My Dad and I had moved to the island community of Jamestown, Rhode Island, just in time for me to start eighth grade. He would teach in the same school I attended, though he did not teach my grade nor did I have his class. The close proximity was awkward and provided tension as often as it did time to bond. That year featured many periods where my resentment of his house rules intensified the tensions between us. This would serve as a catalyst for my final conversion from country music to harsher, harder melodies.
Before school started, we formed a habit of playing the radio whenever we drove. Since he could not stand country, and even I was beginning to tire of it, we tuned to the 94 HJY rock station. It was there that I first heard one song by the band that would become my eternal favorite.
They were a band from the city of Chicago named Disturbed. They referred to their music as metal, though most people classified them as hard rock. The song I heard on the drive up Narragansett Avenue that afternoon was “Indestructible,” whose very first power chord grabbed me and never let go.
The song begins with ominous sirens amidst the sounds of warfare. Suddenly a vicious, rhythmic onslaught of power cords from Dan Donegan’s guitar rises above the chaos. The chords are punctuated periodically by a sharp intake of breath from vocalist David Draiman. The verse swings in with Danny picking notes in a steadily marching rhythm, complemented by heavy rumblings from John Moyer’s bass. It is here that David gives voice to the first words of the song. Singing from the perspective of a soldier in battle, he verbally illustrates his dedication to his mission and issues a grim warning to his opponent. Mike Wengren’s drums pick up their assault, more power chords are pumped out by Danny, and David’s staccato chorus issues an aggressive declaration of his own invincibility. David ends the chorus with a dark, threatening call to his adversary. He commands them to look around, so that they may see all the foes he has vanquished just before he delivers them to the same fate. After a fierce and energetic solo from Danny, the final chorus ends and slams out one last power chord that slowly fades away.
It would be safe to say, without exaggeration, that this song was my sole inspiration to not just run, but run fast. My exposure to this song conveniently coincided with me joining a cross-country team for the first time. I soon learned that the fire and brimstone of songs like “Indestructible” were potent fuel for training. After this experience, I emphatically threw the entire country genre, previously beloved, right out the window. Years of worshipping this band have caused Draiman’s powerful voice to permanently burn itself into my brain. And this song was only the beginning.