I am not a big fan of the sing/scream then sing then scream school of vocals.

David: I am a big fan of melody. I listen to some monotone style of music and I like listening to it. I like hard core. I actually got really, really into the guys from Six Feet Under. I was digging that whole death metal thing. For myself and for Disturbed I just think that we want you to walk away singing something. It’s hard to walk away singing something that doesn’t have a real discernable melody.

Shoutweb: True.

David: Even when I do sing more aggressively, it’s never really monotone screams. It’s vocal with edge to it but it’s not screaming. Making the transition between the softer to the more aggressive styles about twenty times throughout one song took some getting used to. I definitely think that the songs have developed to a point where I certainly can see us potentially having five or six quote unquote singles off of the album. It’s not because we wrote anything geared to radio play. We wrote what came out of our hearts. We have our own idea about how we like songs to be structured and what makes a song for us. That develops over time. Thank God that we had two years before we started to have things really happen so we had time to develop on our own. We learned things from one another and became stronger.

Shoutweb: The video for "Stupify" is on MTV now?

David: It’s on "120 Minutes" and "Return of the Rock" on MTV. It’s number four most frequently requested on The Box and that’s with all the hip-hop stuff that’s on there! I thought in particular that that was kind of cool because it’s very rare that you see a heavy band having their video be the most requested on "The Box". It’s not even one of those specialty things that you get on satellite or on digital cable that would be "The Heavy Box". This is the regular Box! I was like, "Yeah! Pretty cool." The video itself was filmed in an old abandoned air force base at Van Nuys airport just North of L.A. The child in the video, Austin, who I actually just heard from the other day – we correspond via e-mail all the time. I keep telling him that if we ever get to the MTV Video Music Awards that I’m bringing him with me. I think that would be totally cool. The kid is unbelievable. At one point when we were filming it, during the filming process, he’s sitting in one of those actor or director’s chairs. He was being made up and getting ready. He’s looking all miserable but he was totally cool. When we were introduced to him we each said hello individually and he didn’t say anything. He just looked us all over and was sort of examining us. He looked us up and down and after a long pause he says, "Cool!" It was funny. This little seven year old kid was so awesome. He, in the video, represents my inner child. It’s my inner child that sees the world in a warped way because of what life experience has done - the way the world has treated me or the band and us in general. There are ghosts in our world and remnants of the past and it’s sometimes frightening to look around the corner. That’s kind of what the video symbolizes. The video actually has absolutely nothing to do with the song.

Shoutweb: Was that supposed to be a hospital that you’re in?

David: Something like a mental institution.

Shoutweb: Wow, and that was an airport.

David: It looked like a mental institution because there were doors and bars on the windows. It definitely looked like a mental hospital – total vibe. The place had been decrepit and abandoned for years. There were mushrooms growing out of the floor. It was fucking awesome. It was so cool. It totally set the vibe for the video.

Shoutweb: For Ozzfest you guys are playing the second stage. Do you know what time you’ll go on?

David: It changes. We could go on as early as 10:30 in the morning to 3:00 in the afternoon. It all depends because it rotates. I’m cool to go on whenever because I’m just happy to be on Ozzfest.

Shoutweb: Is that like the ultimate experience?

David: Oh yeah. There’s pretty much no greater honor than opening up for the godfather of metal. This is Ozzy Osbourne. This is Black Sabbath. This is he who started it all. Who made the biting the heads off of bats cool. It’s very intimidating actually. I hear that Ozzy’s son is into us so it’s a cool feeling.

Shoutweb: You have a very active web site and street teams going on. Are you involved with the web site?

David: All the time. We make sure that we answer every single e-mail that we get. I don’t know if there is another band out there that can claim that. We take the time to read them and answer them personally. They may not be the longest responses in the world but we do answer them. The connection with our fan base is really everything we have. They’re our lifeblood and we recognize that so we’re willing to go to great lengths to keep them happy.

Shoutweb: Are you doing any dates before Ozzfest?

David: We’re doing a headlining tour with The Deadlights, Apartment 26, and Workhorse Movement. That should be cool.

Shoutweb: The Deadlights are great guys.

David: We played with them just recently in L.A. at this Album Network showcase with System of a Down.

Shoutweb: How was that?

David: It was great. It’s just sort of an industry thing where there is a bunch of label people just looking at each other to see if it’s okay to clap. I don’t take that very well. I kind of get a little upset.

