David Draiman

The Gauntlet: How’s it going? You are up early today.

David: I am always up early, I don’t sleep much. My brain is just always going.

The Gauntlet: I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad. I guess as long as you are abusing drugs.

David: [laughs] No, not yet anyway.

The Gauntlet: Disturbed has always avoided the whole drug scene, unless there is something we haven’t heard about yet.

David: I smoke weed that is really about it. We are all really clean guys. We all like to drink, but that is about it. We have never been a drug using band. It has really alienated us at times. We go out there and are with a lot of people that use and they get uncomfortable around people who don’t use. It is always weird.

The Gauntlet: That is sad about our society when the ones who are clean are the outcasts.

David: Yeah, it is. We just aren’t part of the club. I’d rather be able to be up their knowing I am kicking ass and know I’ll be OK show after show. A lot of people get lost in their addictions. It is dangerous stuff. My biggest addiction to this day is the stage and no drug can replace that.

The Gauntlet: Disturbed has always had the fans and the crowds so I can see how that can be a rush. I understand you begin mixing soon?

David: We begin mixing on Nov 29, just around the corner.

The Gauntlet: Who is going to control the knobs?

David: Oh God, this is where you need to edit to make it sound like I know. Neil…Avron. He is going to mix the record.

The Gauntlet: No Johnny K to produce this time?

David: No, we used him with the last 3 records.

The Gauntlet: Was he not available?

David: No, he was available. Three records straight, he has taught us. We wanted to try it on our own. Danny and I have a label of our own, Intoxication Records, and we like to work with bands on our own. This is kinda like the facilitator, show everyone we can do it. Even with the last 3 albums, it was always a collaboration. Johnny is a great producer, he is great at what he does. He taught us well.

The Gauntlet: I know of 3 albums he produced that went multi-platinum. Having your first 3 albums go platinum, does it make it difficult to make the decision to self-produce?

David: Yeah, we are under the microscope right now since we made the decision to produce ourselves. The label has been really cool. They have been involved to a certain level but have given us our space. A few people from Warner came by the studio last week and they listened to where we are at and they all left with smiles ear to ear. I think the fruits of our labor were recognized.

The Gauntlet: When we last spoke, you were working on 10,000 Fists and stated you were writing about 20 songs, 10 for the album, some for soundtracks, B-sides, etc. Where any of the songs carried over?

David: No, this album is all new material. Everything we wrote and recorded for the last record we used for B-sides, foreign release or sound checks. This record is kinda hard to say. It doesn’t have as many tracks written as we did with Fists. I think we have 16 tracks total and will put 11 or 12 on the album.

The Gauntlet: Are some of the songs standing out right now?

David: A number of songs right now. “Indestructible” is the title track. It is an anthem for soldiers if you will. There is another tune called “Enough” which is kind of reflective on the war around the globe and our need to big brother everybody all the time. There is also a song called “The Night” which talks about the night as a entity that sets you free and is a liberating force. Then there is another one called “Inside the Fire” which is about me standing over the body of my dead girlfriend with the devil telling me to take my life as well so I can be with her.

The Gauntlet: How did that one come about?

David: I write from mythology of Satan and stuff, but unfortunately in my past, I had a girlfriend that took her own life and so I created a story around that.

The Gauntlet: Did you contemplate taking your own life to be with her?

David: No, no….no. You always have creepy thoughts and shit that goes through your head but I never took any of it seriously.

The Gauntlet: Will the cover for Faith No More’s “Midlife Crisis” make the album?

David: Well we previously put it together for a tribute record that never came out. While making this record, we recorded a modernized version of it and it is pretty kickass. It very well may make the record.

The Gauntlet: That is one of my favorite songs so I am interested in hearing your take on it.
David: That is the thing about this Faith No More track, they are the closest band to us. Tears for Fears and Genesis are pretty far from us. It was much more challenging with this song. Sometimes it is easier to take a song that is stylistically nothing like you and make it your own. But Mike Patton is a tremendous influence for me, and a lot of what Faith No More did was pioneering, blending the electronic and metal riffs. They were a seminal band in a lot of ways. This song was tricky to say the least.

The Gauntlet: I was never a fan of a metal band covering a metal band. I want to hear something new.

