DISTURBED frontman David Draiman — who comes from an Orthodox Jewish background and has some 200 relatives living in Israel, including his brother and grandmother — was interviewed by Revolver for the magazine's September/October 2010 issue. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
Revolver: Why did you write a song ("Never Again", off the new DISTURBED album, "Asylum") about the Holocaust?
Draiman: "Both of my grandparents on my mother's side were survivors of the camps. My grandfather was in Bergen-Belsen [in northwestern Germany]. He was on wheelbarrow duty carting the bodies to the crematorium. My grandmother was five or six years old when she was in Auschwitz [in Poland]. She survived on three separate occasions by crawling underneath the legs of the people behind her who were in line to the gas chambers. And after the third time, the camp was liberated. I've got other relatives who are survivors, and my entire mother's side of the family, save my grandmother and grandfather and a couple of their siblings, were completely wiped out. So I felt it was important to write about it because I realized that the last generation of survivors is about to be lost. And when you have animals like [Iranian President] Mahmoud Ahmadinejad out there saying the Holocaust never occurred, I felt it was important to write this song."
Revolver: What do you think of people like MOTÖRHEAD frontman Lemmy Kilmister and SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who collect Nazi artifacts?
Draiman: "That's super-duper taboo and offensive to me. I don't understand the fascination. It's the most provocative imagery that you can brandish, and that's why people utilize it. And if that's their goal, I guess they're achieving it, but just know there are going to be repercussions for that. SLAYER went onstage in Germany brandishing Nazi paraphernalia or Nazi symbolism and it hasn't been taken too well."
Revolver: Lemmy defends himself by saying he's just collecting pieces of war history, and that the evil people have the coolest-looking stuff.
Draiman: "I don't give a fuck who you are. If you're going to brandish Nazi symbolism, I'm going to have a problem with you because I don't understand how anybody could think it's OK to wear something on their body that symbolizes the annihilation and genocide of my people. I'm not OK with that and there is no excuse and there is no explanation."
Speaking to the New York Waste web site a few years ago, Lemmy stated about his Nazi collection, "I don't only collect Nazi stuff, I collect objects from all the 'axis countries.' Also from countries who aren't even mentioned anymore as former part of the axis. Like Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Hungary. OK, in the end, they all said, 'We're no Nazis' when they saw that the Germans were losing it. But five years before that, they went, 'Yeah!'"
When asked where he gets the objects he collects, Lemmy replied, "The USA is a great place for collecting that shit, 'cause the GIs took everything back to America. They took fucking warehouses full of uniforms, Mercedes staff cars. One guy shipped a Focke Wulf 190 fighter home in pieces and rebuilt it in America. Now he owns the only fucking FW 190 in the world. I used to buy a couple of things in Germany, but now you can't take anymore knives or things back home in a plane. And it's become more relaxed to buy stuff like that [in Germany]. There's five or six stores in Hamburg especially. They're advertising it. What's the point, anyway? It's not a nationalistic kind of thing, I mean, what the fuck are you gonna do? Pretend it never happened? There's airplane model kits of Messerschmidt 109 fighters. Shouldn't you touch them?"
On the subject of whether people should wear uniforms, Lemmy stated, "I'll tell you something about history. From the beginning of time, the bad guys always had the best uniforms. Napoleon, the Confederates, the Nazis. They all had killer uniforms. I mean, the SS uniform is fucking brilliant! They were the rock stars of that time. What are you gonna do? They just look good. Don't tell me I'm a Nazi 'cause I have uniforms. In 1967 I had my first black girlfriend and a lot more ever since then. I just don't understand racism, I never thought it was an option."