Shoutweb: Does this add to your on stage persona?

David: I don’t tolerate lack of participation. It’s a fucking rock show. You come to see and to participate, not to stand there and sip beer or coffee or some shit. It’s not about that. We’re out there bearing our soul, so take a look and listen and see what we’re offering to you and let it sink in. If you don’t move then get the fuck out. I don’t want the people at our shows that are going to be passive. I want people at our shows that are going to be rabid and ridiculous and lose all their emotions the way that I am. When I play to a room full of industry people it’s a little bit of a different vibe, but I got them jumping. We don’t really settle for anything less and the industry crowds who come to see us – including the crowd we’re expecting tonight – they’d better be prepared to step up or get hurt. People at these shows tend to get a little crazy. Even if they are in a safe area I’m going to ask them to move around a little bit. It’s all good.

Shoutweb: If there were people that you could collaborate with say on an Ozzfest or otherwise, who would you want to work or perform with?

David: There’s too many to list! I love the boys from Static-X. The Kittie girls can come out. We played with them not too long ago and they were totally cool. I personally would love to do something with Maynard James Keenan. I’d love to collaborate with him. I think Jonathan Davis from Korn would be very cool to do something with. Last and certainly not least would be Mike Patton from Faith No More. I think he’s probably one of my greatest influences as a front man and a vocalist.

Shoutweb: The cover art on this album is like a druggist’s label.

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4 Re: Disturbed: The Sickness is the Cure on Fri 27 Mar 2009, 17:52


David: The album is titled "The Sickness" and the irony behind that is that the sickness is not in and of itself a disease, but a cure. So it’s the medicine that cures. The actual background art that you see with the head popping through is a vaginal wall and the birth of the monster.

Shoutweb: Born out of what?

David: Born out of what society has done or tried to do. The whole idea behind the sickness – the philosophy behind it is that you live in a world where you’re barraged by stimuli – whether you open up a magazine or you turn on the TV, or your parents preach to you, or the church, or whatever you believe in. Everyone is always trying to make you into something that you are not. They’re telling you how to dress, what you should eat, how you should look, what music you should listen to, what’s cool and what’s not. It’s not allowing you any ability on your own to develop yourself as an individual. That is what we are completely against. The sickness is a philosophy of individuality and development of self and just living life with passion. Whatever it is that moves you – you should do. Whatever gives you inspiration. Whatever gives you meaning. In how you should act, how you should represent yourself and how you should be. Our whole lives other members of the band and especially myself have been outcasts of sorts. We’re not really sheep following the flock. We’re all kind of the black sheep. It’s just that when you stand out like that people think there is something wrong with you or that you’re sick or twisted or disturbed or whatever the case may be. That’s what we wish to infect the rest of the world with – the cure, the sickness.

Shoutweb: The sickness is the cure - interesting.

David: You got it.

Shoutweb: In your bio somewhere I read about your ability or struggle to understand women.

David: The opposite sex is always trying to understand each other. For me, it’s me trying to understand women because I happen to like women! Once I think I have the female gender figured out, I end up being in another relationship that completely turns my judgement upside down. I certainly love... LOVE women. I adore women. People can sometimes get the wrong impression from some of the lyrical content of the album like, "He hates women." Fuck that. I wish I hated women! It would make my life so much easier. I am so into them. The songs are a catharsis for me. They’re therapeutic. I go through a life experience that had been difficult for me then I usually deal with it in music. These are therapeutic not only for me but I think anyone who listens to it who has been through similar experiences. It doesn’t have to be a woman. A song like "The Game"...

Shoutweb: I love that song!

David: "The Game" is about a manipulative individual who plays games and who plays with your emotions and your mind. It’s a very dangerous thing to do. One day you may end up playing games with someone and manipulating someone who not only doesn’t want to be manipulated or played with but it’s dangerous. A lot of people don’t realize that there are consequences for their actions in every move you make. A lot of people are out there kind of living by the seat of their pants and fucking over whoever they want and not giving a shit about it, and human emotions are incredibly powerful and they can be incredibly destructive. You have to be very careful. It’s not just directed towards women. It’s directed towards anyone.

Shoutweb: You’re very poetic – even in your speaking.

David: Why thank you. I have too much education for my own good.

Shoutweb: Uh oh. Where did you go to school?

David: I attended Loyola University in Chicago. I have a degree in philosophy. I have a degree in political science and I have a degree in business administration.

