Monday, January 03, 2011

The Zionist heavy metal rocker from Disturbed

From JPost:
With his bald plate, ominous double labret vertical chin piercings and chic, black, embroidered T-shirt and pants, David Draiman doesn’t look like anyone else in the David Citadel Hotel business lounge. Not that the 37- year-old native of Chicago looks much like anyone you might see anywhere else in Jerusalem either. Let’s just say, he’s got a style all his own that sets him apart from the normal street scenery of the Holy City.

But one of the many ironies surrounding Draiman is that he can move around Israel in relative anonymity.

People look at him and can’t help but immediately comprehend that he must be someone famous. But unless they’re under 25 or a fan of American hard rock bands, they won’t pick up on the fact that the muscular, confident tourist is the vocalist for Disturbed, a heavy metal band that has sold over 11 million albums world-wide since its 2000 debut. Each of their subsequent four albums has debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 list, a testament to the rabidity of Disturbed’s fans and the apparent chemistry its explosive music creates.

Another irony surrounding Draiman is that when he wants to jump off the album/rehearsal/tour merry-go-round – or recuperate from the rigors of rock & roll life which include a throat infection which caused part of a tour to be canceled – he doesn’t opt for a secluded Caribbean beach or a French Riviera resort. He returns to Israel.

“I love it here! I come every year or two,” said Draiman last week. He claims to have close to 200 relatives in the country, including his brother Ben, also a musician, and his grandmother. However, that isn’t what keeps him coming back repeatedly since he made his first trip with his parents when he was six years old. It’s because Israel and Judaism are part of his being, and though they aren’t as dominant in his life as they were, Draiman remains one of the few high-profile hard rock singers who are defiantly Jewish – imagine a young Ozzy Osbourne as the spokesman for the Jewish Defense League.

And in what is perhaps the greatest irony in the Draiman saga, the same voice heard belting out the angst-ridden, menacing vocals that characterize Disturbed’s music used to regularly inspire teenage yeshiva students as the shaliach tzibur for Shaharit, Maariv and High Holy Day services.

When did your relationship with Israel start?

I came here many times as a kid with my family. I think the first time I was six. I used to come here for summer camp a couple times in my childhood, and I spent the year after high school here studying at Neve Zion yeshiva [in Telz Stone]. I was one of those guys you used to see getting into trouble or hanging out on Kikar Zion in Jerusalem.

Playing heavy metal, you must run into fans occasionally who espouse anti-Semitic or neo-Nazi sentiments.

I’m incredibly defiant against neo-Nazis and skinheads.

In fact, here’s a true story that occurred in the band’s infancy when we were playing Southside Chicago clubs.

One of the guys who would come to see us was a skinhead, he had a swastika tattoo, the whole nine yards.

After he became a die-hard fan, the band was sitting down having drinks after a show and he comes in and starts going on about niggers and Jews, and I interrupted him and said, “Dude, I don’t know if you realize this but I’m Jewish.”

He responded, “You’re Jewish! This completely changes my whole idea of what a Jew is supposed to be.” And soon after that, he had his swastika removed, and denounced the skinhead culture.

I’ve always been very proud of my heritage and where I come from, and I’ve defended it to the extent of being bloodied on many occasions. In fact, most of the fights I’ve been in my life – and there have been many – have been because I was defending my family or my faith. And I don’t apologize for it.

There’s still anti-Semitism everywhere, and unfortunately, what has happened with our people no longer being the underdogs in this region, peoples’ perception of Israel has changed dramatically. I find myself more and more having to defend us, and I will continue to do so.

I wrote a song on our latest album Asylum called “Never Again” about the Holocaust and the people who deny it, like Ahmadinejad, that piece of shit. And part of our live show includes a video presentation depicting him as the new Hitler. Believe you me, I’ve always been direct about hits, I never pull any punches and I will never apologize for who I am or where I come from.
The lyrics for Never Again:
Never again, never again

They have a frightening desire for genocide
They wouldn’t stop til what what was left of my family died
Hell-bent on taking over the world
You couldn’t hide in the shout of conformity
We can’t forget how we were devastated by the beast
And now we pleaded with the captors for release
We were hunted for no reason at all
One of the darkest times in our history
All that I have left inside is
A soul that’s filled with pride
I tell you never again
In a brave society
Didn’t end up killing me
Scream with me, never again
Not again

A generation that was persecuted endlessly
Exterminated by the Nazi war machine
We will remember, let the story be told
To realize how we lost our humanity
You dare to tell me that there never was a Holocaust
You think that history will leave the memory lost
Another Hitler using fear to control
You’re gonna fail this time for the world to see

All that I have left inside is
A soul that’s filled with pride
I tell you never again
In a brave society
Didn’t end up, killing me
Scream with me, never again
Not again

All that I have left inside is
A soul that’s filled with pride
I tell you never again
In a brave society
Didn’t End up killing me
Scream with me, never again

For the countless souls who died
Their voices fill this night
Sing with me, never again
They aren’t lost, you see
The truth will live in me
Believe me, never again

And if you want to listen to it, go here.

(h/t Greg)