DISTURBED singer David Draiman recently told Revolver magazine (web site) that his band have not only been scorned by critics — with particular bile reserved for their frontman — but they were even turned away by Hurricane Katrina benefit organizers. "We're either too heavy or not heavy enough. It's always one thing or the other, and it's never just right. I'm tired of trying to theorize why."
Despite the intense devotion he inspires within his fan base, Draiman admits to being the focal point of much of the vitriol directed at DISTURBED, whose detractors often accuse the band of making glossy mall metal for junior-high kids.
"You have to search long and hard to find an article about us that speaks negatively about the other members of the band," Draiman tells Revolver. "It's always about me, for whatever fucking reason. But that's part and parcel of being the frontman. When I'm up there, I have to be strong and unafraid. It's like staring down a wild animal: You can't show fear, otherwise you won't be able to get them to do what you want them to do. And there are times when I have to really go into my mode to get the reaction that should come out of them. A lot of people perceive that as pompousness or ego. But you know something? It takes a certain amount of confidence and ego to be able to go up and do that in front of thousands of people."
If Draiman had his way, his ambition would drive the band to the very peak of rock stardom. To "the status of a METALLICA or a U2," he says.
"But the respect that is afforded those megagroups continues to elude DISTURBED. As Draiman notes, the band has sold nearly 8 million CDs in six years, yet still functions as "the Rodney Dangerfield of metal." After Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast last summer, Draiman had hoped to participate in the relief concerts. "I so believed in being a part of it," he says, "but we weren't welcome." He speaks of wanting to matter outside the world of heavy metal, the way that KORN or Trent Reznor or SYSTEM OF A DOWN matter.
"I have a tremendous sense of admiration for those guys," he says of SYSTEM. "And on a certain level, there's a little bit of envy: How did they manage to pull off the trick where such an obscure band, with songs that are so unconventional, can make such an impact? It's truly a feat. But in the back of my head, it's like, Who gave them the golden chalice, and when did we pass it up?
"I think that given the opportunity to grow in the direction of some of the other great bands of all time, we have as much to offer," Draiman says. "If somebody simply opens the door, we're more than ready to walk in."