While Disturbed frontman David Draiman sometimes get a bad rap, perhaps due to the nu-metal nature of the band’s music, or his trademark facial piercings, he’s become an elder statesman of sorts for the post-2000 metal scene. Of their six albums, the last five had debuted at #1, and the band purposely went on a four-year hiatus before coming back with last year’s Immortalized. And while some might be dismissive of Draiman because of lyrics like “ooh ahh ahh ahh ahh,” he’s actually a pretty intelligent guy. On Monday while speaking to Eddie Trunk on SiriusXM, he spoke about the current situation of being in a band – namely that you have to continue to tour to make money:
In today’s environment, it’s fewer and further between those bands who can afford to take that kind of time away, because, whether we like to admit it or not, touring has become our primary source of revenue these days. And a lot of other musicians out there, whether we like to admit it or not, have not necessarily been as wise with their finances. They think that their party’s gonna last forever, and they burn through what they’ve made, and they throw caution to the wind a little bit. And there are quite a few who are smarter than that, and who have done smart things with the money that they’ve made over the course of time, and they budget themselves accordingly, and they don’t blow their entire wad, so to speak, in one session.
He adds that the band has always been smart about their finances, even as their first album took off:
Even after we got our first deal, we all lived in the same house together for that entire first record cycle. While The Sicknesswas blowing up and everything else was going our way, we were still super careful. We took part of our advance money and instead of spending it on a bunch of ridiculous things, we bought an RV so that we could tour semi-comfortably and we didn’t have to start out in a van, being completely exhausted and on top of each other the entire time. I didn’t even buy a new car of any kind; I had my old crappy Ford Explorer that I was driving well into the Believe record cycle. So it wasn’t until we were really… we had already shaken the potential sophomore jinx and things were going well that we even started to think about trying to do things that would make ourselves more comfortable. But certainly my education and my background… One of the degrees I have is in business and I was a healthcare administrator that ran a 365-bed skilled nursing facility for years and generated several million dollars a year profit for them. So I have a background in business. Making the right investments along the way, being smart with your money, making sure that you’re putting it in situations where your money is working for you — interest-earning things, portfolio-associated things, real estate… I do a lot of angel investment on the side as well. So it’s important to diversify, it’s important to not only count on this, especially in this day and age, to keep you going. So, yeah, my background definitely has a lot to do with that. But, thankfully, all of us in the band have very good heads on our shoulders and have been shrewd in terms of how we’ve handled our money over the course of time.
Granted, Disturbed are one of the few metal bands of the last 20 years with multi-platinum albums, it sounds like pretty solid advice to not spend beyond your means in the early part of being a band, especially since there’s only a small fraction of musicians that will get to a place where Disturbed are in this day and age. But at least Draiman knows that:
This continued perpetuation of this false level of excess and opulence and that perception that, ‘You’re a band that got signed and you put out a record, you must have it made, you must be rich, you must be doing God knows what.’ They really have no idea — they’ve no idea what the average person who is a musician breaking their back out there goes through. And, thankfully, we’ve done very well and we’re not in that situation. But there are many who are, and this perception that continues to be perpetuated is not only no longer germane, but it’s inappropriate and it’s a false idol of sorts. And it’s unfortunate that that’s what people try to go ahead and attribute to being a rock star.”
He actually sounds humble and relatable. Good on Draiman.