Quick Stats: David Draiman, lead singer, Disturbed
Daily Driver: 2018 Tesla Model X (David’s rating: 8 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Other cars: See below
Favorite road trip: Chicago to Los Angeles
Car he learned to drive in: 1980s Ford Taurus
First car bought: 1980s Ford Taurus
When Disturbed lead singer David Draiman moved into a new home—in a new state—he also used the occasion to treat himself to a new car. He chose the 2018 Tesla Model X because it’s both fun and practical.
“This is my third Tesla—I’ve had two Model S’ before this. When we made the move from Austin, Texas, to Hawaii, we figured we would go down to one vehicle, as opposed to having one family-car daily driver and then one that’s a little bit more of a fun, speedy driver,” he says with a laugh. “We opted to try and just do everything all in one fell swoop with the Model X.”
Draiman loves the Model X’s acceleration and handling. “I love the intelligent nature of the car, I love that the OS keeps updating on its own, giving you new features. I love some of those new features on the Autopilot that came with the last update,” he says.
He only has a few issues with the car. “For whatever reason, part of their design is to do a complete glass roof that doesn’t have any regular sun visors. The sun visors in the Model X come from the side, and there’s supposed to be enough tint on that big piece of glass to protect you completely and save you from glare,” he says. “It does—sort of—but you still end up trying to use these visors that come from the side and trying to position them six ways to Tuesday to get it just right.”
The other thing he has an issue with is the Falcon Wing doors. “They’re really cool to look at, but they’re just not all that. They’re functional, and the sensors on them work great for the most part, but it’s just not the most convenient thing. Sometimes in low-level garages, it’s just real hard to get passengers in and out. It’s more aesthetic than it is functional, to be honest,” he says, laughing.
But Draiman loves the Tesla’s spaciousness. “I love the fact that we have extra space up front where there normally would be the engine compartment, and I love the integration of Google Maps and everything else that normally comes with a Tesla,” he says. “I’m a tried and true Tesla owner and supporter.”
Draiman got the Tesla because he believes in doing what he can for the environment.
“I’m a pretty strong conservationist. It’s not that gas was crazy expensive when I got my first Tesla … but the convenience of being able to just plug it in at home and never having to go to a gas station or wait in lines for gas again,” he says. “It’s more economical in terms of the money we spend energy-wise powering up the battery in the car versus what we would have spent on gas on a yearly basis; the difference is staggering.”
He also gives the Tesla high marks for performance. “With a combustion engine, you’re never going to get the kind of acceleration and torque that you get in electric. It’s just not going to ever happen. It’s pretty amazing, the launch in these things, whether it’s the Model X, or I had two previous Models S’, one was a P90D and the second one was a P100D,” he says.
Draiman recalls times he enjoyed in the Model S when he lived in Austin. “The 100D I had was the Ludicrous—it was 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds [or even quicker, in our case]. … I lived in a pretty affluent neighborhood there, and you’d have guys in their Lamborghinis and Ferraris, and they’d always be sizing me up in my P100D, and I’d smoke them every time,” he says with a laugh. “Tremendous satisfaction.”
Draiman also had other cars in Austin, which he sold when he moved. “She was my favorite baby, a ’69 Mustang GT 428 Cobra jet. That was my labor of love and my money pit,” he says, laughing. “I did all kinds of stuff to her: I put in a whole new updated transmission, sway bar, suspension, four-barrel Holley carb originally that I ended up converting to fuel injection, Hurst shifter, five-speed Tremec.”
Altbough the classic Mustang was a lot of fun, it was also expensive to maintain. “As you know, with most classic cars, and particularly restomods, they tend to continue to bleed you over the course of time. You get to the point where now I’m a family man and have my five-year-old and my wife, who doesn’t really like the smell of the gas and the car with those big-block engines—it’s almost unavoidable to a certain extent. I just didn’t really drive it as much as I used to, so I ended up selling it before I left Austin,” he says.
For now, Draiman is enjoying the one-car lifestyle. “For as often as I’m on the road during the record cycle, it’s silly to have a second car just sitting here collecting dust,” he says. “When I get home, we both use the same car. I don’t really have a whole lot of places to go without the family when I’m here, so we’re all in it together.”
Although a second car doesn’t seem necessary now, Draiman concedes that things might change down the road. “I think once we go off cycle again, I might consider something. I was actually looking very lustfully at the Tesla Roadster,” he says, laughing. “I don’t know if I can justify dropping a quarter mil on it. I’ll see.”
Draiman admits to being pretty levelheaded as far as his spending. “The first crazy amount of money I ever spent on a car was my second Model S. After all the bells and whistles and Ludicrous mode and everything else, it was about 140 grand, which is a lot for me,” he says. “And that wasn’t when I first got signed—that was only five, six years ago.”
Car he learned to drive in
Draiman learned to drive in his mom’s mid- to late-1980s Ford Taurus, he says, “way, way back in the day in Chicago.” He learned in a neighborhood known as West Rogers Park on the north side of Chicago.
“My father taught me to drive. He’ll always take credit for that, very, very proudly,” he says, laughing. “He’s a good driver. One of the reasons I’m actually as good at parallel parking as I am is because of my father and his little techniques that he showed me. My mom didn’t have a whole lot to do with teaching me to drive. In fact driving just simply isn’t her favorite thing in the world—she likes to avoid it as much as possible.”
When Draiman was in high school he bought the Taurus from his parents, with money he’d made working at jobs since he was 10. His first summer job was helping his father, who was in property management, by cleaning out old apartments.
