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Down With The Sickness by Disturbed

Album: The SicknessReleased: 2000
  • This is about how society treats people who are "different." A lot of people think they are "sick" and "wrong" and want nothing to do with them.
  • In the middle of the song, David acts out a skit where he is being abused by his mother (not in the radio version). Finally, he builds up enough courage and hits her right back. This is used to symbolize how "mother society" abuses "her" children for not being the way "she" thinks they should. "She" keeps doing it until "her" children get sick of it and are so angry with her and themselves they go out and get revenge for it, most likely by killing the people that hurt them ("here it comes, get ready to die!") A good example of this would be the school shootings that go on around the country.
  • Getting "Down With The Sickness" means accepting people for who they are so we can all function better. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Nick - Paramus, NJ, for all above
  • This was used on the soundtrack to Queen Of The Damned, one of Aaliyah's last movies.
  • Two versions were used in the remake of the movie Dawn Of The Dead. The first, a pop-jazz cover, was performed by Richard Cheese And Lounge Against The Machine. The second version, the one that appears uncensored on Disturbed's album, was played during the credits. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Sam - Champaign, IL
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Comments: 79

Powerful song with a powerful video. I think the fact that "Weird Al" Yankovic used a section of this song in his "Angry White Boy Polka" should be added to the song facts. He performed all of the songs polka style, and strung sections of the videos from all of them together. Brilliant! That polka was on his CD "Poodle Hat," which came out in 2003. More recently, the "oh wah-ah-ah-ah" sound could be heard every time Al hit the button on Chris Hardwick's show @midnight on Comedy Central. This was on 2/14/17. It never got old!Patti - Michigan
I know exactly what this means. I was beaten all my childhood by my mother and the sickness is the anger built up over time. Having my head banged against a wall, hair pulled out, black eye, beaten until I crawled under a table where she couldn't get to me. No help came for me. Anger was beaten into me and I have spent my life trying diffuse the anger.John - Oh
I love this song - so dark and demented just like me.Zack - Noblesville, In
Personally, I think "the sickness" is the actual torturing of the people who are "different." I mean, it says "I can see inside you, the sickness is rising," and I don't see how that could relate to "the sickness" being the people who are "different." I think "the sickness" also represents the rage that is depicted in the "abuse" section. So, the person is saying to himself "get down with the sickness" and go off on all the people who have tortured him/her.Jacob - Jackson, Tn
Why can't we all just get down with the sickness???Trenton - Oklahoma City, Ok
I read somewhere in an interview with Disturbeds singer David Draiman that this song is about child abuse from the victims perspective.Frank - Waterbury, Ct
This song is on Rock Band 2, but if you are on vocals, you don't sing the abuse segment. You just play a bunch of percussion notes.Ryan - Anahola, Hi
I heard from a friend that while the meaning on this site is correct, it was also about David Draiman's parent's reaction to his being satanic.Gabe - New York, Ny
I see a lot of people like this song. I do, too, and, like most of Disturbed's music, it inspires me at an emotional level. A god way to vent your frustrations is to listen to this song.

I see two possible meanings:

It could be demonstrating how society mistreats those who are "imperfect." Many are abused, ridiculed, or even shunned because they don't "fit in."