Shoutweb: Three degrees?

David: Yeah. Which I didn’t end up doing a fucking lot with, did I?

Shoutweb: Well, in the music business there is a lot you need to know about the business side of things.

David: Something I still don’t understand is this business is like no other business I’ve ever dealt with. I’m learning new things every day.

Shoutweb: Uh oh.

David: Not all in bad ways. There are a lot of up sides to the business. I mean look, the business is what allows me to take the stage four or five times a week and get my fix. That’s what this is all about. Sometimes you play the game but you have some ability in choosing the terms under which you play it.

Shoutweb: You know where the borders are but the rules change in the middle of the game.

David: Sometimes they have to.

Shoutweb: The work of art that is in the CD jacket that has the same depiction of the birth of the sickness. Did someone make that?

David: The baby? Our art director, Bob Brown, made that. That’s us. It symbolizes the birth. That’s really my face. We made a face for everybody and he gave it it’s own characteristics – see the little spikes there in the chin.

Shoutweb: I never noticed that – that’s cool!

David: See that’s Mike with spiky hair. That’s Dan with the little beard and that Mike with the big beard. This is Fuzz with the long hair. The face is modeled after something that I did to a friend of mine.

Shoutweb: I never knew you could make such a face!

David: Well, you’ll see it more on stage. I don’t make that face in normal conversation but I kind of pointed it out to a friend of mine way back. I said, "We’re trying to come up with a logo for the band." It was like, "Well, do this" and I made the face and he kind of came up with that.

Shoutweb: I feel as though every fan at Halloween will be decorating their jack-o-lantern with that Disturbed face.

Shoutweb: "Meaning of Life"

David: Didn’t you ever meet those people that are so pretentious. People that are in denial but really don't want to admit to themselves or to you or to anyone that they want to get loose? They kind of want to let loose their inhibitions and get crazy, get psycho, get into it. It’s all about release. You get these pretentious stuck up people and in my case. I see the typical young attractive girl who comes to a show who is totally into it and totally wants it – totally. As the reverse would be for a guy who goes to see Kittie or whoever. Don’t pretend. Don’t bullshit. For God’s sake, we’re all about the same thing. For a guy, this *is* the meaning of life for most guys. Guys need a place to sleep, a place to eat, and sex. That’s it!

Shoutweb: It’s that simple.

David: It’s simple. We have very simple needs and wants. That song is just kind of saying "dude, get off of your high horse and just admit that you want to have a good time and you want to get stupid." Let’s go.

Shoutweb: You say that it could be geared towards anybody but then the lyrics read "fall on your ass, bitch."

David: That particular song is not geared towards women at all. It’s geared towards the industry more or less.

Shoutweb: That’s what I thought. I see a theme forming here.

David: I just like saying "bitch".

Shoutweb: And what is that background sound.

David: That... (David imitates the sound) – it’s actually a keyboard. It’s got a cool little pitch bending thing on it though.

Shoutweb: You also commented about music being a weapon.

David: Oh yeah. It’s the best weapon there is.

Shoutweb: Is that again toward the industry in general?

David: Chicago was difficult for us to break out of. Chicago is not a city that is raised on heavy music. It’s the home to Local H and Smashing Pumpkins and stuff like that. I think the heaviest Chicago has gotten before us was Filter. We were kind of black listed.

Shoutweb: All of those bands you mentioned are very intellectual.

David: We’re as intellectual as fuck. A lot of people have associated heavier music with stupidity. I challenge any one of these mother fuckers to a debate any given day of the week. I don’t care. We’re thinking men. It’s not fluff. I don’t write about fast cars and women and all of that.

Shoutweb: You just gave me the title for this interview.

David: What?

Shoutweb: A thinking man’s music. I love it.

David: I don’t want to be sexist now!

Shoutweb: You get very cerebral on a lot of these songs.

David: It comes from that.

Shoutweb: Do you read?

David: I used to read a lot.

Shoutweb: Do you have any favorite philosophers?

David: Nietchze.

Shoutweb: The farthest I got was Aquinas and Augustine.

David: I like to deny anything I can’t actually perceive. I believe in God and I believe in faith. I am Jewish by faith. I believe in God and I think that we have a certain relationship and we have a certain understanding. I kind of like to call things as I see them. I actually haven’t had the opportunity to read on the road very much. If I read on a moving vehicle I get sick.

Shoutweb: I’m the same way.

