Behind the Band Name: Disturbed

Though not an original member of Disturbed, frontman David Draiman proved to be an important piece when he joined the band in 1996, particularly when it came to the band name. Disturbed is one of the most famous heavy metal bands, with a collection of chart-topping albums and songs to their name. With more than 17 million albums sold across the world, Disturbed is one of the highest-selling rock bands of the modern era. Below, we look at the history of the band’s name.

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Meaning Behind the Name

The original lineup featured guitarist Dan Donegan, drummer Mike Wengren, bassist Steve Kmak and lead singer Erich Awalt. They originally called themselves Crawl at the time, but soon changed the name to Brawl after finding out another band was operating under Crawl. After Awalt departed the band, the remaining members put out an ad for a new lead singer. Draiman responded to the ad and was called in for an audition in Chicago, admitting that the first time he met his future band members was “awkward as hell.”

“The whole birth of new metal at the time was just starting,” he recalled to Artisan News Service of when he joined the band in the ’90s. He also notes that the band was called “Brawl” at the time, “which I kind of thought was a silly name,” Draiman says.

At Draiman’s suggestion, the band changed its name to Disturbed. “They didn’t have the name Disturbed yet and definitely the music wasn’t the same,” Draiman reflects in an archived 2005 interview with Loudwire about the band’s state when he auditioned. “It had been a name I have been contemplating for a band for years. It just seems to symbolize everything we were feeling at the time. The level of conformity that people are forced into was disturbing to us and we were just trying to push the envelope and the name just [sort of] made sense.”

Draiman proved to be influential in more ways than one. During the audition, the band suggested that they do a cover song, but Draiman insisted they try doing an original song together. That’s when his bandmates started playing a melody they’d been working on while Draiman “married” it with lyrics to a song that he’d written for another band he was previously in. The song ended up becoming “Want,” a deep cut on their debut studio album, The Sickness, released in 2000.

To date, Disturbed has released eight studio albums, five of which have reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The current lineup features Draiman, Donegan, Wengren and bassist John Moyer. They’ve also had multiple singles hit No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart including “Land of Confusion,” “Inside the Fire” and “Another Way to Die.”

Disturbed also made headlines with their viral cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence,” which was released in 2015 in honor of the song’s 50th anniversary. Their rendition received approval from legendary songwriter Paul Simon, who penned the track. “The Sound of Silence” also topped the Mainstream Rock chart and became their highest charting entry on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 at No. 42.

It sounds like the band won’t be stopping anytime soon, as Draiman told Loudwire in 2005 that Disturbed doesn’t plan to change their formula for success.

“I can’t see us ever making any drastic changes,” Draiman predicted of Disturbed’s future. “I think we like the way we do what we do, too. There’s just more satisfaction out of rhythmic aggression infused with intense melody. I think when you can craft these songs a certain way and you get those moments when the combination of notes makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up –you know you’re doing something right. I think that nothing does that for us as much as metal. We’re going to stick to who we are and where we came from.” 

(Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images)

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