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Interview with Disturbed

2.9.00

After what some would call an ‘electrifying’ and perhaps even ‘shocking’ performance at the Troubadour; I met with four, very cool guys from Chicago who just so happened to be the members of Disturbed. The four of them impressed the packed house of “industry-ites” and then mingled with guests and did the shmoozing thing. Eventually, we all snuck away to their RV and settled in for a long talk about all kinds of stuff, including pets, playing and practicing, Peter Steele, and how not to get the David‘s phone number…

Dead Lesa with Disturbed. - Photo: Brian MaySo.. here I sit, with Disturbed. I guess you guys can tell everyone your names and what you do best..
David: I’m David, I don’t know if I sing best, but..
Mike: I’m Mike, and I play the drums.
Dan: Dan, guitar.
Fuzz: Fuzz on bass.
It would be cool if you played a fuzzy bass.
David: That would be very cheesy.
Fuzz: It would ruin our image and destroy our career!
David: It would have to be black fuzzy.
Mike: Black with… with greeeeen.
(Everyone agrees..) Yeaaaaahhhhh!
David: I’m likin’ that actually.

What’s in your pockets right now?
(Random interjections from everyone…)
Let’s see…
Keys.
Breath mints.
Condoms.
I got some …
My balls.
Earplugs.
David: I have some Ricola breath mints.
Dan: There’s some things I can reach through my pockets! Does that count?
A battery..
More condoms..
I could have asked how much cash you had in your pockets…
Fuzz: Five bucks.
David: Nothing. Zero.
Dan: Easy answer. Nothing.
Is that typical?
David: Mm hmm.
Dan: Absolutely.
Even now that you’re signed?
David: Pssh. If you’re smart.
Fuzz: Puh-leez.
Do you have to ask for an allowance if you need things, or how does that work?
David: When bands get signed, they get an advance, from the deal and from publishing and what they decide to do with it and how frugal they are is their choice. Now, a lot of people are idiots, and they go out and buy houses and cars and stupidity and they money doesn’t last and they don’t end up going gold or platinum and they end up being shit out of luck.
Dan: Driving their new cars to their old jobs.
(Everyone laughs)
David: We’re being very, very careful with what we have and we’re planning and budgeting and being good about it.
Fuzz: That’s why we’re in an RV instead of a van.
You guys got your Minnie Winnie.
David: We need the space. A little bit of sanity goes a long way.
Do you get insane in tight quarters?
David: Well….uhhh.
You drive each other nuts?
Dan: Nah.
Mike: No.
David: We get along pretty well.
Mike: Everyone just needs a little space, a little personal space.

Do you guys hang out other than being in the band?
Mike: Oh yeah.
David: Constantly.
Dan: We all live in the same house. When we’re not living in here, we’re living at his place. (Dan points towards Fuzz).
Really? So, you’re roommates. That’s cool.
David: Gotta be. This is a full time thing.
Shhhyeah!
(Everyone laughs)

What was the first song the band ever played?
Mike: ‘Want’.
(Everyone agrees)
David: Yeah. It’s on the album.
Mike: It was arranged differently and had different lyrics back then, but..
Dan: Actually, it had a different guitar riff. The vocal melody was the same and then we just kinda used a different riff that we had. But the first day that [David] came in as our singer, trying out – that song was … happening.
David: They played something and I just improvised a lyric that I had written previously and I kind of had it in my head, and I tried to fit it to what they were playing… and that was my audition.
Pretty impressive for an audition.
Mike: That answer actually segues into maybe one of your other questions, probably.
Which might be?
(Dan laughs)
Mike: How did we form or how long we’ve been playing together?
Answer! You interview you!
Mike: We’ve been together about 3 1/2 years. Three of us, Fuzz, Dan, and myself had been playing together off and on for a couple years and knew each other from the area. And we looked for a singer, put an ad out, and we had just a ton of guys come out and they just…
Dan: Sucked.
Mike: …didn’t know what they were doing.
Didn’t rock your socks, huh?
Mike: Everyone was like.. “Let me learn a cover and we’ll jam that” or “Let me learn one of your originals and I’ll come back in a week and do it”. He walks in the first day, and we got used to all these people doing that and we gave him the tape and we said “Here’s our tape come back in a week.” He’s like “Naw, Hell with that, play and I’ll come up with something.”

What’s the largest audience you’ve ever played to?
David: Our last show.
Fuzz: Sold out the The Metro in Chicago.
David: 1200 people. That was.. orgasmic.
Now you gotta go for 12,000.
David: We’re working on it.

What’s the biggest plan for the coming year?
Fuzz: Touring, touring, and more touring.
Dan: Selling a lot of albums. A lot of goals.
David: Getting a good tour. Getting a video together.
Having our singles get rotation. Taking over the world.
World domination.
David: That’s what it’s all about.

Where were you when you came up with the name for the band?
Dan: Where was I? I think I was talking to David on the phone. The first day, we were looking for a singer. We were playing out under different names with other singers and he threw the name out the first time I talked to him.
David: It was something I’d been throwing around.

