Exclusive Interview: Disturbed’s David Draiman Sets the Record Straight About Their Indefinite Hiatus
In an exclusive career-spanning interview with Revolver, Disturbed frontman David Draiman sets the record straight about the band’s upcoming “indefinite hiatus,” which will begin after the band’s South American tour.
“The absolute truth is we’ve been touring nonstop—make a record, tour, make a record, tour for 12 years straight, and it hasn’t afforded us the opportunity to do anything else as artists and individuals,” he says. “Our entire world has always been encompassed by Disturbed.”
Several factors contribute to the band’s decision to take time off, including the declining state of the music industry and the desire to explore other ventures, but right now Draiman is more concerned with quashing rumors and correcting erroneous reportage.
First and foremost, he insists there are no strained relationships within the band. “I want to make it very clear that it is absolutely, unequivocally not due to any animosity between band members because there is none,” he says. “I just had dinner with everybody for [guitarist] Danny Donegan’s birthday the other night. We had a great time. Danny and Mike [Wengren, drums] are standing up at my wedding, for God’s sake. There’s no animosity whatsoever. These guys are my brothers and we have a tremendous love and admiration for each other and this hiatus has nothing to do with any perceived or conceived infighting between the band members.”
Although Disturbed’s latest album, Asylum, has gone gold and the Mayhem tour (which also features Godsmack, Megadeth, Machine Head, and others) is one of the top summer concerts, drawing 10,000 to 15,000 fans per show, Draiman stresses that the instability within record companies and the music industry largely contributed to the band’s decision to take time off.
“The state of the music industry is very apparent to everyone,” he says. “I’m not enlightening anyone by saying that it is in a state of decline. I’m not enlightening anyone by saying it is in a state of reformation and it needs to figure itself out again. It’s just a very difficult time to function as a musician within the music industry when personnel are lost left and right and people you’ve counted on for years are suddenly cast by the wayside. People are much more concerned with how the company looks on a balance sheet to a potential buyer as opposed to concerning themselves primarily with things like artist development. That’s definitely a factor in why we chose to do this indefinite hiatus now. If things were gangbusters in the industry it would be much more difficult to turn away for a little while and concentrate on other things we’d like to do. It would be cutting off our nose to spite our face. Where things go with any of us in our own individual projects during this hiatus will determine how long it lasts or if it is, in fact, indefinite.”
Also, Draiman says that while he does indeed plan to have children with his wife-to-be, his desire to start a family didn’t play a role in Disturbed’s decision to take time off.
“There’s been a lot of speculation about that,” he says. “Our decision to take this hiatus has nothing to do with that. The other three band members have had families and they’ve been bringing their children on the road from time to time, and Danny for the majority of the time that we’ve been on the road since he had them. His little girl is 7 years old already and she’s been a very welcome facet of the Disturbed traveling world. Both of his children are adorable and we love them very much. Mikey’s little girl has added to the equation and so has [bassist] John [Moyer’s] wonderful family, and now it’s my turn to start one of my own. But I’ve had my fiancée and my dogs out with me the whole cycle. They’re really my support structure. None of us have any qualms about touring with the family or making them a part of it and trying to bring as much of home on the road with us. We would be prepared to continue if there weren’t things we wanted to do individually as artists and creative people and if we weren’t looking at the state of things as they are in the industry right now.”
Finally, Draiman adds he was taken out of context by Billboard magazine when was quoted as saying the indefinite hiatus is partially due to “the demise of hard rock and metal right now.”
“When I spoke about the demise of hard rock and heavy metal, I was talking about the disrespect for the genre, the fact that it is relatively ignored by the mass media,” he says. “It’s never given its due even though here we are on one of the biggest tours of the summer, yet the tour is relatively ignored and brushed under the carpet, with the exception of the metal press. We’ve always been champions of the genre, and I want to make it absolutely crystal clear that I’ve never been more proud to be a part of it. And I think bands like ourselves and Godsmack and certainly Metallica are making it very clear that hard rock and heavy metal are here to stay. They’re not going anywhere. And we’re very happy to have been champions of that cause and will continue to do that even during the hiatus.”
To find out what the members of Disturbed plan to do during their time off, what their upcoming compilation will contain, and what the highlights and lowpoints of the band’s career have been, read the full interview with Draiman and Donegan in the issue of Revolver that will hit newsstands in October.
Photos by Travis Shinn