When my heavy-metal friends disclosed their secret pasts, it was a series of revelations: although they were muscly, pierced and dark-alley-nightmare-looking, when they told stories of their childhoods, each was nerdier than the last. Now, Spin Magazine reporter Mordechai Shinefield uncovers the newest of the nü-metal fans’ deep dark secrets: they’re ex-yeshiva boys.
Elie Hassan and Brian Brown, both 21, graduated from Baltimore’s Ner Israel, where kids in their dorm sometimes snitched on the pair for indulging their nonkosher music habits. “I would say that 30 to 40 percent of our class knew about [lead singer] Draiman and had heard Disturbed,” says Brown. Now college roommates at the more liberal Yeshiva University in New York, they’re free to enjoy the band in relative peace.
That’s right: David Draiman, the lead singer of Disturbed, grew up in the yeshiva system – he attended five schools, and was kicked out of three of them. It’s no surprise to the band’s fans (or rubberneckers) – Draiman has repeatedly thrown Hebrew words, Jewish concepts, and knowing winks to the haredi subset of his audience – but writing lyrics like “Elokai, bury me tonight” is probably not what got Draiman ejected. (Blowing up the rosh yeshiva’s car, on the other hand, might have.)