Disturbed without vocalist David Draiman would've been a very different band, but it could've happened. Disturbed was originally named Brawl and was fronted by vocalist Erich Awalt, who left the band shortly after their first demo. Brawl posted an advertisement in the Illinois Entertainer, found Draiman in 1996, changed their name to Disturbed, and the rest is history.
Though Disturbed guitarist Dan Donegan was recently going through some old stuff and found a note that indicated he was also considering now-Whitesnake guitarist Joel Hoekstra (Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Night Ranger) as a potential replacement for Awalt.
"I was digging through Disturbed memorabilia & found these post-it notes when we were auditioning singers back in 1996!" said Donegan. "As in the note, I left David a message on Aug 3 & 4. We talked later that Sunday night on the phone & hit it off. I invited him 2 come out 2 our rehearsal the next day! He wanted to hear our originals & within minutes he started improvising a melody over the riff of a song we were working on! Do you know the song?
"Also something cool in the notes that I circled, a very talented guy I knew in the neighborhood Joel Hoekstra. Joel sang in another local project for a moment but his guitar playing was unlike anything I've seen! A child prodigy as some of you may know Joel from going on to play guitar for Night Ranger, Rock of Ages, Whitesnake, Cher, Trans-Siberian Orchestra & a couple others. I'd say we all made pretty great decisions in all our careers. I'm still friends with Joel & I'm not sure if I ever told him he was on my radar.
"But truth be told the world needs him on guitar. After David singing with us on Aug 5, 1996 we knew he was our guy! We started writing songs, played our first show together in just over 3 months with our friends in a Black Sabbath tribute band, and then three years later signed a major label deal with Giant/Reprise Larry Jacobson & part of the Warner Records family. What a crazy ride! I saved everything btw!"
Hoekstra saw Donegan's post and responded, jokingly saying he could've ruined the band. "Isn't that insane, dude," he said. "Good thing it didn't happen! I could have ruined everything. Haha! Truth! So glad things went well for me and you guys went on to be superstars! Big love, brother!"