Disturbed were 'blacklisted' in home town

Disturbed frontman David Draiman has recalled the band’s struggle to get noticed in their early days – saying they were “blacklisted” for not being cool enough.

The Chicago band found it hard to make a name for themselves in a city better known for its alternative scene than for rock and metal.

Draiman tells Loudwire: “People think it was this meteoric rise – it really wasn’t. We beat the hell out of ourselves for two or three years as a local band.

“Any time a rock show would come through town, we would pass out cassettes, stickers, t-shirts – whatever we could.

“There was a lot of struggle in a city that wasn’t conducive to hard rock and heavy metal. It was Smashing Pumpkins. It wasn’t about metal so we were blacklisted. We couldn’t even play inner city clubs – we weren’t cool enough. We had to force our way in.

Disturbed released singled Stupify and Voices from 2000 debut The Sickness, but it wasn’t until third single Down With The Sickness that they began to feel a dramatic shift in their favour.

Draiman says: “That song resonated with so many people and became such a worldwide phenomenon. That really took things to the next level for us.”

The band released sixth studio album Immortalized earlier this year. They’ll tour North America in March.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.