Disturbed is an American rock band formed in 1996 when musicians Dan Donegan, Steve "Fuzz" Kmak, and Mike Wengren hired singer David Draiman. Since the band's formation, they have sold over 11 million albums worldwide, released three consecutive number-one albums, and have been nominated for making them one of the most successful rock bands in recent years. Only six other rock bands have had three consecutive studio albums reach number one in their first week of release: Van Halen, System of a Down, U2, Dave Matthews Band, Staind, and Metallica.
- 1 History
- 2 Other Projects (2012-2014)
- 3 Immortalized, and Return From Hiatus (2015-Present)
- 4 Mascot
- 5 Style and lyrical themes
- 6 Band members
Early years as Brawl (1994–1996)
Originally, Disturbed was known as Brawl, a band whose lineup consisted of vocalist Erich Awalt, guitarist Dan Donegan, drummer Mike Wengren, and bassist Steve "Fuzz" Kmak. Awalt left the band shortly after the recording of a demo tape and the other three members went on advertising for a singer. They posted an ad in the local music publication in Chicago, Illinois, called the "Illinois Entertainer".
David Draiman had answered the ad after going to twenty other auditions that month. As guitarist Dan Donegan commented on Draiman, "You know, out of all the singers, that we had talked to or auditioned, he [Draiman] was the only singer who was ready to go with originals. And that impressed me, just to attempt that". Donegan also went on to say, "I think just to walk in a room with men that you don't know and to have the balls to say, 'Let's just, you know, let's just jam'." With regards of Draiman being the new singer for the band, Donegan said, "After a minute or two, he just starts banging out these melodies that were huge. And I'm sitting there...I'm playing my guitar and I'm grinning from ear to ear, trying not to give it away that I like this guy, you know, 'cause I don't want to, you know...[say] 'Yeah, we'll give you a call back. We'll, you know, discuss it.' But I was so psyched. Chill up my spine. I'm like, 'There is something here'." As drummer Mike Wengren commented, "We clicked right off the bat."
Draiman then joined the band in 1996 and he re-named the band Disturbed. When asked in an interview why he decided to re-name the band Disturbed, Draiman said, "It had been a name I have been contemplating for a band for years. It just seems to symbolize everything we were feeling at the time. The level of conformity that people are forced into was disturbing to us and we were just trying to push the envelope and the name just sorta made sense."
The Sickness (1998–2000)
After re-naming the band, Disturbed started to record several demos and played in live shows. The band eventually signed with Giant Records. In 2000, the band released its debut album, titled The Sickness, which launched the band into stardom. The album peaked at number twenty-nine on the Billboard 200 and it has sold over four million copies in the United States since its release. The song "Down with the Sickness", a lounge cover version (by Richard Cheese) of which was used in the film Dawn of the Dead, was championed by radio station WXQR-FM (Rock 105) in North Carolina and placed into "heavy rotation" by program director Brian Rickman. The song was quickly added by radio stations such as WAAF in Boston and KROQ-FM in Los Angeles following its success. The song has since become very popular and was later used in many film soundtracks, and still is used a great deal to this day.
Soon after the release of The Sickness, Disturbed released a revamped cover version of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's theme music for WWE, titled "Glass Shatters". Disturbed performed "Glass Shatters" live at WWE New York in October 2000 on the debut episode of MTV Sunday Night Heat. This theme song will also be re-used for Steve Austin's 2009 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony, after an 8 year period Disturbed headlined Ozzy Osbourne's Ozzfest tour in 2001 alongside Black Sabbath, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Papa Roach, Linkin Park, Black Label Society, and Crazy Town. Afterwards, the band started the Music as a Weapon Tour. The bands Adema, Drowning Pool, Stereomud, and Systematic were featured on the tour alongside Disturbed.
Before joining Marilyn Manson's 2001 European tour, Disturbed's bassist Steve Kmak was unable to play with the band due to a shattered ankle. Kmak injured his ankle by falling out of a fire escape outside Disturbed's rehearsal hall in Chicago a few days before Christmas. He took the fire escape to exit the building while the elevator was being used to move their equipment downstairs. After a successful operation, doctors highly recommended that he skip the tour to avoid more severe damage to his foot. But he did perform with the band on January 11 and 12, 2001 at Disturbed's show in Chicago. A bass player named Marty O'Brien was recruited and filled Kmak's spot until Kmak was able to play again.
On June 4, 2002, Disturbed released a documentary DVD about the band, titled M.O.L., which showed some of the band's more personal moments in the studio and during tours, as well as featuring several music videos and live performances. It also featured a music video for a song that had never previously been on an album, titled "Perfect Insanity", as well as another B-side track, titled "A Welcome Burden", recorded by the band in the studio.
