Early years as Brawl (1994–1996)
Before vocalist David Draiman joined Disturbed, they were known as Brawl, a band whose lineup consisted of vocalist Erich Awalt, guitarist Dan Donegan, drummer Mike Wengren, and bassist Steve "Fuzz" Kmak. Awalt left the band shortly after the recording of a demo tape and the other three members went on advertising for a singer. They posted an ad in the local music publication in Chicago, Illinois, called the "Illinois Entertainer". Draiman had answered the ad after going to twenty other auditions that month. As guitarist Dan Donegan commented on Draiman, "You know, out of all the singers that we had talked to or auditioned, he [Draiman] was the only singer who was ready to go with originals. And that impressed me, just to attempt that".
With regards of Draiman being the new singer for the band, Donegan said, "After a minute or two, he just starts banging out these melodies that were huge...I'm playing my guitar and I'm grinning from ear to ear, trying not to give it away that I like this guy, you know, because I don't want to, you know...[say] 'Yeah, we'll give you a call back. We'll, you know, discuss it.' But I was so psyched. Chill up my spine. I'm like, 'There is something here'." As drummer Mike Wengren commented, "We clicked right off the bat." Draiman then joined the band in 1996 and the band was re-named Disturbed. When asked in an interview why he suggested to name the band Disturbed, Draiman said, "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 sorta made sense."
The Sickness (1998–2000)
After re-naming the band, Disturbed started to record several demos but didn't play in live shows. The band eventually signed with Giant Records. In 2000, the band released its debut album, titled The Sickness, which launched the band into stardom. The album peaked at number twenty-nine on the Billboard 200 and it has sold over four million copies in the United States since its release. Before joining Marilyn Manson's 2001 European tour, bassist Steve Kmak was unable to play with the band due to a shattered ankle, caused by falling out of a fire escape outside Disturbed's rehearsal hall in Chicago. He took the fire escape to exit the building while the elevator was being used to move their equipment downstairs. After a successful operation, doctors highly recommended that Kmak skip the tour to avoid more severe damage to his foot. But he did perform with the band on January 11 and 12, 2001 at Disturbed's show in Chicago. During the European tour, Marty O'Brien replaced Kmak until he was able to tour again.
In February 2001, it was announced that the band had covered the song "Midlife Crisis" for a Faith No More tribute album, however the cover was not used. On June 4, 2002, Disturbed released a documentary DVD about the band, titled M.O.L., which showed some of the band's more personal moments in the studio and during tours, as well as featuring several music videos and live performances. On September 17, 2002, Disturbed released their second studio album, titled Believe, which debuted at number-one on the Billboard 200. The music video for the first single from the album, titled "Prayer", was pulled from most television stations, due to the similarities it had with the September 11, 2001 attacks. David Draiman recorded vocals for a song titled "Forsaken", a song written and produced by Jonathan Davis of the band Korn, released on Queen of the Damned.
In 2003, the band once again participated in the Ozzfest tour and started another one of their own tours, titled Music as a Weapon II. The bands Chevelle, Taproot, and Unloco toured with them. During the tour, Disturbed debuted an unreleased song, titled "Dehumanized". After Disturbed finished the Music as a Weapon II tour, Steve Kmak was fired by the band because of "personality differences". He was replaced by John Moyer, who is now the current bass player. On the night Moyer became the band's new bass player, Disturbed played live at the House of Blues and performed two new songs, "Hell" and "Monster", both of which are B-side tracks on the band's third studio album, Ten Thousand Fists.
Ten Thousand Fists (2004–2006)
Disturbed's third studio album, Ten Thousand Fists, was released on September 20, 2005. The album debuted at number-one on the Billboard 200, while also selling around 238,000 copies in the week following its release. The album was certified platinum, shipping 1,000,000 units, in the United States on January 5, 2006. The band toured with 10 Years and Ill Niño in support of the album. Disturbed headlined Ozzfest 2006 along with Ozzy Osbourne, System of a Down, Lacuna Coil, DragonForce, Avenged Sevenfold, and Hatebreed.
