Disturbed’s David Draiman Praises Sam Smith’s Representation Of Rock Elements

The dwindling number of daring performances in the rock scene has been a matter of complaint for some time now, its reasons ranging from the fear of getting canceled to simply not wanting to attract bad press. However, as has it always been, a few musicians have stood up against these fears headlong. This was the case at this year’s Grammy Awards when Sam Smith ft. Kim Petras carried out a theatrical performance. Disturbed’s David Draiman addressed the criticisms the performance received in a recent interview with the Afternoon Program on 102.9 the Hog radio station.

Petras, a German singer-songwriter who identifies as transgender, performed alongside drag performers Violet Chachki and Gottmik dressed as demons, while Smith, who was born a male and identifies as a ‘gender nonbinary human,’ appeared in a bright red top hat with devil horns poking out of it during the final chorus.

While the duo won the Grammy for Best Pop Duo for their song ‘Unholy,’ several notable Republicans and conservative viewers voiced their displeasure with the performance and criticized the performers for encouraging the movement. Draiman addressed the criticism levied at both Smith and Petras.

He said that the ‘element of danger’ has been missing from many musicians nowadays, even going as far as pleading guilty for Disturbed doing the same at ‘certain points.’ He then went on to compare Smith’s ‘spectacle’ to what Mötley Crüe has been doing for years, or Gwar for that matter. Draiman regards the whole display as just ‘putting on a show.’

Here’s the full speech he gave while addressing the issue:

“I was pretty blown away by Sam Smith’s spectacle. That was impressive. That’s kind of what certain parts of what we do in our genre have been missing for many bands, and even us at certain points in time. That element of danger, that element of, ‘Here’s my middle finger. I’m putting it right in the camera for all of you, and doing this because I know it’s going to get a rise out of everyone. And that’s exactly why I’m doing it the way I’m doing it.’ And that’s rock and roll. Whether people recognize it or not, that is it — that is it. It’s impressive to see people push the envelope.

How much different is that in its own way, and in its own style and flavor and flair, than what Mötley Crüe has done for years? Or what a band like… Let’s go to the real opposite end of the spectrum, a band like Gwar and what they do. It’s a show, and they’re putting on a show, and they’re just figuring out a different way to piss people off and push people’s buttons. And he found it. And good on him, man, because [laughs] more people need to be pushing more buttons in a way that pisses more people off. People are almost begging for it at this point.”

Draiman believes that more musicians should find ways to anger the public or provoke them, even if it’s for just getting out a kick, as it’s the best tool that a musician can demonstrate the abrasive nature of rock and roll, advocating that such behaviors are embedded within its DNA.