On September 17, 2002, Disturbed released their second studio album, titled Believe, which debuted at number-one on the Billboard 200. The music video for the first single from the album, titled "Prayer", was pulled from most television stations, due to the similarities it had with the September 11, 2001 attacks.
David Draiman recorded vocals for a song titled "Forsaken", a track written and produced by Jonathan Davis of the band Korn, released on Queen of the Damned. In 2003, the band once again participated in the Ozzfest tour and started another one of their own tours, titled Music as a Weapon II. The bands Chevelle, Taproot, and Unloco toured with them. During the tour, Disturbed debuted an unreleased song, titled "Dehumanized".
In early 2003, after Disturbed had finished the Music as a Weapon II tour, the band experienced the departure of Steve Kmak, who was fired for "personal differences." He was replaced by John Moyer, who is now the current bass player. On the night Moyer became the band's new bass player, Disturbed played live at the House of Blues and performed two new songs, "Hell" and "Monster", both of which became B-side tracks on the band's third studio album, Ten Thousand Fists.
Ten Thousand Fists (2004–2006)
Disturbed toured with 10 Years and Ill Niño in support of their third studio album, Ten Thousand Fists, released worldwide on September 20, 2005. The album debuted at number-one on the Billboard 200, while also selling around 238,000 copies in its first week of release. The album was certified platinum in the United States on January 5, 2006. In an article, it was stated that twenty songs were recorded for the album, but only fourteen made it to the final track listing. The remaining tracks included "Hell", which was released on the "Stricken" single; the track "Monster" was originally released as part of an iTunes pre-order package for the first people who pre-ordered Ten Thousand Fists, then the track was released on the Ten Thousand Fists Tour Edition, along with the track "Two Worlds"; and the track "Sickened" was released on the "Land of Confusion" single.
A month after the release of Ten Thousand Fists, Disturbed headlined the Jägermeister Music Tour along with the band Corrosion of Conformity. Disturbed supplied the song "Stricken" for WWE's New Year's Revolution 2006. In April 2006, the band completed an Australian tour supporting Korn and sharing the tour with 10 Years and Hatebreed. In mid-2006, a European tour was scheduled but had been moved twice due to the band's frontman having troubles with his voice. In late 2006, David Draiman underwent surgery for a deviated septum which affected his voice. It was successful, and ever since then, Draiman has limited his drinking on the road. Disturbed headlined Ozzfest 2006 along with Ozzy Osbourne, System of a Down, Lacuna Coil, DragonForce, Avenged Sevenfold, and Hatebreed. The band also went on the European tour that had been previously moved twice earlier in 2006. Disturbed headlined another one of their own tours named Music as a Weapon III; the bands Flyleaf, Stone Sour, and Nonpoint toured with them.
Draiman became involved in the music file sharing controversy by publicly speaking out against the RIAA's lawsuits against file sharing individuals, despite the fact his record label is a member of the RIAA. Draiman also told NYRock: Disturbed completed the first leg of their Music as a Weapon III tour in late 2006. Soon after, Draiman stated that there was not going to be a second leg to the tour and that instead the band was going off the road to start working on their fourth studio album. In July 2007, a new track titled "This Moment" was released on the soundtrack to the film Transformers.
The band mixed their fourth studio album, titled Indestructible, in Los Angeles, California in late 2007. In an earlier interview, David Draiman said that they were going to record fifteen songs, but only twelve would be on the album.
On March 6, 2008, the band released a thirty second sample of a newly re-recorded version of the song "Perfect Insanity" on their MySpace profile. In March 2008, the song was made available for full download on the band's website, which led to the song receiving some minor radio airplay, and the band playing it live in Kuwait during a special Operation MySpace event.
Indestructible's first single, "Inside the Fire" was made available on digital distribution services for purchase on March 25, 2008. The band also toured in the United States in April and May 2008 with the bands Five Finger Death Punch and Art of Dying. The music video for "Inside the Fire" was released on May 2, 2008 on the band's official website. Disturbed released their previously free song "Perfect Insanity" on iTunes Store as a second single on May 6, 2008, and the album Indestructible become available for pre-order for the release date on June 3, 2008.
On May 13, 2008, Harmonix, the developers of the video game Rock Band announced they had reached a deal with Disturbed and Best Buy to offer two tracks from Indestructible for play in Rock Band to those who pre-ordered the album from Best Buy's website. On June 3, 2008, Harmonix released three tracks from Indestructible; "Indestructible", "Inside the Fire", and "Perfect Insanity". On May 12, 2009, Harmonix released Stricken and Stupify to the Rock Band music store. Disturbed played their first live online concert on May 29, 2008. The concert was sponsored by Pepsi and Deep Rock Drive. They performed in Las Vegas.
