With DISTURBED returning to New Zealand shores in September 08′, the team here at NZRock have resurrected this interview from the archives. Originally published in the Volume #5, April 2006 issue of Missing Link Magazine – NZ’s 100% Rock / Metal publication. Here’s what DISTURBED’s drummer Mike Wengren had to say at a time when the band was touring on their ‘10,000 Fists album’
‘Ten Thousand Fists’ is a fine album and you’ve done exceptionally well with it. You must be pleased with the results.
“It’s definitely our favorite of the three. We love everything we’ve recorded and put out but as we progress both personally and musically we like to grow and this is definitely our favorite of the three. We like to think we took the best elements of ‘The Sickness’ especially the intensity and the rawness and the heaviness and we combined that with the melodic nature and musicianship of ‘Believe’. We added all those parts together and we grew upon that.”
How did it feel having the album go to #1 on the US charts instantly?
“It is definitely a dream come true, it’s amazing. We are very appreciative and very lucky to be able to achieve that sort of success but at the same time it is also a huge testament to the loyalty of our fan base. We have been off the road for a good two years in between the records and to show that they hadn’t forgotten about us by picking the CD up and making it #1 is a huge testament to their loyalty to us.”
How did you guys celebrate your success?
“We didn’t really have much of a celebration, we were out on tour just supporting the record trying to get back out and see everybody again. Like I said it was a good two years that we were off the road and we were just excited to get back out and not just play but also play all the new material for everyone.”
The major criticism of Nu Metal by the Heavy Metal traditionalists is a lack of guitar solos but Dan really let loose with the shreds on this album. Was that a conscious effort on his behalf?
“We have been encouraging Dan for years to show his talent. The music in the first two records didn’t necessarily lend itself to guitar solos – it just wasn’t something that felt like it was right. We knew he could shred with the best of them and we just thought that it was time to try to incorporate some solos on a few songs this time around and showcase Danny’s talent. Some of our biggest influences were BLACK SABBATH, JUDAS PRIEST and IRON MAIDEN. Guitar solos were very prevalent in music in those classic Metal days and we are sort of going back to our roots and paying homage to the bands that we respected and loved. So it’s sort of a tribute to them.”
Nu Metal was once considered a fad that wouldn’t last for very long but looking at how well ‘Ten Thousand Fists’ has sold the genre is obviously still going strong after all these years. What do you think the future holds for this style of Metal?
“Metal and Rock and whatever category you would like to come up with in the same vein, it has peaks and it has low points but I don’t think it will ever die. It may be a little quiet for a while but I think it is always going to come back. It seems like there’s always cycles to it. As far as Metal is concerned I don’t know if we even fit into the Metal category these days. I mean we definitely pay homage to the bands that we grew up with but we defiantly don’t sound like that and at the same time a lot of the Nu Metal bands like ATREYU, LAMB OF GOD and SHADOWS FALL and all those bands, we defiantly don’t sound like that either. So I don’t know if there is a specific place that we fit but at the same time we don’t necessarily care. We’re just happy playing our music and rockin’ out. We kind of like the fact that you can’t really put us in a specific category.”
So can we expect DISTURBED to be releasing albums for decades to come?
“I certainly hope so. We’ve been really fortunate to have the loyalty of our fans and as long as we continue to do our thing and put out the music that comes from our hearts then we can have a nice long career.”
One influential band you didn’t mention before was PANTERA. DISTURBED were big fans of that band and also of Dime weren’t you?
“Absolutely, we were big fans and good friends with Dime.”
You went on a few benders with him over the years I understand?
“That is definitely an understatement (laughs). We have definitely had a shot or two with Dime and Vinnie over the years.”
What are some of your best memories that you hold from your time shared with Dime?
“I don’t think the interview is going to be long enough for that one. The best thing about Dime was anytime you were around him he was always trying to make sure you had a good time. As far as our opinion is concerned, he was one of the best guitar players of all time, especially of his genre and he could have had a huge ego if he wanted but he didn’t. He was just a really sweet, down to earth guy and he just wanted to make sure that whenever he was hanging out with you that you were just having fun. He loved life, he loved people and he loved music.”