What’s the last movie you saw?
Fuzz: Detroit Rock City.
David: I just went to see the Green Mile, actually.
Drama?
David: It was pretty damn good. It was three hours, but it was good.
Mike: Seven?
Dan: American Beauty. And the Austin Powers movie about a thousand times.
What was the first thought you had when you found out you were being signed?
David: We get to quit our jobs.
Dan: Yeah, being able to write down, on whatever, occupation: ‘Musician’.
Fuzz: Music as our full time…
Dan: Professional Musician.
David: Oh, it felt so good.
What were the jobs you got to quit?
Fuzz: Concrete. Concrete construction.
Dan: Union carpenter.
Mike: Auto parts counterperson.
David: I was a nursing home Administrator.
Really?
Mike: Now you just opened up a can of worms.
Dan: Diaper Changer!
(Everyone laughs)
I won’t go there if I’m not supposed to. I hate my day job, too.
David: Brutal. Brutal.

What’s the best background music for seduction?
David: Not including our music? I totally, for myself, and depending who I’m with, if it’s the right kind of girl, I love putting on Type O Negative.
Have you been reading up on me?
David: I like Soundgarden, too, actually.
Type O is my favorite band in the whole world. They were my very first interview.
Mike: Oh, cool!
David: Did you interview Peter? (David lowers his voice) His deep-ass voice.
Uhh.. Kenny and Johnny, but yes, I did talk with Peter. I’m not gonna say anymore.
David: Did he come on to you?
Aww, well, he’s a player. He loves women.
David: Yeah, he is. One of my exes, she was backstage with them or something and he says to her (David does his best Peter Steele impression) “If you’re not going to be with me, you’d better run.”
(Everyone laughs)

David: It freaked her out.
Well, good choice though, I have to say. Type O is very sexy. How about you guys? Any particulars?
Fuzz: I love classical.
Really?
Fuzz: Yeah.
Interesting. Candles, too?
Fuzz: Oh yeah.
David: Must have.
Fuzz: Although I have dimmers in my room.
Oh, that is so pimp. That’s so lounge. I love it.
(Everyone laughs)

So, what would be the best way for a girl to get your phone number then?
David: To ask for it.
(Everyone laughs some more)
David: Well, she’s gotta be.. you know..
You have to watch out for stalkers now, you know…
David: Tell me about it. I’ve already had my taste or two of that.
Oh. Really.
David: Yeah. Unfortunately.
And just when I was about to ask about any weird fan experiences as of yet. Hmm…
Mike: OH YES! The collage!
(The other guys moan.)
David: This girl…. didn’t even come to one of our shows, started following me around to different shows. I’m at a local southside Chicago show one night, and she shows up, first of all she’s pestering me on the phone because I’d made the mistake of when I met her, giving her my number… wouldn’t leave me the Hell alone anyway she comes to the show with a big ass bulletin board – a collage of ‘David… and DISTURBED’.. and she’s like “Look what I brought for you, David.”
Mike: And she’s carrying this big ass thing around the club!
David: Yeah and she was grabbing me.. wouldn’t let me go. Very uncomfortable.
Well, get used to it. That’s all I can say.
David: Heh. So if they want my phone number, don’t bring the collage.
(Everyone laughs)

Disturbed - Photo by: Brian MayWhat would you like to be remembered for the most?
David: Raping the mother culture of society. I want to completely set off-kilter – and that’s what this band is about, that’s what we’re about, that’s what the message is – is to completely send the entire infostructure of the media, of modern pop culture and everything that has to do with it completely on its’ back. Everything that people tell you is cool, tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, how you should dress, who you should talk to, talk like, act like, be like… FUCK that. It’s all about individuality. It’s all about self-respect, and it’s all about self-development. And, unfortunately, each one of us in our own way, our whole lives have been looked down upon for how we are or what we do or what we try to be, or what we like. I think it’s time that people started accepting other people for who they are instead of trying to make them into something that they’re not.
Amen. Can I get an amen?
(Everyone complies)

What’s your favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon?
David: Sex. Lots of it. With multiple partners if possible. And a practice is good, actually.
Fuzz: Our best practices are on Sundays. If we can write a song on a Sunday… get there about 1 o’clock, leave about 5 or so.
Dan: Yeah.
Fuzz: We’ll never write a whole song in one day, but..
Never?
Dan: We’re too picky.
Fuzz: But if we can get a verse, and a chorus, and a bridge that we’re happy with…it’ll change a dozen times, but that’s a good start.

How often do you practice?
Dan: Before we got signed? Three or four times a week.
Fuzz: Once we quit our jobs it freed up all our time to practice more. Pretty much every day. Since this has become our job.

