Disturbed, Finch Brawl Onstage At Rolling Rock Festival

Beef stems from threats made during interview two years ago.

A 2-year-old beef between Disturbed and Finch culminated in onstage fisticuffs at the Rolling Rock Town Fair on Saturday in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

As the revolving stage rotated to reveal Finch preparing to begin their set, Disturbed guitarist Don Donegan approached Finch guitarist Randy Strohmeyer and a scuffle erupted. As Strohmeyer's bandmates and members of their crew came to his aid, witnesses said, Disturbed singer David Draiman and their manager, Jeff Battaglia, entered the fray, and fists began to fly. Although no injuries were reported and no criminal complaints are expected to be filed, one Finch bandmember was swinging his guitar wildly and narrowly missed hitting Draiman over the head.

"Rolling Rock has a flawless reputation; there's never been a problem," said Lee Heiman, president of Track Entertainment, which produced the fifth installment of the festival. "No ODs, drug busts or anything, and then there's a fight onstage. Part of me says, 'This is rock and roll,' but I've been doing this 20 years and have never seen bands fight onstage."

When the smoke cleared, Finch resumed their set. Afterward, security walked them to their tour bus, which was then escorted off the premises to prevent further incident because Disturbed, their crew and members of Sevendust, who were also on the bill, were waiting backstage.

"By the time we got them offstage, Disturbed had a chance to rally their troops, including Sevendust and some of their roadies," Heiman said. "And then we would have a mob situation. They were out for blood. It was bad."

Donegan, however, said revenge wasn't the primary motivation behind the anticipated post-show showdown.

"We didn't want anything happening onstage, and so out of respect for security and the promoters, we got offstage," Donegan said. "We waited for them to come off, and if they wanted to explain themselves or finish it up, we were up for either one."

The bad blood between the bands stems from a 2002 interview in which Strohmeyer made disparaging comments about Disturbed and threatened Draiman's life.

"I'd shoot him in the f---ing head," he told MeanStreet magazine. "I'd rip his stupid little piercings out. They're just cheesy. It bums me out because their music is terrible, and what they're all about, it's just sh--. Hopefully, all that music will die out soon."

According to Donegan, he approached Strohmeyer only to ask why he made the threats.

"I can take anybody saying they don't like the band, but the second that the guy makes a statement that he wants to put a bullet in someone's head, I take it seriously," he explained. "If they weren't serious, why haven't they made any attempts in the past year and a half to clear the air or say, 'Hey, guys, it was all in good fun,' or 'It was a joke done in bad taste'?"

A Finch spokesperson could not be reached by press time, but one did post their side of the story on Finch's Web site: "While we were setting up, one of the members of Disturbed, Dan Donegan, was harassing us from the side of the stage. Before we were to play, Randy walked over to Dan to explain that the comments he made a few years ago were a joke, and to give him a friendly handshake. Dan proceed to assault Randy, and Disturbed's singer, David Draiman, attacked Mike Herrara (our drum tech), which caused a fight to ensue. We want everyone to know that Finch did not start this fight. However, we do not take kindly to being assaulted or having our lives threatened."

Donegan called that a skewed account of the events. He said there was no plan to ambush Finch, since only he, Draiman and their manager were involved. Donegan, his wife, his 8-month-old daughter and Draiman were on the side of the stage watching Three Days Grace at the time the stage rotated to reveal Finch. When the Finch guys saw them, Donegan said, they started pointing and giggling, and that's when he walked over for an explanation.

"If somebody thinks we planned on attacking them, why would I do it with my daughter there? David was walking his dog and holding a leash. Why would we do that when we're outnumbered three guys to their band and crew?"

Despite some message-board musings that this scuffle was the beginning of a genre feud, Donegan said it couldn't be further from the truth.

"I've seen some posts trying to twist this whole story into a new East Coast vs. West Coast, emo vs. metal thing," he said. "Just to clarify, this has nothing to do with any of that. This is a simple lesson learned in life that there's consequences to your actions."

Latest News