DISTURBED Guitarist: ‘We Just Write Music For Ourselves’

Anne Erickson of Gibson.com recently conducted an interview with DISTURBED guitarist Dan Donegan. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Gibson.com: Congrats on “Asylum” being DISTURBED‘s fourth consecutive #1 debut. Did you feel, as you were writing the album, it would do well?

Dan: To be honest, we felt that. We don’t second-guess what it is that’s working or what the fans or label or anybody else is expecting from us. We just write music for ourselves, and I think we stay true to ourselves and keep that mentality of how we were when we were a garage band, making music for ourselves. We made “Sickness” in our garage. [laughs] So we’re just fortunate that the songs and maybe the message and meanings behind them have connected with the fans. Every time we come out, we’re not going to release an album unless we feel that we’ve made something that topped what we did last time. Even though each album may have a slightly different vibe and everyone can pick a different favorite here and there, we’re not going to go into the studio and start recording unless we feel we have the body of work that’s ready to be heard.

Gibson.com: Would you say “Asylum” is a return to DISTURBED‘s signature, earlier sound?

Dan: Some of it. A lot of it we don’t really discuss in the writing process. We don’t discuss where we want to go with it, because we want it to happen naturally. We can’t just say, “This album needs to be heavier or darker.” We know our background and what we enjoy. A lot of it is just, pick up a guitar and start improvising and working on riffs, and once I get to the point where I’m ready to show it to the guys, then everybody starts putting their two cents in and putting their stamp on it, and it just kind of evolves from there. But we definitely had a little bit more of the old-school vibe on some of it — just a little bit more attitude with the riffs. Starting out with “Asylum”, the song itself is a throwback to old school. It’s the longest song we’ve written, combining the intro that we added on the front of it. The instrumental piece was just more of an experimental thing; it just developed. It created a vibe, and we felt it was a nice way to set up the song.

Gibson.com: DISTURBED are headlining the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival in July and August, leading a lineup of MEGADETH, MACHINE HEAD and so many others. Pumped?

Dan: Absolutely. It’s a killer lineup of bands, and we always love those tours, because you really have to step it up when you’re surrounded by so many talented musicians. It makes you hungry as a band. And I like being pushed like that all the time. You don’t want to be one of those bands who goes up there and just goes through the motions. I think when you’re surrounded by that kind of talent, you can’t be lazy. You have to step it up and make every time count, and it’s a great feeling to be there. Just being a fan of music ourselves, to be able to watch some of those bands on a daily basis is awesome.

Read the entire interview from Gibson.com.