It could also be revealing the emotional strains of the mistreated. They will just let the abusive actions take place until anger consumes them, and retaliation would insue because of it.
Matt - Tylersburg, Pa
This song has so powerful lyrics to it. It makes the point of retaliation against people who push and shove and then they seem all shocked when the person they were abusing snaps back and beats them down orkills them in blind rage. the skit part about the son acting against his momma is powerful cuz it shows that people caan retaliate against anyone including they're closest family. The best way to use this song is to summarize the people who kill in blind rage like school shootings or people finding their spouses cheating on them and going beserk. it shows just how anyone can be driven over the edgePaul - San Benito, Tx
This song was in the older movie, The Queen of The Damned. Me and my sister, May, love this song so much!Sam - San Diego, Ca
DISTURBED RULES!!!!!! Every time I hear down with the sickness I think of the anime Bleach, since tha main character has something like a demon inside of him. Anyway, this band ROCKS!!!!Rachel - Marshall, Nc
In the 1997 movie "Suicide kings" Dennis Leary plays the part of a mob bodyguard. He has a scene where he talks about his mother having "the sickness", from the rest of the dialog you get that she was physically abusive. That phrase didn't originate in the movie, but that is what the title refers to. Great tune.Brian - Philadelphia, Pa
I always thought of "down with the sickness" as after taking so much eventually you snap and dish it back to the ones who put you through hell so you end up (even if its just for a few seconds) just like them doing the same things they do only for revenge... And it totally fits with the zombie/vampire metaphor b/c its like theyve poisioned you and you turn into one of them... Anyway this song gets me pumped & ready 2 f**k someone or something up (which is unusual if you know me lol).Jennifer - Liberty, Sc
Down With The Sickness is really really good, ALL of my friends think that i am a Emo/gothic/demon thing. They ignore me completely! I think they are all retards for thinking the way they do. I only get respect from some. the others well,they think i will (cruse there souls and bring them down to hell or something)?/ thats what they said btw.Gabby - Or,
I'm gonne tell the truth of this song...IT HALF SUCKS!!!!!! I mean, I do love it cus the music and the rythim is just awsome, it gets me motivated for competitions and stuff, but the lyricks are awful Not all of it, but the whole skit thing and the beating up of mother is just AWFUL!!!! I hate the thought of a son beating up his mother, for whatever reason. A mother is the one the nurtures you and brings you into this world. A bark is worse than a bite. Of course, not EVERYONE feels that they're mother does so much for them , but still ITS AWFUL AND A BITCH TO HEAR. Other than that, its fun to listen to, I like to relate it to my dysfunctional character that I created, its pretty darn catchy, but no abusing mommas!!!!!!!!Zuko - Rancho , Ut
This group pumps me up and gives me the edge i need to start my day off right LOL.Nicholas - Erie, Pa
the part with the mother abusing the child: when he yells at her and then hits her, don't we all just wanna do that at some point?Lilly - East Meadow, Ny
The skit in the middle is the best. One of my favorite songs on this cd.Monique - Fresno, Ca
FIRST OF ALL! DISTURBED IS KICK ASS AND EMILY FROM MANCHESTER IS RETARDED! Second of all, i always thought this song was about someone who would do anything for love and that she doesnt love him back inspite of that. So he is saddened with the "Sickness" and the skit is basiclly saing how he wants to bring her down with him now and is prepared to hit her if he has to, which in the end he does. (they used the mom to son relationship because mom and son should always love each other no matter what... but these 2 obviously dont...) Third, This song got me addicted to metal and disturbed! And finnaly, this song touched me in a way no other song has and i give disturbed lots of "kutos" for that!Zach - Buckeye, Az
I always thought this was about somebody who was going crazy and the lyrics describe what it feels like to have a break in reality.J.r. - Crowville, Wa
I lol @ the skit thing in the middle.Tony - Crown Point, In
Oh...and the "oh wa a a a" part is pretty awesome too...Nicole - Chicago, Il
This song has an awesome chorus! I think it's the best part of the song, aside from the opening guitars.Nicole - Chicago, Il
just read a comment bout wat they stated bout they are sounding like nirvana who eva thinks that u are seriously mistaken they sound nothing like nirvana. Disturbed is more heavy metal. nirvana is to soft. and this song rockzzzz. just like all their music.
C frm UK
Chantal - Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
This song, along with I think Ever Be by Korn reminds me of Resident Evil...Kaila - Vandalia, Oh
oooo ha ah ah ahCooper - North Salt Lake, Ut
Firstly, the drums are so crazy in this song. Beginning drummers should aspire to play this song. Disturbed is such a bad ass band, and this song got me hooked onto them, and Disturbed got me hooked on to metal. And how is this trying to be like Nirvana? They weren't writing an anthem. They were writing how they feel. Disturbed rocks.Jack - Claremont, Mn
This song rocks! OMG the skit is so great. I feel like that a lot with my mom. I heard this song on Dawn of the Dead & I loved it! Hooked ever since. Keep rocking!Amy - Nunyabiz, Al
when I was growing up my sister and I got picked on alot in school and not just a little bit of teasing, it was bad and yes it hurt alot. Did I ever think of getting revenge against those who hurt me, yes at the time, but as time went by I learned that I didnt want to sink down to their level otherwise they would have won. I can understand to a point where this song is coming from , but when does the madness end, this is just my oppinion so please dont send back any nasty comments , Thankyou!Bev - Anywhere, Wi
Disturbed is my third fav Band

I own all their albums

and this song has the best build up aye and its so succesful song

its on quite a lot of movies and soundtrakcs if u havnt noticed.

