Disturbed's David Draiman Talks Shattering Heavy Metal Stereotypes

By Taylor Fields

March 11, 2020

Disturbed is celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut album, The Sickness, this year, and the band's David Draiman opened up about the milestone and more during an exclusive interview with ALT 98.7's Harms backstage at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles, where he also hosted the exclusive iHeartRadio ICONS event with Ozzy Osbourne.

The last album Disturbed released was 2018's Evolution that features the very emotional "Hold on to Memories," which is a departure from the band's heavy rock style. While speaking to Harms, Draiman opened up about the stereotypes of heavy metal bands, and said, "So many unjustified stereotypes attributed to hard rock and heavy metal, between the demonic nature that's supposedly attributed to it, to the violent nature that's supposed to be inherent within it, and that it supposedly inspires when oftentimes it's exactly the opposite. There's a plethora of things."

And in relation to "Hold on to Memories," David says, "'Hold on to Memories' is a track that we've been playing live for this entire cycle almost, and it's been just an incredibly poignant moment of the set every single night. It's interesting. The song came together, originally, Danny had sent me this really sweet piece of music. It was one of the first few pieces of music that he sent me when we first started working on the record, and it was obviously, as you know, stylistically, very different. But I started messing with it and came up with this really sweet, beautiful melody and to go along with it. And, I had just seen the movie Coco with my kid. I don't know if you've had the, the pleasure of seeing [Coco]. It's absolutely adorable. See, another further shadow shattering the stereotype of the hard rock and heavy metal guy, 'he watched Coco and Pixar films.'"

He adds, "The concept behind it is going according to the theology of the Mexican Day of the Dead, and that people, once they've left us, that their spirit remains, their soul remains in the afterlife. And what helps sustain the soul is your remembering them and keeping them in your memory. I started crafting the lyric and it came together really fluidly, and I was very worried about what Danny might think of what I had come up with. And I sent it to him and much to my surprise, he was like overjoyed by it. He thought that the song could be our 'Green Day moment.' We thought it was like this show open and different. And it felt that way to me too. But, more important, how it felt by its meaning as a song to so many people, and how many people's lives it touched, and how it enabled us to come to terms with the people that we are still missing so very much, and to try and reinforce the notion to live every single day to its fullest and take the time that you have with the people you love while you have it."

Draiman also spoke about The Sickness' 20th anniversary, as well as Disturbed's upcoming tour. He said, "It was such an amazing time for everybody. That record came out, I mean, it was 2000, and was the beginning of the first massive wave of the new metal revolution. Everybody was in great spirits and great positivity and music was everywhere. It was an amazing time. If there was a period that could be described as for the new wave of hard rock and heavy metal bands that came into existence as our eighties, I suppose you could say the late nineties, early two thousands, that was it. But, I look back at the record and I appreciate its rawness. I appreciate how it cut through a lot of the noise, how it really was a very clear demonstration of how we learned to play with each other, that first record. It was our first fusion of styles, our first influencing of one another, and it was pretty amazing."

Watch David Draiman's full interview with Harms above.

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