Disturbed seemingly came out of nowhere in 2000, but the band didn't only look to hard rock and metal legends of the past, they also took inspiration from modern bands like Korn, Deftones, and Type-O Negative.
Speaking during a recent Q&A on Offstage With DWP, Draiman was asked about Disturbed's influences and if the band was formed out of a combination of early metal, new wave and grunge. Draiman made sure to give credit to some contemporaries.
“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 ‘nü-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, Rage Against The Machine 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.”
“…The nü metal thing I never got because we never rap, we’ve never had a turntable. All of the elements that are parts of being a nü metal band were never part of what we did. But we came up at the same time as those guys were enjoying a tremendous amount of success so we got slapped with that label.
If we had come up during the time [Iron] Maiden and [Judas] Priest were dominating things in the mid-‘80s, I don’t think there would be any question how we would be identified. At this point, I don’t know that the label is all that important, but I know that there are plenty of bands––whether they’re rock, hard rock or metal––that explore new territory.
This was a change of direction that felt so gratifying. We went with it and ended up producing material that is, in our opinion, some of the best stuff we’ve ever written. That’s all you can try to do.”