Got any pets?
David (in a sad voice): I want pets.
Dan: Each other.
David: I always wanted a dog. Now, I’m on the road.
No? No road dogs?
Mike: Can’t. Allergic.How about a bird?
David: I would kill the bird. We used to have a bird. It would always just screech and screech all day, and one day I lost it, and I picked up the cage and threw it out the window.
Oh, I thought you meant you lost the bird.
David: Oh, I lost the bird.
Dan: Just for the record, it flew away – so we don’t have the animal activists hunting us down.
David: I unfortunately didn’t catch it in time to kill it properly.
Dan: We did have an unwanted pet, for a while, in the house.
Really?
David (same sad voice): Yeah, I left the door open.
(Everyone laughs)
David: A mouse came in. We finally ended up catching it on some glue board or something.
Dan: It shit on everything, runs across your foot..
David: It was a smart fucking mouse. Little bastard. We pulled it off in pieces off of that thing.
Ewwww…. No more mouse.
David: No more mouse.
Dan: It wobbled and ran away.

Favorite South Park character?
Fuzz: Cartman.
Mike: Kenny. I like Kenny.
Dan: I like the Chef.
David: I think I’m with you there. Chef is awesome.
I like Ike.
David: Kick the baby.
See the movie?
(Everyone groans and says yes.)
David: I don’t think I’ve ever been so amused and so offended at the same time. I was like, “Holy shit”!
You? Offended? Really?
David: That was just…
Dan: It was nasty.
David: That was a little much. I mean, when they had all the black soldiers tied …
(Everyone bursts into laughter)
Dan: Operation Black Shield or something?
“Get behind the darkies”?
David: Yeah.
Yeah, that was pretty bad.
David: Or, “No Kyle. You can’t help it if you’re a jew.” Oh god. I mean, it was so brutal …but funny. Satan taking it in the ass from Saddam Hussien?
Dan: Yeah.
David: So brutal.

What’s your favorite past time other than being in the band?
David: Sex.
Was that too easy of a question?
David: The only thing in life that is almost as good as being on stage.. is sex.
Good sex, though.
David: Even bad sex.
(Everyone laughs)
David: Well I guess it depends on how bad you go. Like if you’re left all chaffed… and.. uhhh… OK! … Good sex then!

What female musician do you most admire?
David: Admire or want to do?
(Everyone laughs, then David and I look at Dan)
David: Who do you admire, female musician?
Dan: I don’t know, I just wanna have sex with them.
(Loud laughter)
David: I still like Siouxsie Sioux. I was a big punk in the eighties. I think Mariah Carey has a fantastic voice…but I’d STILL do her!
Of course. Anyone else?
Fuzz: Alanis Morrisette.
You could be her brother. You look a lot alike.
Mike: Drain STH.
Dan: Ahhhhh..
Have you heard Kittie?
David: Yeah. Don’t really like them.
Dan: Haven’t seen them live yet though.
David: I’d like to see them live. There’s a couple of songs on the CD that grabbed me though. Let’s see how they stack up live. They’ve been touring with Slipknot and Sevendust so..
Yeah. I guess they better!

Any bands from back home you’d like to say hello to?
David: Black Talon
Fuzz: Loudmouth
Dan: Lungbrush
David: Mother Lode
Fuzz: Fishwhistle
Wow. Quite a list.
David: There’s a family back home.
Decent club scene in Chicago?
Dan: It’s starting to open up a lot more.
David: Yeah. We had to punch our way through. But, now that Metro and other clubs that see that bands like us are selling it out, they’re starting to open up their eyes and ears and think “Oh there may be something to all this heavy music”. So…

Where’s the crappiest club you ever played?
(The band discusses and debates, and then finally decide on…)
Dan: Smiler Coogans in Chicago.
David: You know a club just sucks, when you come in and there’s a vending machine right at the bar. Like, with chips and candy bars and crap like that. That just says to you like, summer vacation. NO CLASS.
Dan: You could play the worst dive in the world but if the place is packed with people who want to see you, you’ll go back there…

(What must a crowd be like though, at a place called Smiler Coogans? Visions of big, silver, belt buckles, and 45 year-old women with ‘5 packs-a-day’ voices dance in my head. I have even more respect for bands all of a sudden.)

Disturbed - Photo: Brian MayWhat was your impression of L.A. tonight?
Dan: Great.
David: Not too bad. Not too bad. People were a little stiffer than I might have liked but..
Mike: I was pleasantly surprised. We heard L.A. was pretty brutal.
David: Well, not only that but it’s like everyone tends to look towards everyone else like.. “Is it okay to move? Are YOU moving?”
Dan: Everything was right on time though. If you’re supposed to go on at 8:30, you’re on at 8:30. When the club owners snap the whip and get you going.. that’s cool.
David: Yeah, it’s like L.A. means business.
So you enjoyed it though?
David: Yeah. We did. We enjoyed it. Had a good time tonight.
I got the impression that everyone that saw the show enjoyed it, too.

Special thanks to ‘Skinny’ at streeteam.net and to Kristine Ashton at MSO.

Lesa Pence

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