Early one cold morning, I parked my car in the driveway and stayed put. I had a million things I needed to do, a post-workout shower chief among them, but I sat still, trapped by the extraordinary beauty of a song. I didn’t even want to think about unbuckling my seat belt until the last lovely strains had faded into the frosty dawn.
I ran into the house, pulled it up on YouTube, and played it for my sleepy family.
Disturbed’s Sounds of Silence still has that effect on me. I stop what I’m doing when I hear it randomly and listen. I seek it intentionally when I need a boost.
I am listening to it right now.
I am now a David Draiman fan. I know, for instance, that he once trained as a Hazan and, consequently, I’ve learned that a Hazan is a Jewish cantor.
I know that, while Draiman graciously welcomes oddball fans like me, he and his band don’t really need us. Their last five albums all hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts. I know he studied in Milwaukee and earned a degree from Loyola University in Chicago.
I know that I’m gushing, but I really can’t help it.
Here are four things I really love about Draiman’s version of the Sound of Silence:
1) I love the respectful attention Draiman gives to each phrase. He talked about how he relates to the lyrics in an interview with Blabbermouth.net. “With that song in particular, that opening line, ‘Hello, darkness, my old friend,’ always resonated with me so, so tremendously,” he said. He amplifies the message of a gifted songwriter and that’s hard to do. And, speaking of the songwriter…
2) When Paul Simon complimented his performance on Conan, Draiman was unabashedly thrilled. He posted screen shots of the text, and responded with glee. ““When the original songwriter himself gives his blessing and compliments you on what you’ve done, when our entire intention was to pay homage to one of the most prolific and gifted songwriters of all time, it’s truly overwhelming and incredibly surreal, and a very big shock. We couldn’t have hoped for a more positive outcome. It’s wonderful knowing that he loves it,” he told Tabletmag.com.
3) He is confident enough in his brand and his unique catalogue that he isn’t threatened by mainstream radio play. In fact, he welcomes it. “We really couldn’t be happier. We welcome anyone and everyone to the fold, and it’s just great to know that the emotion and the style of this particular version of this song is affecting so many people,” he said in an interview with Fuse.TV. Since that morning I discovered the band, I’ve listened to many of Disturbed’s songs. And, while I won’t be belting out Stupify in the shower any time soon, I do respect the passion.
4) At 43-years old, he took a risk and discovered a level of talent he wasn’t sure he still had. He describes tearing up as he listened to his version of the Sound of Silence for the first time. “It had been so long since I have allowed myself to go to that place vocally, and hearing it, and hearing it come out as well as I thought it did was not just gratifying, but like having a weight lifted off me. So it was an unbelievable experience for all of us. And that people are connecting with it in the way that they are is just simply amazing.”
If you haven’t done so yet, take a moment or two and listen to Disturbed’s version of Sound of Silence.
I’m thrilled that such a fine example of creative collaboration — between the songwriter and performer, between the singer and his band, and between Disturbed and its growing fan base, exists in this world.
Here is the live performance on Conan that caught Paul Simon’s eye. I loved it too.