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Disturbed: I’m A Believer.

24 February 2003 | 1:00 am | Peter Madsen
Originally Appeared In

Sick Of It All.

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Disturbed play the Waterloo Hotel on 

Chicago based quartet Disturbed spent 22 months on the road supporting the release of their last album The Sickness. That’s a long time in anyone’s books, especially considering that time was spent predominantly in the states. The band’s debut album seemingly took the world by storm, and the single Down With The Sickness quickly found itself a staple of extreme sports broadcasting, opening up the band to massive exposure. But external factors have held the band back from visiting this country before until now.

With a sound more in line with the vintage crop of thrashers than with many of the nu metal crowd, Disturbed are showing their’s life in metal yet. Ozzy Osbourne has boldly labelled them the future of metal, and their first tour of Australia selling out weeks before the band are due to land. So just why did it take so long to get here?

“The problem we had during the first album was there was a label change here in the states,” explains guitarist Dan Donegan. “We were signed to Giant, which is affiliated with Warner Brothers, but we were through BMG. When the label was sold outright to Warners what it came down to was the BMG were going to lose our international deal. So they had no reason to support our album any more, and there was no incentive for them to push the band any more, so unfortunately we lost out on that. We wanted to tour as much of the world as we could, but the timing was just bad.”

A frustrating time for the band, no doubt…

“It was frustrating. It wasn’t just problems overseas, it affected us here in the states as well, because Voices, the second single, just as things were starting to go well for it, because people were worrying about if they still had a job rather than working the single. Things just didn’t happen how we wanted things to, but it happened and we did what we had to do.”

No long after coming of almost two years on the road, the band were back in the studio to record their second disc, Believe.

“For the first time in my life I felt the pressure of having to write songs in a tour bus or a dressing room. I was so used to having some space in my bedroom and having time to just come up with stuff naturally. You can’t just say ‘today I’m going to write a song in my dressing room’. It’s got to come naturally.”

“Our lives have become quite different over the last couple of years, but by coming home and being back in that environment that we’re familiar with, made it easier on us not to overthink certain things. We didn’t want to go to LA and feel the pressure of making a follow up album or have people looking over our shoulders to make sure we can write another hit song. We basically did what we always did. The label didn’t really expect us to deliver a record last year. I think they felt seeing as we toured for almost two years that we’d take a break, but we got home in December 2001 and by January we were bored with being home. Things were coming together really quick, and we were in the studio by March.”

“We work better when we give ourselves a deadline. We told them March because we wanted to get back out on the road and play new material, and we knew it would take some time to get recorded and take some set up time before we get out on the road.”

Do you think Believe shows an extra two years of growth and maturity in the band over your first record?

“I definitely think so. I’ve very proud of everyone’s performance on the album, and I think everyone really stepped it up a couple of levels. We’re going in directions we haven’t been in before. We’re written the heaviest stuff we’ve ever written, and really focused on the dynamics of the songs. David’s vocals have gotten more melodic, and he’s really showing his singing voice. We really didn’t want to worry about what people’s expectations were. We just had to write for ourselves and make music for us.”

Is that what the band has always been about? Making music you’d buy yourself if you found it in a record shop?

“It’s always tough because you’ve got that pressure of following up, and Down With The Sickness was a big hit here in the states. People expect something similar, but as an artist and a musician I don’t want to duplicate what we just did. I want to grow as a band, but we’re still going to sound like us.”