Sometimes, successful hard rock bands can say things that are so outrageously stupid that I don’t even know where to begin to dissect their thought process. Here’s an excerpt from an interview that Disturbed frontman David Draiman gave during an interview with Billboard magazine regarding their hiatus:
“Many of those reasons are personal reasons, and many of those reasons have to do with the state of the music industry in general and the demise of hard rock and metal right now,” Draiman, who’s getting married in September, explains. “The industry is still in a state of reformation; it is on the verge of collapse, in my opinion. It’s a frightening time, and I think after 10 to 12 years straight of touring it’s just a good time for Disturbed to go away for awhile and wait for the Phoenix to rise from the ashes.”
Say what? “The demise of hard rock and metal”?! Sales for their most recent album and tour must have been disappointing. It’s hard to take a world-famous frontman whining about the state of the “industry” when bands with not even half of their fanbase size are flourishing now more than ever. Animals as Leaders‘ most recent headlining tour with Intronaut, Last Chance To Reason, Dead Letter Circus, and Evan Brewer sold out a handful of their shows, and so has Periphery‘s headlining tour in Australia. Granted, it’s not like AAL and Periphery are playing huge arena shows and practicing choreography like Disturbed are, which leads me to believe that David Draiman thinks Disturbed are too good to scale back operations. It’s either all or nothing?!
It’s a fact: the music industry is changing whether anyone likes it or not. Digital downloads are available at a few keystrokes, and people just don’t seem to feel the need to buy music anymore. The fact that Disturbed is bailing out instead of meeting the demands of the market leads me to believe that they’re in it for all the wrong reasons. Does the fact that they’ll never be able to make as much money off of anything they’ll ever write or have written since The Sickness bother them so much that they’re putting down their instruments? It certainly seems that way.
I’d be willing to bet that fans of underground music would be more willing to splurge on ticket sales, merch, and music than fans of mainstream rock music. There are much more dedicated fans putting themselves into a metal culture and lifestyle than any odd person who enjoys a Disturbed song when it comes on the radio. With this in mind, I’m going to take it with a grain of salt when the frontman of one of the highest grossing (so-called) “metal” acts out there says that metal is in demise, when it’s certainly more popular than it EVER was thanks to the growth of technology and the internet, where finding better music is easier than it used to be. Just because people don’t seem to care about Disturbed as much as they used to doesn’t mean the whole genre is in the shitter.
So yeah, maybe the whole major label “super rock star” cliche is done and over with, and Disturbed’s collective ego can’t take it. However, the real metal artists who put their time and effort into something real and ultimately humble and touring without the expectation that they’re going to be on the radio are still doing quite well. It’s not metal that’s in demise, it’s bands like Disturbed who are in trouble if they can’t adapt, and judging by the hiatus, it seems like they just can’t. If that’s the case, then ultimately, nothing of value was lost.