Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Disturbed was formed in 1994 under the name “Brawl”. After recording three demos with the group, frontman Eric Awalt left the band. Guitarist Dan Donegan, drummer Mike Wengren and bassist Steve "Fuzz" Kmak auditioned for a new lead vocalist, and singer David Draiman answered their advert in the local music publication, joining the band in 1996. They subsequently changed their name to “Disturbed”.
1997-2000: The Sickness
In 1997, the band set out to record two three-track demo tapes, with the first featuring demos for the songs "The Game", "Down with the Sickness", and "Meaning of Life", and the second featuring "Want", "Stupify", and "Droppin' Plates." The artwork for the tapes also featured the first outing of their now well-known mascot, The Guy. Giant Records, a subsidiary of Warner Chappell, were impressed with the demos and went on to sign the band.
In March 2000, the band released its debut album, The Sickness, with Giant and Reprise Records. It launched them to stardom within the hard rock and heavy metal scenes, peaking at number 29 on the US Billboard 200 and eventually gaining five-times platinum certification from the RIAA in 2018. The success of the album, helped in part by its namesake lead single, lead the band to join as support for Marilyn Manson's 2001 European Tour.
In September 2001, Disturbed began production on their second studio album. In March 2002, David Draiman recorded the song "Forsaken," which was written and recorded by Korn's Jonathan Davis for the soundtrack to the film Queen of the Damned. That June, they released M.O.L. - a documentary that featured several music videos and live performances, as well as candid moments from their tours and studio time. September 2002 saw the release of Believe, Disturbed's second studio album, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. It featured the singles "Prayer", "Remember", and "Liberate," and was certified double-platinum by the RIAA in 2008.
2003 saw Disturbed tour as part of Ozzfest, as well as embarking on their own tour – Music as a Weapon II. Bassist Steve Kmak left the band after the tour was completed and was replaced by John Moyer, who currently remains their bass player.
2004-2006: Ten Thousand Fists
Ten Thousand Fists, the band's third studio album, was released on September 20, 2005 and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. It ranked at number one on Loudwire's 10 Best Rock Albums 2005 and was certified platinum in the US the following year. 2006 brought a US tour for the band in order to promote the album, which featured 10 Years and Ill Niño in support. They also headlined Ozzfest 2006, alongside System of a Down, Lacuna Coil, DragonForce, Avenged Sevenfold, and Hatebreed. A 2006 European tour was also planned, but was cancelled due to health issues with David Draiman's vocals. Another US headliner tour, titled Music As A Weapon III and featuring Flyleaf, Stone Sour, and Nonpoint, followed later in the year.
Disturbed released a new track titled "This Moment" on the soundtrack to the film Transformers in July 2007, and later that year they set to work on their fourth studio album, Indestructible.
"Inside the Fire," the first single from the album, was released in March 2008. For the following two months, the band toured the US with Five Finger Death Punch and The Art of Dying. Indestructible was released that July and became their third consecutive number one debut on the Billboard 200. That summer, they toured as part of Mayhem Festival alongside Slipknot, DragonForce and Mastodon. They also spent August and September 2008 touring Australia and New Zealand, followed by Europe in October and November, and the US in November and December. An iTunes-exclusive live album entitled Live & Indestructible was released on September 30, 2008.
In January 2009, the song "Inside the Fire" was nominated for the Grammy Award for "Best Hard Rock Performance". From March until May, the embarked on the Music as a Weapon IV festival tour, with Killswitch Engage, Lacuna Coil, and Chimaira also performing on the main stage. That March, they also released a cover of the Faith No More song "Midlife Crisis" on compilation covers album Covered, A Revolution in Sound.
2010-2011: Asylum and The Lost Children
March 2010 brought a re-mixed and re-mastered re-issue of The Sickness, which featured updated artwork and additional B-side tracks "God of the Mind" and "A Welcome Burden". They also released a cover of heavy metal band Judas Priest's song "Living After Midnight" for the Metal Hammer Presents... Tribute to British Steel album. That August, Asylum, the band's fifth studio album, was released. It became their fourth consecutive studio album to debut at the top of the Billboard 200 Chart, which had only ever been achieved two other bands: Metallica and Dave Matthews Band.
That summer, the group headlined the first annual "Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar" tour with Avenged Sevenfold, as well as Stone Sour, Hellyeah and Halestorm, among others. In October, the band's headlining US tour was cancelled due to Draiman developing a "serious throat condition". The following year, they embarked upon the Music as a Weapon V tour in 2011, co-headlining with Korn and guests Sevendust, In This Moment and Stillwell. They also headlined Mayhem Festival alongside Godsmack and Megadeth, and they also performed at Download Festival in the UK and co-headlined Rock on the Range Festival.
After completing their US tour, Disturbed went on hiatus in October 2011. The following month, they released a b-side compilation album, titled The Lost Children, featuring the single "Hell". They also released a box set of vinyl LPs featuring the band's five full-length studio albums called "The Collection" in April 2012.
On June 20 2015, Disturbed teased a return to music, revealing a new logo and a video of the band's mascot "The Guy" appearing to be on life support, still breathing, with a follow-up video of "The Guy" awakening from life support two days later. On June 23, officially announced the end of their hiatus and released the official music video for their new single "The Vengeful One" from their upcoming album Immortalized. Immortalized was released on August 15 and that day they performed their first show in four years at the House of Blues in Chicago. The album was their fifth consecutive number one debut on the United States Billboard 200 chart. They released the single "The Sound of Silence," a cover of the Simon and Garfunkel song, in December 2015, with an accompanying virtual reality experience via Littlstar.
In November 2016, Disturbed released the live album Live at Red Rocks. In January and March of the following year, they supported Avenged Sevenfold on their UK and European tour, alongside In Flames and Chevelle.
2018-present: Evolution and The Sickness anniversary tour
Disturbed were headliners of the 2018 Rockfest alongside Godsmack and Incubus. That October, they released their first album in three years, Evolution, preceded by the singles "Are You Ready" and "A Reason to Fight". They supported the release with the Evolution World Tour in early 2019, followed by a US summer tour, supported by Pop Evil and In This Moment.
In 2021, the band will embark upon a 31-date tour with Staind and Bad Wolves celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Sickness. The tour was due to happen in 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.