Music as a Weapon
Disturbed, Stone Sour, Flyleaf, Nonpoint
Friday, Dec. 15, 7 p.m., $35
It pays to be Disturbed.
Just look at this Chicago metal band’s track record. Starting with their 2000 debut, The Sickness, through last year’s Ten Thousand Fists, Disturbed has had three platinum-selling albums. They made their Ozzfest debut in 2000 and were moved to the main stage the following year when 25,000 fans tried to cram into a space big enough for 10,000 at their first show. This past summer, Disturbed served as a co-headliner with System of a Down on the Ozzfest tour.
Now the band — singer David Draiman, guitarist Dan Donegan and drummer Mike Wengren — tops the bill on the 2006 Music as a Weapon Tour, with Stone Sour, Flyleaf and Nonpoint as supporting acts. Draiman promised a “big rock show” in Indianapolis Friday during a recent phone interview.
It should be, given its lineup. Stone Sour is one of the hottest current modern rock bands, and Flyleaf and Nonpoint more than hold their own.
But it’s Disturbed who has served as a bellwether for metal’s increasing popularity. Rock music has seen its market share shrink in the face of rap’s ascent up the charts. For Disturbed to continue churning out platinum releases flies in the face of convention. Even the players involved didn’t expect it.
“I was very surprised,” Draiman said when he found out Ten Thousand Fists debuted at No. 1 and continued the band’s streak of million-plus sellers. “Shocked is probably the appropriate word.”
It helps that Ten Thousand Fists mixes the sounds of their previous two CDs — the steadfast stomp of The Sickness and the melodic groove of 2002’s Believe, topped off by Draiman’s signature scatting, staccato growl.
As usual, Draiman holds nothing back in his lyrics for Ten Thousand Fists. Tracks like “Deify” challenge those who assign too much stature to political leaders, and several songs, including “Sacred Lie,” “Forgiven” and “Overburdened,” denounce war while offering support to those left to fight it.
That would make some artists a target. But for Disturbed, it’s been just the opposite. At a recent show, a sergeant major, which had just returned from his second tour of duty in Iraq, visited with the band. He had led his platoon on some 400 missions there. Before each one, they’d blast songs from Ten Thousand Fists to get pumped up. He gave Disturbed one of the Bronze Stars he was awarded for his service.
“He was like, ‘Without your music and what it did for us and what it meant to us, we wouldn’t have been able to do what we did,’” Draiman recalled. “It was hard to even accept such a gift, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t know if there’s any greater of a testimony to the power and relevance of these songs than that.”