Indestructible was released in the United States on June 3, 2008 and in Australia on June 7, 2008 and became the band's third consecutive number-one debut on the Billboard 200. A special "Internet Only" limited edition of the album that includes the B-side track "Run", a making-of DVD with instructional videos, wrap-around poster, VIP laminate, access to special Disturbed events, and a special website with exclusive video, rare audio and more was also released. The band toured in support of the "Mayhem Festival" alongside Slipknot, DragonForce, and Mastodon during summer of 2008. Disturbed also completed a tour of Australia and New Zealand through August and September 2008.
On September 30, 2008, the band released an iTunes-exclusive live album entitled Live & Indestructible, made up of songs from Deep Rock Drive, as well as the music video for "Indestructible". The band started a tour of Europe, starting in London during October 2008 and finishing during November 2008 in Helsinki. In November and December 2008, Disturbed toured in the United States.
On November 12, 2008, Disturbed announced that the next single from Indestructible will be "The Night". David Draiman also briefly talked about the next album, stating that its lyrical themes will be as dark as Indestructible's, if not darker, due to a recent relationship break-up and other problems that are still happening in his life.
The band began their Music as a Weapon IV tour in March 2009. The tour, now dubbed a festival, will feature Killswitch Engage, Lacuna Coil, and Chimaira on the main stage. The song "Inside the Fire" was nominated for a 2009 Grammy Award in the "Best Hard Rock Performance" category. In March 2009, Disturbed released a music video for the song "The Night".
Asylum, The Lost Children and hiatus (2010–2011)
In an earlier interview, David Draiman briefly talked about the band's fifth studio album, stating that the album will be as dark as their previous album, Indestructible, if not darker. Draiman also stated that the album is "still identifiably Disturbed, but showing more maturation." Song-writing for the fifth studio album began in late 2009. In an earlier interview with Mike Wengren and John Moyer, it was stated that, judging by Draiman's feelings on the last few years of his life, that Disturbed's new album will be aggressive, angry, and "hard-hitting", but will be similar musically to their album Believe. Wengren also said that the new album may be released in the spring or summer of 2010. Additionally, Draiman has confirmed that a DVD is in the works. A countdown clock appeared on the band's website, which ended on January 12, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. EST, and a trailer for the upcoming DVD, titled Decade of Disturbed, was revealed.
In an interview in July 2009, with FaceCulture, Draiman stated that the upcoming DVD will be "chronicling the past decade of Disturbed's existence. It's meant to show our growth over the course of the decade." He also talked more about the upcoming fifth album: "A couple of [song riffs] that Danny has come up with are really amazing. But they're just little pieces...it's not even in two-three part progression [yet]."
A few months later on March 23, 2010, the band released a reissue of their debut album, The Sickness, with the B-side tracks "God of the Mind" and "A Welcome Burden", updated artwork, as well as remastering and remixing the track list. It was also available for the first time in vinyl format. On February 26, 2010, Harmonix announced a second Disturbed pack for download on the Rock Band music store, containing the 2010 remastered versions of "Voices", "The Game", and "Meaning of Life".
On February 8, 2010, it was announced that the band had entered the studio in Chicago, Illinois to begin recording their fifth album, tentatively set for a summer 2010 release. Guitarist Dan Donegan stated that the band had written around 15 to 18 songs. It was later confirmed that the title of the album is Asylum. The band released a cover of heavy metal band Judas Priest's song "Living After Midnight" for the Metal Hammer Presents... Tribute to British Steel album.
On April 20, 2010, roughly two months after they entered the studio, Disturbed announced that they had finished recording the album, and were ready to begin mixing the album in Los Angeles, California. As they did with their last albumIndestructible, Disturbed stated that they self-produced Asylum. The band announced that Asylum would be released on August 31, 2010. On July 9, 2010, the track listing was revealed on the band's official website. Asylum debuted at number-one on the Billboard 200.
Disturbed headlined the first annual "Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar" tour with Avenged Sevenfold, as well as Stone Sour, Hellyeah and Halestorm, among others in late summer 2010. Then, in October 2010, it was reported that David Draiman was diagnosed with a "serious throat condition", and the band's U.S. tour had been canceled, as Draiman's healing process could have taken up to four weeks. Around the end of that year, Disturbed had announced that they would be commencing the Music as a Weapon V tour in 2011, co-headlining with Korn and guests Sevendust, In This Moment and Stillwell. In January 2011 it was announced that Disturbed would be headlining the Mayhem Festival, along with Godsmack and Megadeth, for the summer of 2011. February 2011, it was announced that Disturbed would be playing the Download Festival. Disturbed announced that in May 2011, they will be co-headlining the Rock on the RangeFestival in Columbus, Ohio.
The band was added to the 2011 MTV Musical March Madness tournament. Defeating former champions Coheed and Cambria, they advanced to the final four but lost to the eventual champions Green Day by a 0.34 margin.