David: That’s why we don’t do Metallica. We might play a Metallica song live, but not on the record.

The Gauntlet: I keep hearing that the new music is ballsier and more pissed off.

David: This album is darker and angrier. I have had a couple fucked up past…these last 3 years. When we sat down to write, I told the guys I wanted the nastiest, dirtiest and most aggressive shit to write too. We haven’t divorced ourselves from melody though, but it is very in your face and balls out. It is darker and it harkens to the vibe of the first record a little bit more.

The Gauntlet: Not saying I don’t buy what you are saying, I haven’t heard the album, but I can name 50 metal bands that said they were writing the heaviest material and it ends up being some mellow piece of shit.

David: It is always the cliché for the band to say “we have the heaviest craziest record” I know. I am jumping right into it. The truth be told, people will make their own judgment when they hear it. Everyone that has heard the songs have said the same thing too, that it is a dark and angry record. “Fists” was definitely aggressive, but a lot of its’ melodic element came out. This one definitely goes back to a lot of the elements from the first record. We revisit that time with this one.

The Gauntlet: So Disturbed isn’t going into retirement as they get older with the new album?

David: Hell No! There is no point. I am a big believer in letting the mountain come to me. We are going to do what we do. If it ends opening up things one day, great, if it doesn’t, that’s fine too. I am happy with our fan base and staying true to that. We aren’t going to change the identity of who we are and start writing love songs. We won’t be doing an acoustic Disturbed. We might one day. But what we do now needs to be electric. As interesting and intricate and how it shows your ability when you play acoustic, there is something about amplification. When you have a good PA behind you, that’s what it is all about. Power! Being able to feel that low end in the center of your chest.

The Gauntlet: You recently spoke out against the RIAA.

David: I am against anyone suing the customer, my fans. You can’t sue fans. It is not their fault people make these sites. You are going to go after anyone, go after the people you make the music available illegally. That is the issue. Why are you going after the fucking fans? They shouldn’t be demonizing file sharers and downloading. The record companies should concentrate on the next format of the music file, something that sounds better than the mp3.

The Gauntlet: Should the record labels be the ones that come up with that? Sony had some problems with DRM and root kits last year. If the labels had to come up with something, they would want the audio to be so degraded.

David: That is the only thing that would save them. There are all sorts of ways that they can add value to the actual retail product, but the future of things is kids want everything digitally. They want the lyrics, music and artwork digitally. Look at Best Buy, look how much of the section is CD’s compared to what they used to have. It is what it is. The only thing that will save the labels is pioneering the next thing. MP3’s sound like shit, they sound horrible compared to CD quality.

The Gauntlet: CD quality is shit too though. It wasn’t made for today’s Hi-Fi stereos.

David: Exactly. If the labels can make the next generation audio format with a high level of quality, then they will have something. Deals should be negotiated with the ISP for file-sharing purposes. It should be treated the same way as publishing. I think what Radiohead did was fucking brilliant.

The Gauntlet: Will Disturbed ever move in that direction?

David: Maybe, I’ll let you know when we are at Radiohead’s level. They are at a position where they can do that. Baby bands could never do that. I think it is genius. People want music. Bands are more concerned with getting people into the arenas anyways. We want to get the music to the people any way possible. We write music so people can hear it. The most efficient way is to utilize the internet, not demonize it. We need to learn how to do that as a business. There are just a lot of missed opportunities going on in my opinion.

The Gauntlet: With the Radiohead album, it is being reported that over 50% of the people who downloaded the album didn’t pay more than a penny for it. Does that concern you?

David: Really? Wow, that is a big disappointment.

The Gauntlet: But at the same time, it is being reported that they got $6 million in the first week from people who actually paid.

David: That is good. They wouldn’t get that from a label.

The Gauntlet: You just won an award for “Ballsiest Band” at the Spike TV Awards. Is the ultimate goal a Grammy?

David: It would be nice, but our ultimate goal is immortality. Whether that comes from awards or from just being around, that’s what we want. A lot of bands don’t get that serious level of recognition until 20 years into their careers. I like being that band that has sold 10 million records but doesn’t make that 10 million records kind of noise. Any musician wants to just make something that will make something that will stand the tests of time.



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Date: Nov 20, 2007
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