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Before vocalist David Draiman joined Disturbed, they were known as Brawl. Brawl's lineup consisted of vocalist Erich Awalt, guitarist Dan Donegan, drummer Mike Wengren, and bassist Steve "Fuzz" Kmak. Before changing their name to "Brawl", however, Donegan mentioned in the band's DVD, Decade of Disturbed, that the name was originally going to be called "Crawl"; they switched it to "Brawl", due to the name already being used by another band. Awalt left the band shortly after the recording of a demo tape; the other three members advertised for a singer. They posted an advertisement in the local music publication in Chicago, Illinois, called the "Illinois Entertainer". Draiman answered the advertisement after going to twenty other auditions that month. Guitarist Dan Donegan commented on Draiman: "You know, out of all the singers that we had talked to or auditioned, he [Draiman] was the only singer who was ready to go with originals. And that impressed me, just to attempt that".
With regard to Draiman being the new singer for the band, Donegan said, "After a minute or two, he just starts banging out these melodies that were huge...I'm playing my guitar and I'm grinning from ear to ear, trying not to give it away that I like this guy, you know, because I don't want to, you know...[say] 'Yeah, we'll give you a call back. We'll, you know, discuss it.' But I was so psyched. Chill up my spine. I'm like, 'There is something here'." As drummer Mike Wengren commented, "We clicked right off the bat." Draiman then joined the band in 1996 and the band was renamed Disturbed. When asked in an interview why he suggested to name the band Disturbed, Draiman said, "It had been a name I have been contemplating for a band for years. It just seems to symbolize everything we were feeling at the time. The level of conformity that people are forced into was disturbing to us and we were just trying to push the envelope and the name just sorta made sense."
After renaming the band, Disturbed went on to record two 3-track demo tapes, the first having the demos for "The Game", "Down with the Sickness", and "Meaning of Life", with the second having the demos for "Want", "Stupify", and "Droppin' Plates". The artwork was composed of the band's recently created mascot, The Guy. The band eventually signed with Giant Records. In 2000, the band released its debut album, titled The Sickness, which launched the band into stardom. The album peaked at number twenty-nine on the billboard. Template:Allmusic |title=Disturbed > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums |publisher=Macrovision |accessdate=March 6, 2009 |work=Allmusic}}</ref> and it has sold over four million copies in the United States since its release. Before joining Marilyn Manson's 2001 European tour, bassist Steve Kmak was unable to play with the band due to a shattered ankle, caused by falling out of a fire escape outside Disturbed's rehearsal hall in Chicago. He took the fire escape to exit the building while the elevator was being used to move their equipment downstairs. Kmak skipped the European trek of the tour, but he did perform with the band on January 11 and 12, 2001 at Disturbed's show in Chicago. During the European tour, Marty O'Brien replaced Kmak until he was able to tour again.
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