disturbed have always been wicked and they always will be GET DOWN WITH THE SICKNESS lol love disturbed!
Rhys - Mandurah, Wa
hey rachel, does that mean you love me? haha, jk. i cant get enough of this song. oh ohAj - ???, Mi
OMG!!! If you don't love this song then I don't love you. Disturbed is the best band ever!! My stepfather got me hooked on them.Rachel - Cleveland, Al
This is an awesome song! I got hookedon Disturbed after hearing this song on the "Q o D" soundtrack.Kevin - Hudson, Nh
Not really a metal fan but I like this song. Wierd and funny! My friend always plays it when he's playing Gears of War.Spog Zallagi - Blue Hill, Me
i heard the piece weird al used in "angry white boy polka" and thought it sounded pretty cool; i decided to listen to this, and i've gotta admit, the band's name fits.Achory - Warner Robins, Ga
GREAT SONG!! Everytime I work out, it's always getting me working, I also love Richard Cheese's "jazz" version of the song to.Tommy - Marietta, Ga
This song ROCKS!!! I love listening to it and picturing a music video in which I turn into an apathetic and demonic shell of my former self and tear my schoolyard tormentors apart. I am then gunned down by the police and as I am dying everyone realises that they made me what I am. Disturbed is awesome!Charles - Big Rock, Tn
Disturbed Rules im accually starting my own band (pray 4 me) '_'Brad - Kokomo, In
Noodles, personally I like KoRn, Norther, Finntroll, Korpiklaani, Marylin Manson, Lacuna Coil, Dragonforce, etc. Not that you'll find the scandinavian bands here.
This song's brilliant. First time I'd hear from Disturbed and I was sold. From my vision, it's about how you don;t realize you're being treated wrong, until you know how different it should be. (a fish doesn't know it's a wateranimal until it gets lifted out of the water) But when he sees that, he gets so mad and so pissed that he'd kill his own mother just for all the misery she put him through.
Esther - Sauwerd, Netherlands
YOU GUYS KICK A$$!!!!!!!!Carlee - St.joseph, Mo
I LOVE YOU<3<3<3<3<3Carlee - St.joseph, Mo
This song is interesting...but i mostly just like the Aw wha aw aw aw partLacie - Whitefish, Mt
When I was young my parents were mean to me. They made me sleep on the carpet and brush my teeth. WAS THAT BAD OR WHAT! They they told me "There is no santa!" in a squeaky voice...just like my parents. So one day I went to the gun shop and I bought a kit kat bar..."give me a break, give me a break, break me a piece of that KIT KAT BAR YEAH!" I love that song, man! So after I got the candy I went back to my house and slept peacefully on the carpet with the cockroaches, spiders, worms, leaches,lions, tigers, and bears, and duckies, and there was a guy tring to give me booze....IT WAZ MICHEAL JACKSON! I SWEAR IT WAS! Any way I lived my life peacfull as the scarface of a trillion dollar estate....more rescently known as a hobbo box...DAMN YOU MICHEAL JACKSON!Billy - Billy, Alabama, Fl
first off emily from manchester is..............im not even going to say it. second eveyone who likes this song and band and metal is cool. this song rocks majour a#* and no korn did not cover or make this song.Bob - Ca, Ca
is disturbed a god rock band my friend seems to think so but i don't. and what are some other good bands for someone who likes disturbed?Noodles - Longmont, Co
I think that this song is the best pump up song ever i listen to it before any football games to get me ready and it one of the most hate filled song ive heard and it is got really good dums and guitar in the song tooTristan - Omaha, Ne
DISTURBED is so awesome i am a huge fan down with the sicknessJohn - P,cola, Fl
Nobody has mentioned that it was the soundtrack to The One (2001), starring Jet Li.Arthur - Sydney, Australia
this song ain't no Korn coverTj - Tumut, Australia
I love this song! It is so awesome. I love this
song beacause of the movie Queen Of The Damned.
I love this song when Lestat actually lip synches
this song.
Sara - Savannah, Ga
David was abused by his mother. She kept hitting him and hitting him. When he got older he lashed out at her and almost killed her.Randall - Donalsonville, Ga
i like the drums in this song. I also think it's cool that the guitarist actually plays guitar(unlike most other bands these days).Michael - Is Bored In, Nj
they kick ass!!!!!Alison - Kill Devil Hills, Nc
Richard Cheese is not pop-jazz. It's called lounge. Hence: LOUNGE Against The Machine.Frank - Hickville, Ga
this song is not about society, or anything like that. Its about the mosh pit. Its about agression. David Draiman says so himself during his shows.Sixx - Chartuck , Mi
Ok Emily from Manchester, I know we all have our own opinions. I don't see how Disturbed could ever be tacky or cheep at all. Look into the lyrics and find the true meanings behind them, that will show you how deep they truely are. Here's a hint, a lot of the song lyrics aren't as they appear (such as the ending to this song). Disturbed doesn't sing about being 'abused'. They sing about how corrupt this society is and if anyone pays any attention to what is really happening in the world and in America, they will understand. They sing about 'abuse' in this song to explain the relationship between Mother Culture and her children (society and the people who are hated and cut off from it because they are 'different'). It's not sick; It's the cold, hard truth. This nation lacks acceptance; just look at the hypocrites, segregators, and discriminators. Disturbed doesn't sing about that because they like it, they sing about that because they hate it. They express their hatred towards the way society treats those 'different', how everyone can't live their own life without at some time being picked on, talked about, or beat up. They want to reach out to those whom these things have affected. Not to bring them pain, but to let them know that there are people who can see Mother Culture for who 'she' really is and want to put a stop to it. They want to bring strength and unity to those who have had their souls stolen from the hatrid of the world. You, Emily, said you wanted to know what someone sees in this band. Well, now you know.Liz - Petersburg, Va
Hey. This song is so awesome.

