1 Disturbed aims to help fans feel 'Indestructible' on Fri 24 Apr 2009, 22:04
By Rege Behe
This is how singer David Draiman of Disturbed survives on the road:
A good cardio workout at least five days a week. Between 12 and 16 bottles of water daily. A healthy diet.
Sleep? He falls behind there, getting between two and five hours per night.
Everything else in Draiman's routine is necessary, given the band's brutal road schedule,
"It requires you to live life in a bubble," Draiman says in advance of the band's appearance Tuesday at the Petersen Events Center as headliners on the "Music as a Weapon Tour." "When the material and the style of vocalizing is as challenging as our style has become, and as unorthodox as it is, no matter what level of technique you master or use, it's still going to take its wear and tear on your voice. It's a tightrope you walk on a daily basis. It's constant discipline."
The physical demand on Draiman and his bandmates -- guitarist Dan Donegan, bassist John Moyer and drummer Mike Wengren -- is caused by a schedule only a traveling sadist could love. Last week, Disturbed played a date in State College, then a show the next night in Portland, Maine. After a day off, they had a gig in Erie, then went back to New England for a show in Connecticut before concerts in New Jersey and North Carolina.
Draiman says contractual issues necessitate the bizarre hops between states. But he's not complaining, and considering Disturbed's success -- the last three albums the band has released, including last year's "Indestructible," have gone to No. 1 on the Billboard album charts during the first week of release -- Draiman indeed feels fortunate. That's why this edition of the "Music as a Weapon Tour" is bigger, with an expanded roster of acts, more sideshows for fans, and a bigger stage, all at a comparatively inexpensive price: $37.75 per ticket for the Pittsburgh show.
"It was a calculated move on our part to invest in our fan base and make it a larger tour and bring out the bells and whistles and all the extras," he says. "And it's under 40 bucks a ticket, so let it be known we're not making much on this. It's an investment because the fans have been so good to us on this record cycle. It's a gift to them."
But not a gift that comes without a price. The sheer physicality of a Disturbed concert entails Draiman having the endurance of an athlete while maintaining the pitch of an opera singer. Because he is the focal point -- the other guys only need to worry about "sawed-off appendages," according to the singer -- he has to prevail through colds, sore throats and other maladies.
The demands of touring also have cost him in his personal life.
"I'm not a kid anymore," says Draiman, who turned 36 on March 13. "The other guys are very, very fortunate in that they have been blessed with scenarios that have led them to discover loved ones. They've built families, and I'm kind of the last guy as a bachelor. ... I don't want to end up being one of these 50-year-old bachelors. I'd like to have a family; I'd like to find a meaningful relationship and someone who can be a mother to my future children. I know that we (Disturbed) need to find a balance, so touring's not as exhaustive, so it doesn't encompass every single aspect of my life."
And yet the lure of the stage, the feedback from the audience, makes it all worthwhile. That was never more true than when Disturbed performed in Kuwait for American troops in 2008. Draiman calls it a "career-defining moment" for the band.
"It meant so much to be able to lift them up, to give them that energy," he says. "To know that they utilize our music exactly for the purpose that it was meant for, and that is for empowerment. To strip themselves of fear, to make them truly believe that they can do more than they normally could. Seeing the imagery of 10,000 fully armed soldiers in a mosh pit, with fully armed weapons, is surreal. Seeing Bradley fighting vehicles, stage left, jumping up and down from the momentum of the 30 or 40 troops on it rocking to the beat, it was a sight to see, and something we will always hold close to our hearts.