In an interview with Launch Radio Networks, Disturbed vocalist David Draiman stated that twenty songs were recorded for the album, but only fourteen made it to the final track listing. The remaining songs included "Hell", which was included in one of the two "Stricken" singles; "Monster", which was included as an iTunes pre-order bonus for Ten Thousand Fists, then later included on the Ten Thousand Fists Tour Edition; "Two Worlds", which was also included on the Tour Edition of Ten Thousand Fists; and "Sickened", which was included in the "Land of Confusion" single.
Ten Thousand Fists is the first album released by Disturbed to feature guitar solos. The band stated that they felt that guitar solos are a part of music that is absent in a lot of modern music, and they wanted to bring some of that back. Songs like "Stricken", "Overburdened", and "Land of Confusion" all feature guitar solos, as well as many others.
In 2006, a European tour was scheduled but had been moved twice due to Draiman having troubles with severe acid reflux, which affected his voice. Draiman commented, "I had been taking Prevacid for about four years and my body built up a resistance to it, to the point where it wasn't doing anything anymore...I had a night of drinking in London followed by a full day and night of drinking on a day off in Dublin, because what else is there to do in Ireland but drink? That, coupled with a show where I had monitor problems, and I pretty much trashed my voice." Later that year, Draiman underwent surgery for a deviated septum which affected his voice. It was successful, and ever since then, Draiman has limited his drinking on the road.
Draiman became involved in the music file sharing controversy by publicly speaking out against the RIAA's lawsuits against file sharing individuals, despite the fact his record label is a member of the RIAA. Draiman commented, "This is not rocket science. Instead of spending all this money litigating against kids who are the people they're trying to sell things to in the first place, they have to learn how to effectively use the Internet. For the artists, my ass...I didn't ask them to protect me, and I don't want their protection." Draiman also told NYRock: "[I'm] Very positive about the internet, Napster. I think it's a tremendous tool for reaching many more people than we ever could without it. When you release music you want it to be heard by people...Nothing is going to do that better than Napster. I can't tell you how many kids have come up to me and said, 'I downloaded a couple of tunes off Napster and I went out and bought the album.'...I don't really make money off of record sales anyway."
In late 2006, Disturbed headlined another one of their own tours named Music as a Weapon III; the bands Flyleaf, Stone Sour, and Nonpoint toured with them. Disturbed completed the first leg of their Music as a Weapon III tour in late 2006. Soon after, Draiman stated that there was not going to be a second leg to the tour and that instead the band was going off the road to start working on their fourth studio album.
In July 2007, a new track titled "This Moment" was released on the soundtrack to the film Transformers. Disturbed mixed their fourth studio album, titled Indestructible, in Los Angeles, California in late 2007. In an earlier interview, David Draiman said that they were going to record fifteen songs, but only twelve would be on the album.
On March 6, 2008, the band released a thirty second sample of a newly re-recorded version of the song "Perfect Insanity" on their MySpace profile. In March 2008, the song was made available for full download on the band's website, which led to the song receiving some minor radio airplay, and the band playing it live in Kuwait during a special Operation MySpace event.
Indestructible's first single, "Inside the Fire" was made available on digital distribution services for purchase on March 25, 2008. The band also toured in the United States in April and May 2008 with the bands Five Finger Death Punch and Art of Dying. The music video for "Inside the Fire" was released on May 2, 2008 on the band's official website. Disturbed released their previously free song "Perfect Insanity" on iTunes Store as a second single on May 6, 2008, and the album Indestructible become available for pre-order for the release date on June 3, 2008.
On May 13, 2008, Harmonix, the developers of the video game Rock Band announced they had reached a deal with Disturbed and Best Buy to offer two tracks from Indestructible for play in Rock Band to those who pre-ordered the album from Best Buy's website. On June 3, 2008, Harmonix released three tracks from Indestructible; "Indestructible", "Inside the Fire", and "Perfect Insanity". On May 12, 2009, Harmonix released Stricken and Stupify to the Rock Band music store. Disturbed played their first live online concert on May 29, 2008. The concert was sponsored by Pepsi and Deep Rock Drive. They performed in Las Vegas.