Ashley - Chester, Va
My favorite part of this song is when he talks about FINALLY HITTING HIS "MOTHER" BACK!!!!!!!!!!!Crystal - Stockton, Ca
i think disturbed are tacky and cheep, and i think that its not deep what so ever, ye ok its about being abused, thats not deep! its sick! and it cauz alot of people pain if they have been abused it might bring it all back, personally i dont get what everyone see's in this band.Emily - Manchester
isnt this a cover of a korn song
- Yo-Mama, Las Vegas, NV

No, Korn couldn't write anything this good.
Adam - Poplar Bluff, Mo
i meant to type down with the sickness...Taylor - -, Ny
well, yeah david acts out that skit, and it is on some radio versions..like on 107.3 where i live, and they hardly edit anything at all, but thats how is best:-) it just sounds natural, and btw, down with the suckness is an awesome songTaylor - -, Ny
I believe that instead of saying open up your hate and let it flow into me he's saying open up your hate and leave it open to me. I could be mistaken, which wouldn't surprise me in the least. That's just how it sounds to me.Drew - Abilene, Tx
Hell, I just think it's a good song, I don't even care if it's deep or not.Lydia - Tulsa, Ok
isnt this a cover of a korn songYo-mama - Las Vegas, Nv
"Open up your hate, and let it flow into me". Haha, it could be giving in to the dark side of the force!! :)Matt - Wheeling, Il
i love this song. everything is so great about it, the lyrics, the guitar and bass its just all so great. if youve been abused in the past it can reach out to you how he gets the courage to hit her back towards the endJess - Edison, Nj
in the movie Dawn of the Dead, there is a lounge cover of this song playing. The artist is Richard Cheese and Lounge against the Machine. His version is great. He covers lots of modern songs in a Las Vegas Lounge singer style.Chris - Tampa, Fl
i know its a good song, but you can't help thinking these guys were trying to copy Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit in the sense of creating a song for the "disillusioned youth" of America. it's been done already, bands should stop trying to make anthems. as a normal song, this rocks though.Matt - Millbrae, Ca
Its about when you realize that your sickness is a great gift, so you embrace it and enjoy it!Vince - Philiadelphia, Pa
I believe that this song is about the people who listen to these songs. Were different were Disturbed and slowly making more and more of society get down with the sickness or become Disturbed. But when hearing the verse i get a different feeling like this song is about someone changing into the person he's been hidding. I like to use this version cause i can realte to it and how my life has changed now that I have gotten down with the sickness.Ryan - Philadelphia, Pa
This song "Down With The Sickness" is talking about a epidemic that is going around in China. I think that this song was written for the people in China. :)Maureen - Prospect, Va
i think its about someone getting getting picked on by others, at the start he says "drowning deep in my sea of loathing, broken your servant i kneel" it could be about someone gettin repeatedly beaten or picked on and not doing anything about it, just letting it happen to them, then at the end the anger of that person gradually builds up and gets bottled up inside so much that it overflows resulting in them unleashing all the anger at one time and giving the bully hell.Durwin - Brisbane/gold Coast, Australia
i think this song is a masterpiece and the 'skit' at the end really adds alot about what lots of people stand for. this song (as do alot of other disturbed songs) helps me alot when im having a bad day because it says alot about me and how i usually feel.Lisa - Mckinney, Tx
disturbed r full phsyco and really disturbed thats wat makes them so good, because u can relate to them wen your not feeling your self and angryAdrian - Newcastle, Australia
Just for all of you who haven't seen Dawn of the Dead, but Down with the sickness also plays at the end of the movie-and they don't leave out the "skit".

This song has meaning, and depth...listen to it if you've never heard it
Ninny - Riverside, Ca
I think its about being pushed to the edge, yeah, but also about hiding a part of yourself until you cant hide it any longer and it comes out even if you didnt want it too. ( looking at my own reflection when suddenly it changes)Meagan - Greenville, Sc
i believe it's about somebody being pushed so far to the edge that when they retaliate it is so vicious it seems evil. (You've opened up the demon in me)John - Detroit, Mi
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