liveDaily recently conducted an exclusive interview with DISTURBED guitarist Dan Donegan. An excerpt from the chat follows:
liveDaily: Why do you think guitar solos aren't as prevalent in music these days?
Dan Donegan: "I don't know. Ever since the grunge days and this alternative thing, there hasn't been a whole lot of soloing going on. Early on, when we first formed, we had a lot of guitar solos in all the songs. As we were developing, our songwriting — for me, personally — was starting to become more influenced by bands like SOUNDGARDEN, ALICE IN CHAINS. SOUNDGARDEN, especially, really didn't have any solos. Every so often, they would do something. It was more about the riffs and the grooves. I like the way that was. That's where our earlier stuff was going, instead of branching off in solos. It was trying to branch into another musical piece, a riff that would take you in another direction.
"Maybe there's a lack of talent out there, too. [laughs] There probably [aren't] many kids that can play it, I guess. There's a lot more coming out that are starting to shred a lot more. A lot of these hardcore bands like SHADOWS FALL, ATREYU, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, they've got some great guitar players. They're all strutters and quick players. I think the school that I come from is mainly trying to do stuff that's tasteful, not trying to show off for 20 or 30 seconds of a song. I'm trying to do something more along the lines of what Jerry Cantrell [of ALICE IN CHAINS] did, very tasteful. He did what felt right for the song. There were very melodic and memorable solos. Just growing up as a kid, I liked playing air guitar to my favorite guitar players and [it] needed to be something melodic that made you want to act like you were playing it yourself. It's kind of hard to do it if it's all speed, fast playing. I admire the guys that do it and do it well. I have more respect for the players like Jerry Cantrell that do it tastefully."
liveDaily: "Ten Thousand Fists" is much more aggressive than your previous albums. Would you agree?
Dan Donegan: "Probably. When we got together and started throwing around the ideas, I just started bringing out some old riffs I used to play. 'Guarded' and 'Decadence' are pretty much straight-up, aggressive tracks on the album. Those were the first two ideas I had come up with. That set the tone right off the bat of it being a little bit more aggressive at times. Out of 19 songs that we tracked — 14 going on the album — that's a lot of material. We try to give every song its own identity. We don't want to fall in the rut of being a repetitious-sounding band. We don't want every song to sound like 'Down with the Sickness' or 'Prayer'. It's got to be a creative mood. It's got to be its own thing."
liveDaily: The album also carries a theme of politics and religion.
Dan Donegan: "David, he's got a lot of opinions. He's an intelligent, well-spoken guy, well educated. He's got a lot of strong opinions. It's not necessarily him forcing his opinion; it's him expressing his feelings on certain issues. I don't think he's ever going to write a song that's about teenyboppers falling in love. I know he always likes to refer to those love stories as 'riding off on their skateboards into the sunset together.' I don't think he's ever going to be writing those kinds of lyrics. He's a very intelligent guy with a lot of issues — world issues, political issues, religious issues, relationship issues. These are adult topics. The kids can relate to it too, but we're all adults. He's got topics that strike a chord with him, ones that he wants to get a release on and speak about."
Read the entire interview at www.livedaily.com.