David Draiman Reflects on Disturbed Beginnings on 20th Anniversary of His Audition
Disturbed are one of the top rock bands in the biz, but they had to start somewhere, and in this case, the journey all started with a musician answering an ad. Guitarist Dan Donegan, drummer Mike Wengren and bassist Steve "Fuzz" Kmak had already toiled for a couple of years together, but found themselves in need of a new vocalist and decided to see what putting an ad in the Illinois Entertainer would yield. Luckily for them, they found the perfect fit in a vocalist named David Draiman. Today (Aug. 4) marks the 20th anniversary of that fateful audition and Draiman reflected on the key date in Disturbed history in a new posting.
In his missive below, Draiman reveals it may not have initially seemed like a perfect fit, especially in terms of look, when he entered the rehearsal space with the guys, but it didn't take long for their music to impress him and for his improvisational process to strike a chord with the group. Read Draiman's posting, in his traditional CAPS LOCK, below:
20 YEARS AGO TODAY, I WENT TO AN AUDITION TO SING FOR A BAND WHO'S AD I HAD SEEN IN A LOCAL CHICAGO MUSIC PUBLICATION CALLED "THE ILLINOIS ENTERTAINER".
I WALKED INTO THEIR REHEARSAL SPOT ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF CHICAGO, AND...
...THE GUYS LOOKED LIKE THEY WERE FROM "SKID ROW"...LOL.
ALL WEARING FADED/FRAYED, ACID WASHED JEANS, FLANNEL SHIRTS (HALFWAY OPEN...OF COURSE...LOL), LONG, FEATHERED AND FLOWING HAIR, AND CONVERSE ALL STARS, WITH NO LACES, WITH THE TONGUES OUT.
I COULD NOT HAVE FELT MORE OUT OF PLACE...
I WAS WEARING JEAN SHORTS (YES...JEAN SHORTS), SANDALS, AND A PLAIN WHITE T-SHIRT, IN FULL "NORTH SIDE CHICAGO/STONER" MODE, LOL...
THE GUITAR PLAYER (DAN) AND I, HAD DISCUSSED OUR MUSICAL TASTES ON THE PHONE PRIOR TO MEETING, AND THE GUYS ASKED ME IF I KNEW ANY COVERS WE COULD JAM TOGETHER TO FEEL EACH OTHER OUT.
LOOKING AT THE P.A., AND SEEING THE MIC SITTING IN ITS STAND, I ASKED THEM, "DOES THE P.A. WORK?"
"YES." THEY SAID.
"DO YOU GUYS HAVE ANY ORIGINALS YOU CAN PLAY?" I ASKED.
"YES.", THEY SAID, "BUT WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO SING? YOU DIDN'T HAVE THE MUSIC AHEAD OF TIME, AND DIDN'T HAVE THE CHANCE TO WRITE ANYTHING TO IT?"
"I'LL COME UP WITH SOMETHING.", I SAID, "JUST GO AHEAD AND PLAY, AND I'LL IMPROVISE".
THEY BEGAN TO PLAY.
THE SOUND WAS HEAVY AND DARK. RHYTHMIC AND BEAUTIFUL, I WAS FASCINATED AND INTIMIDATED BY IT, ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
A COUPLE MINUTES INTO IT, I BEGAN MY OWN IMPROVISED LYRIC AND MELODY/RHYTHM.
THAT VERY FIRST JAM ENDED UP BECOMING OUR VERY FIRST SONG, "WANT", OFF OF The Sickness.
HARD TO BELIEVE THAT WAS 20 YEARS AGO TODAY. WHAT A CRAZY RIDE ITS BEEN, AND HOW FAR WE'VE COME, THANKS TO THE MOST PASSIONATE, AND DEDICATED FANS IN THE WORLD!
HERE'S TO ANOTHER 20 YEARS!
While Disturbed found their vocalist in Draiman in 1996, it wasn't instant success. In a previous video interview with the singer (posted below), Draiman spoked of how they hustled their way around the Chicago music scene for a few years hoping to make the right connections. Even once they signed to a label and released their debut The Sickness, it was a steady build and almost a full year into support of the album before they enjoyed their true breakout with the single "Down With the Sickness." Watch Draiman reflect on their beginnings below.
David Draiman Reflects on Disturbed's Beginnings and The Sickness
Disturbed Albums Ranked
Disturbed's David Draiman Plays 'Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction?' Pt. I