“It was the most disgusting job you could possibly imagine because you’d go into these old apartments and it looked like a scene from The Omen or something—maggots, rats, festering, disgusting, decaying food, and human matter. You can’t even imagine how some people leave apartments when they go. It was my first large lesson in humility as a young boy,” he says with a laugh.
It was important for Draiman to make money while he was in school. “I had always worked in addition to going to school because having a car was something that was very, very important to me, once I was of age,” he says, adding that his parents sold him the Taurus for about $4,000.
But Draiman didn’t get to keep the car for as long as would’ve liked to. “I remember one time after I had learned to drive, that poor thing, I had borrowed the car to go over to some friends of mine who were having little bit of a party a mile away from the house. I parked it on the street, and when I came out of the party at about 11 o’clock at night, some truck had obliterated this thing. Half the car was gone, the left-hand side of the car was completely, no longer existing,” he says, laughing. “And I came out of the party, and my mouth went agape, and I looked at the thing, and I’m like, ‘How the hell am I going to explain this to my parents?’”
Photos of the band performing by Rafa Alcantara, studio photos by Travis Shinn.
The police came, and he filed an accident report. “I said, ‘Listen, I parked it right here, I didn’t do anything. Somebody came, and it must’ve been a large vehicle.’ They ended up finding the vehicle, but insurance companies can be pretty aggressive. Even if it’s not your fault when you’re that age, it’s somehow still your fault,” he says, laughing. “It was a source of contention.”
When he lost the Taurus, it took a while before Draiman bought another car.
“I was just psychologically damaged from the obliteration of the car,” he says, with a laugh, “because I had gone through so much to finally get it, and finally had it, and then it ended up getting destroyed. After the car was obliterated, I didn’t end up getting another one because once I graduated high school, I went to Israel to study in seminary for a year. It’s not like I could bring the car with me.”
He didn’t get another car until he was about a year into university, when he got a two-door Ford Explorer. “It was the smaller version back in the day; it wasn’t the four-door,” he says.
Favorite road trip
“I used to drive back and forth from Chicago to L.A. quite a bit,” Draiman says. “I used to stay in Chicago while the weather was still decent and then run away to one of my other properties in Los Angeles when it got cold.”
He drove to Los Angeles rather than fly because he was taking his beloved dog with him. “I couldn’t fly her at the time. She was a beautiful Akita named Lisa,” he says. “I still miss her terribly—she’s no longer with us, unfortunately. But I used to drive her through all kinds of weather back then, back before I was a conservationist.”
They drove in the Hummer H2 he had at that time. “The complete antithesis, the complete opposite, the yin and yang, the ultimate symbolic gas-guzzler before I went completely responsible,” he says. “The funny thing is, with that thing there was so much stigma attached to it, it didn’t really get much worse gas mileage than, say, a Yukon or any of the rest of those big SUVs, but it definitely got all the hate.”
One time at his condo, Draiman found something that had been left for him. “One of the other people in the building saw fit to leave a nice little note on the Hummer when it was sitting in the parking space: ‘Don’t you realize how ridiculous you look driving this gas-guzzler?’”
But what made the road trip between Chicago and Los Angeles so memorable was being with Lisa. “When the weather was decent enough, we’d have to make little pit stops for her to go do her business and for me to regain the strength. I usually did the trip in about two to four days, depending on the occasion,” he says.
He also enjoyed the beautiful scenery. “It was always great just having my little girl with me and seeing some of the sites. I used to always use Denver as a midway point, and going up into the mountains there is just gorgeous,” he says. “All these wonderful little places you can stop, little freshwater streams running right along the highway sometimes, really picturesque stuff. I always enjoyed that with her.”
Disturbed’s Evolution album and tour
Disturbed is on its European leg of the tour for its seventh studio album, Evolution, which ends in Athens on June 30, with a stop in Israel on July 2, before coming back to the States July 20 in Wisconsin.
“It’s very exciting. About 75 percent of the [tour] run is sold out already, which is great. We’re really looking forward to going back to Europe when the weather is actually decent as opposed to in the middle of winter when you don’t want to venture out at all,” Draiman says.
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Disturbed Ones! We’re returning to North America this summer! @PopEvil will be kicking off the tour with us in July, and @InThisMomentOfficial will be with us late July through October. Are you ready? Link in bio for tickets! #EvolutionTour
Being able to play around the world and perform in arenas isn’t something Draiman takes for granted. At times, he metaphorically pinches himself.
“Every night we have those moments. There’s a campaign that we’re doing right now for the single that is currently number one on Active Rock Radio, called ‘A Reason to Fight.’ It’s raising awareness for suicide prevention and addiction, and we’ve partnered with a national suicide hotline and a number of other entities.”
Draiman’s work isn’t just as a rock star. He also gets fulfillment connecting with his fans.
On this tour, for example, he recounts what has become a poignant moment for both the fans and himself. “One of my favorite points of the evening, there’s a point before we actually perform the song, we spend a little time reflecting on people we’ve lost, and we ask the audience if anyone has had any experience with addiction or depression, either themselves or in someone that they know or care about. And literally the entire arena every night raises their hands. And it’s this amazing moment of openness and understanding that always gets me—as Mike Myers would say back in the day—‘all verklempt’ tearing up,” he says. “It gets me every night, and I love being able to at least provide a safe space to people where they feel that they can at least be open enough to admit that they’ve had dealings with it and to understand that they aren’t alone and that there’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
Draiman sees his job on stage as a way to help lift others in the audience out of their daily lives. “Every night that we go up there for two hours, it’s all about taking people from their day-to-day and empowering people and giving them the strength to transcend the bulls–t they have to deal with on a daily basis. We love what we do.”
For more information about the tour and album, please visit disturbed1.com
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