Indestructible was released in the United States on June 3, 2008 and in Australia on June 7, 2008 and became the band's third consecutive number-one debut on the Billboard 200. A special "Internet Only" limited edition of the album that includes the B-side track "Run", a making-of DVD with instructional videos, wrap-around poster, VIP laminate, access to special Disturbed events, and a special website with exclusive video, rare audio and more was also released. The band toured in support of the "Mayhem Festival" alongside Slipknot, DragonForce, and Mastodon during summer of 2008. Disturbed also completed a tour of Australia and New Zealand through August and September 2008.
On September 30, 2008, the band released an iTunes-exclusive live album entitled Live & Indestructible, made up of songs from Deep Rock Drive, as well as the music video for "Indestructible". The band started a tour of Europe, starting in London during October 2008 and finishing during November 2008 in Helsinki. In November and December 2008, Disturbed toured in the United States. The song "Inside the Fire" was nominated for a 2009 Grammy Award in the "Best Hard Rock Performance" category. In March 2009, Disturbed released a music video for the single "The Night".
The band began their Music as a Weapon IV tour in March 2009 and it ended in late May. The tour, also dubbed a "festival", featured the bands Killswitch Engage, Lacuna Coil, and Chimaira on the main stage. The band released a second cover version of Faith No More's song "Midlife Crisis" on the album Covered, A Revolution in Sound, which also included bands such as Mastodon, The Used, and Avenged Sevenfold. This cover of "Midlife Crisis" was originally recorded for Indestructible, but the band decided not to include it on the album.
Asylum (Since 2010)
In an earlier interview, David Draiman briefly talked about the band's fifth studio album, stating that the album will be as dark as their previous album, Indestructible, if not darker. Draiman also stated that the album is "still identifiably Disturbed, but showing more maturation." Song-writing for the fifth studio album began in late 2009. In an earlier interview with Mike Wengren and John Moyer, it was stated that, judging by Draiman's feelings on the last few years of his life, that Disturbed's new album will be aggressive, angry, and "hard-hitting", but will be similar musically to their album Believe. Wengren also said that the new album may be released in the spring or summer of 2010. Additionally, Draiman has confirmed that a DVD is in the works. A countdown clock appeared on the band's website, which ended on January 12, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. EST, and a trailer for the upcoming DVD, titled Decade of Disturbed, was revealed.
In a July 2009 interview with FaceCulture, Draiman stated that the upcoming DVD will be "chronicling the past decade of Disturbed's existence. It's meant to show our growth over the course of the decade." He also talked more about the upcoming fifth album: "A couple of [song riffs] that Danny has come up with are really amazing. But they're just little pieces...it's not even in two-three part progression [yet]."
On March 23, 2010, the band released a reissue of their debut album, The Sickness, with the B-side tracks "God of the Mind" and "A Welcome Burden", updated artwork, as well as remastering and remixing the track list. It was also available for the first time in vinyl format.. On February 26, 2010, Harmonix announced a second Disturbed pack for download on the Rock Band music store, containing the 2010 remastered versions of "Voices", "The Game", and "Meaning of Life".
On February 8, 2010, it was announced that the band had entered the studio in Chicago, Illinois to begin recording their fifth album, tentatively set for a summer 2010 release. Guitarist Dan Donegan stated that the band had written around 15 to 18 songs. It was later confirmed that the title of the album is Asylum.
On April 20, 2010, roughly two months after they entered the studio, Disturbed announced that they had finished recording the album, and were ready to begin mixing the album in Los Angeles, California. As they did with their last album Indestructible, Disturbed stated that they self-produced Asylum.
It was confirmed that Disturbed will be headlining the first annual "Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar" tour with Avenged Sevenfold, and also on the tour will be Stone Sour, Hellyeah and Halestorm.
Disturbed recently released a cover of heavy metal band Judas Priest's song "Living After Midnight" for the Metal Hammer Presents... Tribute to British Steel album.
Disturbed announced that their album Asylum will be released on August 31, 2010. As of June 26, 2010, twelve track titles have been revealed for the new album: "Another Way to Die", "Infection", "The Animal", "Asylum", "Serpentine", "The Warrior", "Never Again", "Crucified", "Innocence", "Mine", "Three", and "My Child".