Start by smoking a pile of cigarettes a day. I'm not talking Virginia Slims or menthols, I mean tobacco grits like General Patton used to grind into his pancakes. Like Chesterfields. Basting your battered throat in Wild Turkey is then a necessity, followed up by a thorough massage of your uvula with a fork. Excessive mucus drainage will help, like paint dripping off a roller, so repeatedly lick the doorknob at your local elementary school until you contract a cold or possibly the swine flu. The end result will be a gravelly, phlegmatic growl, fit to serve 3 to 4.

Only now may you actually be able to duplicate whatever sound that is that Disturbed's singer, David Draiman, makes on "Down with the Sickness."

You know you've tried it. A local radio station did a full television spot of people trying to channel their inner Draiman. From the daintiest girl to the biggest redneck at the bonfire, everyone has tried to imitate the "Down with the Sickness" throat thing. What gets popular in the music industry is often unpredictable. Sometimes it's really talented people like Maynard James Keenan. Sometimes it's Hollywood Undead. Few illustrate the phenomenon better than Disturbed, who stayed relevant five years longer than they should have because their biggest album opens with the graceful strains of a man hacking up a chicken bone.

Of course, the side cash that Draiman makes moonlighting as the host of a crappy "game" show, which the contestant loses all control over after making the first case selection, probably doesn't hurt either. "The banker says deal . . . or no ooooooh ah ah ah ah!"

Besides memorable throat tricks on singles and probably the tour bus, Disturbed's most important contribution to nu metal was the cover art on the album, "The Sickness." Even if you are the kind of outcast that eats moths for money or uses public transportation, you had to admit that the picture on the front of "The Sickness" was fucking strange.

Moments after this miracle of biology, anatomy, and believability occurred, Draiman's head was lopped off by the outboard propellers of a careless boater.
Adults giving birth to other adults is a concept that has been tried in futility by entertainers for years. A ketchup-covered Wee Man nearly got suffocated by a gigantic female human in "Jackass 2 1/2." Will Ferrell had better luck getting born on Saturday Night Live, but even then the only thing funny about the sketch was the concept, not the execution. The only time adult birth was truly funny was if you stuffed a WWF thumb wrestler inside of another's thumbhole, which was practically his oversized rubber grappling anus. The Hulk Hogan / Roddy Piper thumb wars were intense enough, but when one Hall of Famer births the other prior to their duel, even the great Gorilla Monsoon can't verbally paint that picture.

Enter "The Sickness." A man, who I presume is Draiman, is entering this post-Willenium world out of a manatee's birth canal. This isn't what bothers me. What makes me squirm is that not only is this a manatee / David Draiman birth, but it's the driest manatee / David Draiman birth in the history of manatee / David Draiman births. Almost every natural human function involves moisture. From digestion, to intercourse, to dippin' Beech Nut, the human body has an uncanny way of creating its own Quaker State to keep chafing to a minimum. Whenever and however Draiman came out of this sea cow womb, the picture suggests the process was bloody, flaky, and rigid. Forget his throat noises, Draiman's transspecies desert birth rivals Fieldy's solo album as the greatest accomplishment in nu metal.

Between this itchy miracle of biology and the throat theatrics of the lead singer, there is no way that any song but "Down with the Sickness" would be Disturbed's representation of nu metal.

Down with the Sickness --- The Sickness --- 2000

The Song

It's stupid shit like this that has always made me loathe David Draiman. There isn't a metal fan in the world that thinks this is cool, and if they do, then they are probably Avenged Sevenfold fans.
This is your dime-a-dozen radio rocker basted in Year 2000 gravy. The lyrics are boring. "Get up, get down with the sickness" means absolutely nothing. They are buzz words that carried early century cachet. Toss them together, form a sentence that makes quasi-sense in English, and you now have your chorus for the radio.

Despite the paint-by-numbers nature of the song, and the void of any creative pride, I don't hate this as much as the current songs riding the template du jour. In 2000, you sang about getting down with stuff that was counter-culture -- the sickness, thugs, herpes. In 2011, you gratingly warble about your bad slut girlfriend. Thanks, Buckcherry. Looking at you, Saving Abel. As far as formulaic rock radio goes, you can go worse than Disturbed's biggest hit.


Bands have been putting Easter eggs onto albums since the beginning of time. The Beatles made the world think Paul was dead. Green Day pioneered the hidden track. Papa Roach has trickily hidden any sign of talent on seven straight albums.

While not a true Easter egg, Disturbed certainly had an interesting domestic violence surprise for their customers. Unless you bought "The Sickness" (or are on,) it's likely you don't realize what the extended version sounds like. I remember listening to this album for the first time after purchasing it, and being aghast at the tirade he launches into about his "mommy." I expected weirdness with the throat but I didn't expect this album surprise. I understand Draiman's seafaring mother birthed him in a womb as wet as my Grandfather's catcher's mitt, but this would have been better settled on Maury.

(Sic) Lyric

I don't need this shit
You stupid sadistic abusive fucking whore
How would you like to see how it feels mommy
Here it comes, get ready to die

Believe it or not, they cut this out on the Q98 version.

The Video

Disturbed (or more accurately, their label) has disabled embedding for almost all videos of this song on YouTube. Thus, you get stuck with this weird slideshow of other bands and anime. The real video is simply Disturbed performing at some show. Unless your band is GWAR, it's hard for me to comment either positively or negatively on a straight performance video. I guess the thing that stands out to me is that other than Till Lindemann, David Draiman has to be one of the most unlikely Jews on the planet. But lo and behold, he really is a keeper of the ancient faith. Besides breaking all of the non-hateful Jewish stereotypes (unless his real name is David Draimanstein), he also is the most violent Jew since Adam Sandler in the Waterboy. Remember that time that Bobby Boucher came back at halftime and the Muddogs won the Bourbon Bowl? © 2011
Dedicated to The Stick