DAVID DRAIMAN: 'I Don't Think That There Would Be A DISTURBED Without PANTERA'

February 25, 2022

DISTURBED's David Draiman was one of the musicians who joined Lou Brutus of HardDrive Radio to celebrate the 30th anniversary of PANTERA's classic sophomore major label album "Vulgar Display Of Power". Speaking about the impact the LP had on his musical upbringing, Draiman said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "[PANTERA] really, I think, at that point, had honed the whole groove metal thing that they had pioneered; they had gotten it to be so, so perfect. And look, that record was songs we covered, songs we adored, songs that were the soundtrack to many a late-night bit of Sodom and Gomorrah on the bus [laughs] — all kinds of craziness. There was all kinds of moments that those songs are literally part of the soundtrack to our upbringing.

"A lot of people don't really know this, but I don't think that there would be a DISTURBED without PANTERA," he continued. "I mean, the band that was DISTURBED before me that used to be called BRAWL had a singer by the name of Erich [Awalt], and he was very much in the Phil Anselmo school. [Editor's note: A four-song demo from BRAWL can be heard below.] All the stuff that I heard when I went to audition for the DISTURBED guys originally was much, much closer to old-school PANTERA than it was modern-day DISTURBED. And I was not sure I could even complement it properly at the time; I didn't know if my voice could be as ferocious as the music seemed to call for.

"I told Phil this when I saw him — I think the last time I saw Phil was actually in Texas; he was opening up for DANZIG with SUPERJOINT, I think, at the time," Draiman added. "And I told him that. I'm, like, 'Look, dude. You know it, I know it — I learned so much from you over the course of years.' He looks at me and goes, 'I know.' [Laughs]"

Back in July 2018, DISTURBED paid tribute to late PANTERA drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott by performing a cover version of the PANTERA classic "Walk" at that year's Rock Fest in Cadott, Wisconsin. Prior to launching into the song, Draiman told the crowd: "Our very first Ozzfest, PANTERA was on the main stage. And every night — every night — somehow, I ended up finding my way backstage to the PANTERA dressing room; in fact, I think most of the band did. And they were always so welcoming — they had the warmest heart, and Vinnie especially. Don't get me wrong, I will always love Dime [late PANTERA guitarist 'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott], and everyone will always love Dime — he is one of the greatest legends to ever grace the face of the planet. But personally, I don't feel enough has been said about the incredible heart, the majesty and the unbelievable level of musicianship that just came from Vinnie Paul.

"It's funny, because as I was hanging out with them, Dime wasn't really into our stuff," Draiman continued. "He was all telling Vinnie, 'I'm not into all that jumping-up-and-down shit.' Well, we're all about the jumping-up-and-down shit here. And Vinnie said, 'No, no, no, Dime, I'm telling you, you've gotta give these guys a chance. You've gotta give them a listen to.' And by the time our second Ozzfest came around, we were lucky enough to open up the second stage in our hometown of Chicago. And Vinnie and Dime made it out to the show just to come see us. They weren't playing, PANTERA wasn't on the bill — they came to see us. And an area that could probably accommodate maybe 10 thousand people at most at that side stage was swarmed with 25 thousand people that day. And I'll never forget, after the whole experience went down, which was met with a mixture of both shock and wonder, and some regret, because it wasn't the safest situation. But Vinnie and Dime were both blown away, and Vinnie became such a dear friend and such a huge supporter. And I miss him so very, very much, and I know you guys do too."

"Vulgar Display of Power" was certified double-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2004, signifying shipments of more than two million units in the U.S. since its February 1992 release.

Vinnie passed away on June 22, 2018 at his home in Las Vegas at the age of 54. He died of dilated cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart, as well as severe coronary artery disease. His death was the result of chronic weakening of the heart muscle — basically meaning his heart couldn't pump blood as well as a healthy heart.

Vinnie Paul and his brother co-founded PANTERA. When PANTERA broke up in 2003, they formed DAMAGEPLAN. On December 8, 2004, while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, Dimebag was shot and killed onstage by a troubled schizophrenic who believed that the members of PANTERA were stealing his thoughts.

Up until his death, Vinnie remained on non-speaking terms with Anselmo, whom the drummer indirectly blamed for the murder of Dimebag.

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