David: Now all I get to read lately are periodically and current event type of things.

Shoutweb: "Want" has this talking at the beginning.

David: It says, "I thought I'd take a little bit of your pain."

Shoutweb: Is that what he’s saying?

David: Uh huh.

Shoutweb: It’s not you?

David: No. It’s a truck driver.

Shoutweb: A truck driver?

David: When we were recording the album sometimes you get a CB radio signal. It was one of the things that came out on the tape. I listened to it and I was like "wow!"

Shoutweb: No. You’re making that up!

David: He was saying, "I thought I’d take a little of your paint" but we chopped off the "t". We thought it was cool so we used it.

Shoutweb: "Fear" has this creepy beginning.

David: (David imitates the creepy sound) That’s the whole idea.

Shoutweb: Is that supposed to mean that it’s those voices inside of you?

David: In a way. You know how sometimes people give you a complex?

Shoutweb: No, not at all! (laughter)

David: I was the one who was the black sheep and there was always the "in" crowd. I was the weird rebel wearing the weird clothing and doing weird things. You always had the shiny, happy, perfect people who were part of the cool people. It made you feel that you were worth less than you actually are. You looked at them and were envious in a way. There would always be that perception in your head. So that’s what the song is really doing. "Calling out to you the reject that you are. Are you nothing? I bet you really have a good reason to be living in the limelight of the fortunate ones." They made you afraid to be who you were and to accept yourself. You were always choosing your words very carefully around them. You were always trying not to have to deal with any addition anguish by being unaccepted. Children can be horrible.

Shoutweb: Oh yeah. Children can be very cruel.

David: And sometimes teenage children in particular can be exceptionally horrible.

David: That’s where it comes from and it’s not *just* that. It’s reflective of society as a whole.

Shoutweb: A lot of this album I find to be in between torment and anger but all very honest.

David: It comes from the heart. Nothing here is contrived.

Shoutweb: That’s what I love about it.

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5 Re: Disturbed: The Sickness is the Cure on Fri 27 Mar 2009, 17:52


David: We always have an interesting entrance to the show so the start of the show is a bit traumatic. I’m always either imprisoned or bound or I’m executed and people think that it’s theatrics for theatrics sake but it’s not really not about that. I’m just about as genuine as you can fucking get. I don’t wish that things had gone any differently because I wouldn’t be who I am. These theatrics are symbolic. Society and the world have made me and this band feel like we are executed, like we are prisoners. People fear what they don’t understand and what is strange and different from them. When you see something like that you either shun it completely or you try to tuck it away somewhere so that no one else can be exposed to it so that the sickness doesn’t spread or you kill it. So sometimes I’m killed or I’m brought to the stage in restraints or in a cage – a number of different ways. The whole idea is symbolic of that because I break out of the cage and I’m let loose from the restraints and they try to kill me and I don’t die. So hopefully when people take in the whole message they can get behind some of the Alice Cooperish theatrical thing which is really not what we’re shooting for and get to the real grassroots meaning of it.

Shoutweb: I find that it’s all about the music but it’s all about the message.

David: Very much so.

Shoutweb: So the philosopher/business person comes through.

David: Yeah, he’s there but he’s not the one that’s on stage I can tell you that.

Shoutweb: So then who is he?

David: I don’t know. I don’t let him out very often. I let him out once a night. It’s difficult to open those doors. People deal with the hand that they’ve been dealt in life in different ways. Some people bottle up things for a time and have limited releases. I’ve had to eat a lot of shit in my life – a lot. I have poison inside of me. It’s done something to my inner self that I don’t know if I like. That inner self has a power that I can’t always control. It’s a little bi-polar thing.

Shoutweb: (laughter) When you’re performing is it letting out that poison?

David: That’s Mr. Hyde running around up there. If I don’t let him out then I am consumed by it. I’m sitting here with you all calm and collected and relatively sane. When I let the doors swing open, God help you. I don’t always have control over my actions. Certainly my other self doesn’t have any responsibility for them. It’s very necessary that we have these fans that continue to feed us because if I couldn’t take that stage I have no idea what would happen.

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6 Re: Disturbed: The Sickness is the Cure on Fri 27 Mar 2009, 19:46


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7 Re: Disturbed: The Sickness is the Cure on Fri 27 Mar 2009, 20:05

Wow!! Thank you for sharing this it makes me like them even more(if that is possible) Thank you!

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