Disturbed Frontman Explains What Rock Music Lacks Today While Praising Controversial Grammy Performance

Recently, Disturbed frontman David Draiman appeared on 102.9 The Hog radio for their “The Afternoon Program” show. During the interview, David reflected on the 65th Grammy Awards and the ceremony which took place on February 5 this year. In particular, the singer was asked about the performance by Sam Smith and Kim Petras which drew some criticisms, especially for Smith’s Satanistic-inspired costumes. Draiman offered (transcript via Blabbermouth):

“I was pretty blown away by Sam Smith’s spectacle. That was impressive. That’s kind of what certain parts of what we do in our genre have been missing for many bands, and even us at certain points in time.”

“That element of danger, that element of, ‘Here’s my middle finger. I’m putting it right in the camera for all of you, and doing this because I know it’s going to get a rise out of everyone. And that’s exactly why I’m doing it the way I’m doing it.'”

“And that’s rock and roll. Whether people recognize it or not, that is it — that is it. It’s impressive to see people push the envelope.”

Going deeper into the issue, Draiman argued that this isn’t anything new and that various rock and metal bands have been doing these things long ago. As he explained, this was just another way to deliberately “piss people off” and get attention. David added:

“How much different is that in its own way, and in its own style and flavor and flair, than what Mötley Crüe has done for years?”

Sam Smith & Kim Petras’ RACY ‘Unholy’ Performance At 2023 Grammys

“Or what a band like… Let’s go to the real opposite end of the spectrum, a band like GWAR and what they do. It’s a show, and they’re putting on a show, and they’re just figuring out a different way to piss people off and push people’s buttons. And he found it.”

“And good on him, man, ’cause [laughs] more people need to be pushing more buttons in a way that pisses more people off. People are almost begging for it at this point.”

Sam Smith’s and Kim Petras’ performance was the center of attention both within the world of music and outside of it. For the most part, they drew criticism from conservatives and some even filed complaints to the FCC and the broadcaster CBS for Satanic imagery.

Sam Smith, Kim Petras - Unholy

After the performance at the Grammy Awards ceremony, Kim Petras commented:

“I think a lot of people, honestly, have kind of labeled what I stand for and what Sam stands for as religiously not cool.”

“I personally grew up wondering about religion and wanting to be a part of it, but then slowly realizing it doesn’t want me to be a part of it.”

Sam Smith, Kim Petras - Unholy (Official Music Video)

“So it’s a take on not being able to choose religion and not being able to live the way that people might want you to live, because, you know, as a trans person, I’m kind of already not wanted in religion.”

In another recent interview, Disturbed’s David Draiman discussed the current state of the music industry, namely the financial issues of touring artists. Addressing what a few other big names in rock and metal world did as well, Draiman reflected on how the COVID-19 pandemic left its mark, offering:

“We were robbed of normalcy for so long [due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To feel like things are normalizing once again and to get back to doing what we are really meant to be doing in this life — all of us; not just us [in the band] — is an incredible thing.”

Disturbed - Bad Man [Official Music Video]

“But now to be able to experience the celebration known as live performance and to feel that circle of symbiotic kind of relationship that you end up having and that energy surge in a whole new way, because it was taken for so long, it’s sweeter now.

“And I think people are even more passionate. They’re so pent up. They’re ready. And we are too.”

He also added:

“I think that the human body *and* human spirit are both incredibly resilient. I think we *are* traumatized. There’s no doubt about it. From every walk of life and every age range imaginable. I think the kids got hit the hardest during all this.”

Disturbed - Austin City Limits Music Festival 2018 [Live From The Vault]

“When you are stripped of the things that keep you engaged, that keep you communicating, that keep you challenged, it can do long-term damage sometimes.“

“I think that people are gonna take — it may take the rest of their lifetimes to sometimes get back to where they were after, not only what this whole experience did to us psychologically, but what it did to some people fiscally, what it did to them financially.“

“It destroyed families, it destroyed jobs, it destroyed worlds. I mean, the effects were more than just the lives that were taken by the virus. Terrible.“

DISTURBED Live Full Concert At Madison Square Garden New York APR 2022

“So it’s weird. I feel very, very fortunate that we’re still one of the ones that are in a position to go back out there and to *do* what we do and to *keep* doing what we love.“

“The music industry as a whole, we lost two-thirds of our workforce. They’re gone. They went to do other things, because live events couldn’t happen for two to three years. So they had to put food on the table.“

“There are bands like us who did everything that they could for their crew, and we’d do it again, but there are a lot of bands that couldn’t. And people had to make a living.“

Disturbed - Unstoppable [Official Lyric Video]

“And so now, you have a few people left. Now costs are through the roof, now everybody’s struggling, and we’re *still* chomping at the bit to get out there. I think the challenge makes it better.”

Photos: Stefan Brending (2016 RiP Disturbed – David Draiman – by 2eight – 8SC8740), pitpony.photography (Sam Smith Lollapalooza 2015-3)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.