Interview: Disturbed's David Draiman Talks New Album, Getting Back Together and Marijuana
The following is an excerpt from Revolver’s August/September issue–which is on newsstands now and available for purchase in our webstore. Here, Disturbed frontman David Draiman talks their new album, getting back together after a hiatus and marijuana's effects on songs.
by Richard Bienstock
Another notable thing about “The Sound of Silence”? “When I cut the vocal, I had just finished tracking another song, and it was the end of my work day,” Draiman says. “I was exhausted, and I wasn’t expecting to have to sing anymore... so I took a nice hit off a big fat bowl.” He laughs. “Then Kevin played me the arrangement and he said, ‘You wanna try singing to it?’ And I was like, ‘I just got high! I’m stoned off my ass!’ But I wound up getting back in the vocal booth for two hours, maybe more. Just vibing and going on feel.”
An interesting fact, given this story, is that the song immediately following “The Sound of Silence” on Immortalized is “Fire it Up,” a big-beat ode to marijuana that actually opens with the sound of Draiman taking a healthy bong hit. “Yeah, there was a big fat bowl before that one, too!” he says. The song, which features lines like “When I need to spark a bit of inspiration and the melody feels like it’s trapped inside,” is, according to Draiman, an accurate reflection of his own relationship to the sweet leaf. “You know what? Ninety-five percent of the songs I’ve written in my life, I’ve written them while high. That’s the god’s honest truth,” he says. “I’ll have a very skeletal musical idea in my head, and then I’ll light one up, go in the shower and let the steam kind of build up...it helps me relax, and I can see the gaps. I can see the holes in the rhythm and the melody and I’ll know where I can go, and what the possibilities are. It helps me be able to perceive every- thing a little bit more clearly. So I figured, ‘What the hell, let’s write a song about it!’ And Danny had this riff that had a real funky bounce to it and that was so different. So it was, ‘Okay, let’s try this...’”
In addition to being one of the more lighthearted tunes in the Disturbed canon, Draiman also points out that the song “is fun. Yeah, that’s me saying it: There’s a song on this Disturbed record that’s fun. And that’s all right. Metal can be fun.” He laughs. “And god knows there’s certainly enough people out there that appreciate the enlightening aspects of smoking marijuana...”
If Draiman sounds like he’s in a particularly good headspace these days, it’s because, well, he is. He’s happy to be back with his bandmates, especially Donegan, who, he says, “I’m very grateful to have as my songwriting partner. We’re fortunate to have found each other.” Furthermore, he’s insistent about the fact that the band’s hiatus wasn’t a smokescreen to hide some deep-seated issues within their ranks. Rather, the members are and always have been great friends, and it really was just a matter of wanting some time off. “Getting back together was always part of the game plan,” he says. “It was never in doubt. The only question was, How long?”