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Disturbed’s Dan Donegan: We Keep That Mentality of ‘When We Were Garage Band’

Adam Bettcher, Getty Images

When Chicago metal outfit Disturbed set out to record their fifth LP, they had no preconceived ideas about how they wanted the new songs to sound. If you ask guitarist Dan Donegan, the guys simply “write music for ourselves” and rarely worry about the outcome.

“…I think we stay true to ourselves and keep that mentality of how we were when we were a garage band, making music for ourselves,” Donegan told Gibson Guitar.

“We made ‘Sickness’ in our garage,” he added, laughing. “So, we’re just fortunate that the songs and maybe the message and meanings behind them have connected with the fans.”

That no-frills approach worked, seeing that Disturbed’s latest album, ‘Asylum,’ is the band’s fourth consecutive No. 1 Billboard 200 release.

A good chunk of Disturbed’s success is thanks to Donegan’s keen attention to melody, which is often missing in heavy music genres.

Donegan wasn’t born a great player. That came after years of practice. He got his start — no joke — playing Motley Crue covers: “…the riffs were easy. I’m a self-taught player, so I started playing and teaching myself. It was a way for me to develop my ear. I think at one point, I knew every Motley Crue and Black Sabbath riff.”

Miss Disturbed’s killer performance at Rock on the Range this year? They’re on the road again this summer headlining the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, and the show reaches DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Mich., Saturday, Aug. 6. Listen to the Banana 101.5 to score tickets!

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