On Thursday, April 28, Disturbed announced that their previously unreleased bonus track from Asylum, titled "3", would be available for download on their website. They said that all proceeds made from the download of the song would go towards the Damien Echols Defense Fund, a benefit foundation supporting the release of the West Memphis Three.
In October 2011, the band went on an "Indefinite Hiatus".
In a later interview, Draiman stressed that the hiatus is not the result of conflict between the band members. "This is really not due to any animosity. I want to make that very clear. In fact, we just had dinner together last night. Believe me, it's not like we can't work with each other anymore or we don't get along. This isn't a bad blood thing, and I don't ever want people to get that impression of it."
Disturbed released a b-side compilation album, titled The Lost Children, on November 8, 2011. The song "Hell" was made available for digital download on October 11, 2011, but Draiman stated on his Twitter page that there would not be a music video for it. A previously unreleased track, titled "Mine", also appears on the album. The track listing and release date were revealed on Draiman's Twitter page on September 20.
Other Projects (2012-2014)
On February 8, 2012, it was announced that John Moyer was supergroup Adrenaline Mob's new bass player. John made his onstage debut with the group on March 12, at New York City’s Hiro Ballroom, a day before the release of the band's debut full-length album, Omertá. On February 14, 2012, on his Twitter account David Draiman confirmed that he would make an appearance on VH1's That Metal Show 10th Season airing sometime that year. That episode was later moved to the 11th season and premiered on August 11, 2012.
In May 2012 Draiman announced his new project, an industrial metal band called Device. Draiman later released information regarding the future of Disturbed and his new project Device, stating that Device would release their self-titled debut album on April 9, 2013. The album features several guest musicians from various metal bands. On April 25, 2013, it was announced that guitarist Dan Donegan and drummer Mike Wengren had begun a new project with Evans Blue singer Dan Chandler, Fight or Flight. Their debut album, "Life by Design?" was released on July 23, 2013. In December 2014, Moyer formed a new band with Scott Weiland, Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, twins Jon and Vince Votta entitled Art of Anarchy, with an album released in June 2015.
Immortalized, and Return From Hiatus (2015-Present)
On June 20, 2015, on Disturbed's Facebook page and website, there was material posted hinting at a possible return of the band. The website shows a new Disturbed logo, plus a video of the band's mascot "The Guy" appearing to be on life support, still breathing. The new Disturbed logo was also posted to their official Facebook page, along with the video of their mascot, and their profile picture changed to solid black, indicating new activity within the band. On June 22, 2015, Disturbed posted another video on Facebook, this time showing The Guy awakening from life support, as well as an 18-hour countdown on their official website, giving speculation to a definite reunion. On June 23, 2015, Disturbed officially announced the end of their hiatus and the coming of their new album entitled Immortalized. On the same day, the official music video for the new single "The Vengeful One" was released on their YouTube channel. Immortalized was released on August 21, 2015. For currently unknown reasons, John Moyer did not perform on the album, with all bass tracks being performed by Dan Donegan. Moyer is not in the band's video for "The Sound Of Silence" released in December 2015. However, Moyer remains a band member, having appeared in promotional photography for the album as well as continuing to perform live with the band.
On the album's release day, the band played their first show in four years at the House of Blues in Chicago. The show featured the live debuts of four new songs ("The Vengeful One", "What Are You Waiting For", "The Light" and the title-track) and the song "Hell", a b-side from Ten Thousand Fists in its entirety for the first time
Disturbed's mascot, named The Guy, has been featured as a fully animated character in the music video for Land of Confusion and has appeared on the covers of two of Disturbed's albums, Ten Thousand Fists and Indestructible. The Guy was originally just a drawing of a face with a large grin, as seen on the back of the The Sickness album and later in the music video for "Stupify". After being just a drawing, The Guy has become the official mascot for the band, fully animated by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane. The Guy got his name from Mike Wengren's nephew, who used to be afraid of The Guy's face, saying "That's the guy! That's the guy, isn't it!"
Style and lyrical themes
Classified by most as a rock, or nu metal band, Disturbed is also regarded by some critics as alternative rock alternative metal, heavy metal and rap metal. However, when asked about die-hard heavy metal fans not finding Disturbed heavy enough, frontman David Draiman stated: Allmusic reviewer Bradley Torreano described the album Believe as "taking the sort of jump that their heroes in Soundgarden and Pantera made after their respective breakthrough records". He also described the title track as moving "from a brutal chug to a sweeping chorus that suddenly stops in its tracks and turns into a winding riff that recalls the work of vintage James Hetfield."
According to frontman David Draiman on the band's home documentary M.O.L., the lyrics that he writes are inspired by life experience, perception, and actual experiences of his own, and he stated that he likes to present his ideas with cryptic lyrics.
- Erich Awalt - vocals
- Steve "Fuzz" Kmak - bass