His face may not be as well known as that of Metallica's James Hetfield, but David Draiman, lead singer of US metal band Disturbed, heads one of the leading bands in the field. Disturbed's monumental success has risen even higher over the last few months with the release of their latest album Asylum.
In its first week, the album jumped straight into first place on the Billboard chart joining three of the band's previous albums, which also made the top spot. Sales were off the charts, fans screamed and critics raved.
But between the major concert tours, fans and millions of albums sold worldwide, Draiman, a 37-year-old born and bred Jew, found his own quiet corner in Israel. Following in the footsteps of his brother Benjamin, who lives in Jerusalem, his grandmother and "200 relatives in the holy land", Draiman visited Israel around 20 times and over the last few years has decided to make the visits more frequent.
Now he's here again for a three-week visit. For the first time, he is joined by his girlfriend, who he hopes to introduce to some of his favorite places. "First and foremost, the thing I love most about Israel is the fact that it's the only place where it's OK to be Jewish," he says with pride in a special interview with Ynet.
"The only place you can feel proud wherever you go, you have your people and your culture and there's nothing to fear. It's very different from how most of the world sees Israel from their TV screens.
"I love the direct connections to our history here," he adds, "I love how you can go skiing in the snow on the Hermon and go diving in Eilat. If you want to celebrate, then you have the Ibiza of the Middle East – Tel Aviv and if you want a little culture and history you have Jerusalem.
'I love direct connections to our history here' (Photo: Guy Assayag)
"I love so many things about Israel. You can't not feel something when you're here, there is definitely a spirituality that can't be felt anywhere else in the world."
And what are the chances that you'll move here?
"The truth is that one of the things I thought of doing on my visit this time around was looking into the option of buying real estate not necessarily to live here, because that would make things very complicated. My band is based in Chicago, so if I suddenly decide to make aliyah it would create all sorts of problems. But with the number of visits I make, it's definitely something that's worth checking out."
And what about a Disturbed gig in israel?
"It's something I've wanted to do my whole life. If god wants it to happen, we'll make it happen some day. I really hope we can make it here on our next tour. We're working on it."
I'm sure there are a lot of people who would be thrilled to see you on stage.
"I hope, it's a little hard to make that statement with confidence. Beyond the fact that people here tell me here and there that they love the band, I think I will be convinced when I can finally put on a show and the audience comes. That would be the real proof.
"Occasionally people recognize me when I walk down the street. Soldiers, yeshiva students and even girls from religious schools ask me for an autograph" he jokes.
"Some of them are just Americans that live here, so it's easier for them to recognize me, but it means a lot more when a Sabra approaches me," he says the word in perfect Hebrew, "when a male or female soldier asks me for an autograph, because they listen to my music and it makes them stronger. That's everything to me. That's huge."
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