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Disturbed Frontman Talks About Being Influenced by Korn and Deftones


Many folks think of Korn, Deftones and Disturbed as being in the same cohort of bands as one another, which is not inaccurate: they’re three of the biggest acts to rise out of the nu-metal era. But that period lasted for quite a while, with Korn and Deftones some of the first from the group to break through and Disturbed one of the last.

With that in mind it makes sense to learn that Disturbed frontman David Draiman says the other two bands were major influences for him, particularly their vocalists, even though it kinda struck me as odd at first. Finally we learn where Draiman’s patented “ohhh AH AH AH AH!” bark came from: blame Jonathan and Chino!

Speaking to concert promotion group Danny Wimmer Presents’s YouTube show, “Offstage with DWP,” Draiman spoke at length about those influences. Interviewer Gary Spivak asked “You started with KISS and Sabbath, went into Metallica and Iron Maiden, but then you also went Sex Pistols, Ramones, Smiths, Depeche Mode, Nirvana, Soundgarden… Is that correct?”, to which Draiman replied:

“Very much so. And I actually have to lump in, the part that a lot of Wikipedia things, things of that nature, what they often get wrong is like, they don’t take enough some of the more modern aspects and influences.

“They’ll go ahead and state all the classics – and it’s interesting to be calling grunge artists ‘classics’ at this point, but you know, I guess even we’re considered ‘heritage’ artists in a way, but you know, it really all depends on how you feel about it.

“I personally, and I know Danny [Donegan, guitar] as well, gained a lot of inspiration from bands like Korn, Tool, Deftones, even Type O Negative.

“You definitely had all the core basics, you know, the Sabbaths, the Maidens, the Priests, starting with KISS, but I would daresay that Disturbed would not have become Disturbed without the new wave of heavy metal that came to fruition about ’97, ’98 and really was at its apex at about 2003-2004 – what a lot of people call ‘nu-metal.’

“Whether you fit into it stylistically or not, it was this huge thing, and when I was exposed to that first Korn record [1994’s self-titled], that first Deftones record [1995’s ‘Adrenaline], the way that Jonathan [Davis] and Chino [Moreno] incorporated rhythm into the melody was me going to the school.

“I learned so much from those guys. Even let’s say Anthony [Kiedis] from the Chili Peppers would utilize his vocals rhythmically – that fusion of rhythmic melody with that heaviness is what made us ‘us.’

“One of the great things about Zack [de la Rocha, RATM singer] is the tone – he’s got that instantly wonderfully abrasive tone. He doesn’t even have to try, it just comes out that way.”

Elsewhere in the chat Draiman talks about learning to sing from Jewish prayers with his family, his first live concert experience, turning down offers from law schools to pursue his career in music and more. You can read a few of those excerpts over at Ultimate Guitar or watch the interview below.

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