You guys did a cover of ‘Land Of Confusion’ on the new album and IN FLAMES covered the same song about a year or two earlier. Why did you pick the song?
“It actually turned out because we had two months to kill. We were waiting for our producer at the time Johnny K to finish up with a prior project so we started monkeying around with some cover songs and we thought it would be fun to just do it and rather than picking a song that’s already in the Rock genre. We thought that would be pretty easy, something that’s Rock turned into another Rock song is pretty much a no brainier. So by picking a more obscure song, something from the Pop genre, it wouldn’t be as expected for a Rock band to play it. At the same time it is not something that people would expect us to play so its kind of fun to tell people we’ve just performed a GENISIS song.”
John Moyer was credited for playing bass on ‘Ten Thousand Fists’ but he’s not listed in the band line-up. Is he a permanent member now?
“It’s been about a year now maybe a little bit longer since John has been in the band and at the time when he recorded the record he was not a full time member. He was just hired to record the album. Basically we had gotten out of a bad marriage the way we see it. Our old bass player Fuzz was in the band basically from day one and unfortunately like other marriages things turned sour. We just grew apart personally and we needed to separate ways but it wasn’t the best of breakups so we were just trying to be very cautious as to who we chose and make sure that he was the right guy. We wanted to date him a little bit before we put a ring on his finger (laughs). John did a great job. He came in and tracked the record and he’s in the band right now and we hope that he is going to be the guy for the rest of our carriers. He’s a great guy, we love him and he’s doing a great job and we will see how it goes down the road.”
What is John Moyer’s musical background?
“John used to be in UNION UNDERGROUND, have you heard of POWERMAN 5000? They sounded a lot like them. They toured on Ozzfest with us once and we did a tour with them beyond that. They were pretty good but then the band broke up and he needed a gig so he came and auditioned for us and he got it.”
John plays with a pick as opposed to finger picking. Did you have to adjust your playing at all to accommodate for his style?
“Yeah we were a little concerned about that at first but it was more a testament to John’s playing ability. I’m not saying anything to undermine his playing or the bass playing in general but bass wasn’t a key… how can I explain it… the syncopation between the kick drum and the guitar is really one of the key elements and one of the signature elements for the band and we had to pick the right guy who was going to come in and be able to find his place in between the guitar and the drums and John came in and did a great job.”
Do you still keep in touch with Fuzz at all?
“No unfortunately we haven’t had contact with him in a couple of years.”
You have also been confirmed for Ozzfest. Are you looking forward to that?
“Yeah we are very excited this time, this will be our fourth year doing it as we understand Ozzy is stepping down from the main headlining spot this year and I think he is only going to do five or six dates. He’ll do a few of them but not them all so it will be a great opportunity for us as Ozzfest veterans to step up to a co headlining spot with SYSTEM OF A DOWN. We’re really excited!”
Have you ever considered doing he Big Day Out tour?
You know we haven’t been invited. We would love to come over there and we’d love to be a part of it but for some reason the show’s promoters have not been interested and we have not been formally invited. We have had out people enquire into it but for some reason it just doesn’t seem to work out.
It’s great you guys are coming over to play gigs in Christchurch and Auckland though. Are you looking forward to it?
We can’t wait to come back there because we’ve only been there once. It’s been a few years and as far as we’re concerned that’s way too long.
Will you get a chance to check out New Zealand while you’re here?
We never know what the management and label has planned for us. I mean I understand there’s probably a day off in between some of the show but sometimes those are filled up with press especially since we dont get a chance to get there as often. We would love to get a chance to get out and see the countryside. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places we’ve been to. We will see if they give us any time to enjoy it HAHA! Last time we had one day off in Auckland. That was really amazing, we really took advantage of it. It happened to be during the America’s cup race so we actually chartered a helicopter that morning, we flew over the sail boat races and flew to a vineyard where we had lunch at this amazing cafe looking over the bay. It was beautiful – one of the most memorable moments of our touring lives ever.