The cynical will say ‘I bet they say that about every country’, but big overseas rock and metal bands just seem to sincerely love visiting our shores, despite the ridiculous distance they have to travel to get here. Bollocks to the cynical, you can really tell when someone is being sincere, it’s as much in their voice, in their tone, as it is in their words. When gun bass slinger John Moyer from massive American heavy rock/metal act Disturbed, heard this interviewer say ‘G’day mate, how ya goin’?’ at the start of our chat, it almost sent him into raptures about how much he loves our country and how much he is looking forward to coming back down under to tour.
Before a formal interview question had even been asked…
“I love that Australian accent,” he enthuses, “it just gets me excited about coming over there, we love going over there!”
The band are back in town this week for the first time since 2008, and for the very first time ever they bring their Music As A Weapon tour to our shores, even though the tour itself has been a regular part of their arsenal for the last 10 years. This means not only do we get Disturbed plus a quality support, we get a veritable feast of heavy rock and metal on this crushing bill, as it also features high profile American heavy acts Trivium, As I Lay Dying plus, thankfully, an Australian opener, Forgiven Rival.
“We’ve had great success going to Australia,” Moyer recalls, “this will be our third time going back there, and doing this type of tour when we go to multiple cities.
“Music As A Weapon is Disturbed’s tour, we own it,” he explains, “and we try to do it once an album cycle – in different territories, of course. The original versions of the tour, the first couple were only here in the ‘States, and I think Australia is the only place we’re taking it to internationally.”
The tour is also in support of their recently released fifth album Asylum, which came out mid-2010. It’s an album that breaks minimal new ground for the band, with Disturbed being the type of crowd pleasing heavy band that simply give their fans exactly what they want to hear. Moyer agrees, to a point: “I think it’s a natural evolution for Disturbed,” he explains, “we put out a record that our fans expect to hear from us... which is going to be the powerful rhythms, guitars, the blasting drums, the metal foundation of distorted guitars in the music we put out, with David’s (Draiman, the band’s aggressive frontman) very soul searching, real lyrics. Our fans also connect with what he puts down lyrically.
“But at the same time I think we’ve put out something that’s fresh and different. It definitely sounds like Disturbed, but the songs are different.
“We’re real fortunate that we’ve had some great success over the last 10 years,” he adds, regarding how the album has been received, both commercially and in a live sense. “We’ve had five albums that have all done very well, and we’ve had great singles off every record. So when we play live, we have to definitely play the older hits, the stuff that our fans like. We’re always going to play The Sickness, we’re always going to play Prayer, and Indestructible off the last record. So we only have so much space to put in new songs,” he nods.
“But currently I think we have three new songs in the setlist, and they’re going over great. I mean, Asylum, which is the title-track off the record and not an official single, we play it live and the audience sings that back so loud!
“So it seems to be well received; it’s not like we play the new stuff and the fans are waiting for the next song to come. The new stuff is doing really well, and we play Another Way To Die which is doing really well, and The Animal, which is doing really well too.”
Disturbed are one of the few bands bucking the global music trend of declining sales. For a heavy band to achieve sales in excess of 11 million and to be one of only three rock bands (along with Metallica and The Dave Matthews Band) in history to have four consecutive releases debut at number one on the US Billboard Top 200 album charts is a phenomenal effort, and testament to their ability to write simple (by heavy music standards anyway), ultra catchy heavy rock tunes that appeal to a broad audience. However, the band members spend minimal time reflecting on and reveling in their success.
“We all feel very fortunate about the success that we’ve had,” Moyer admits, “I think more than anything we look more towards the future to see what we can do to keep it going. Not just what we can do music-wise, but also what we bring to the show…We have a video production now in our show that we’ve never had before. So even fans that have seen us many times before over the years, we want to make sure that if they come see us again on a subsequent tour that we’re offering something new.”
Aussie fans can experience just how this works when Disturbed explode onto Australian stages this coming week.
DISTURBED bring their Music As A Weapon tour – with special guests Trivium, As I Lay Dying and Forgiven Rival – to Rod Laver Arena on Sunday April 24. Tickets from ticketek.com.au or 132 849. Asylum is out now through Warner.