With four number one albums to his credit and over 14 million units sold worldwide since 2000, Disturbed's Dan Donegan has made his mark on the hard rock/metal guitar-playing community in a surprisingly short time.
“Whenever I hear from somebody who compliments my guitar playing and cites me as an influence, it’s kind of overwhelming," Donegan says. "It’s incredibly flattering when I run into kids and they tell me that they picked up the guitar because of me. I think back to how I felt when I was learning the guitar, and I had my heroes and their albums to learn from. To even imagine that I’m now part of that cycle, handing down the guitar to a younger generation, it’s humbling."
With Disturbed currently on hiatus, Donegan recently formed a new outfit called Fight Or Flight, which also includes singer Dan Chandler, bassist Sean Corcoran, guitarist Jeremy Jayson and Disturbed's Mike Wengren on drums. The band's full-length debut, A Life By Design, will be released on 23 July.
As to how he approached his guitar playing with Fight Or Flight, Donegan says that he wanted to stretch out a bit and get out of his comfort zone. "It was more of a psychological thing than a concerted technique thing," he explains. "What really helped was the fact that Dan Chandler is a very musical guy and plays a bit of guitar, too, so that allowed me to come at the guitar parts in ways that were different from what I do in Disturbed."
Hit albums such as The Sickness, Believe and Indestructible have given budding axe slingers plenty of guitar meat to chew on, and on the following pages, Donegan runs down what he considers to be 10 essential guitar albums that have influenced his own playing (listed alphabetically by artist).
“It’s important to learn from your influences, but you should always try to be yourself," he stresses. "That’s what I’ve done by listening to the classic bands – I emulated for a time, but then I put my own spin on what they did.”