Rockers’ music video tackles conspiracy theories


Dan Donegan instructs extras for mob scene

Chicago’s resident heavy metal comrades, Dan Donegan and Mike Wengren of multi-platinum band Disturbed, shot a new music video for their band “Fight or Flight,” a side project with singer Dan Chandler of Evans Blue.

The video is for a song “First of the Last,” the first single off their new album, “Life by Design?” that was released online April 25.

While Donegan and Wengren’s smash hit single released in 2000 implored the listener to get “Down with the Sickness,” this latest venture questions how societal sickness is caused on a global scale.

The video uses the narrative device of a secret society to question conspiracy theories surrounding vaccines, gun control, and depopulation among many others, with the album’s provocative title laying out a premise for music fans to question what they see.

The South Side rockers are no strangers to making videos, having shot several live performance-style vids over the years, including “Down with the Sickness” at Tinley Park’s outdoor venue. This latest effort however is a first attempt at a narrative, with Donegan himself providing the treatment.

The band members exchanged thoughts on conspiracy theories and drew inspiration from documentaries like Zeitgeist. “Some [conspiracy theories] seem very goofy, and some seem like there’s a strong argument for it. All we’re saying is maybe we should open our eyes and ask questions, to get ourselves closer to the truth.”

Production reunited Donegan and Wengren with local video director Lester Cohn of pureDV, whose extensive music credits include Mastodon: Live at the Aragon, Dethklok, Neil Young/ International Harvesters, A Treasure. Chuck Brueckmann was assistant director, who recently directed Tremonti’s “Wish You Well” video, which Cohn edited.


Cohn and Brueckmann lensed the “super low budget” video with a Canon C300 and C100 using prime lenses, a couple of Kino-flo Celebs, and an ARRI light kit. Band performance footage was shot at Groovemaster studio on the Near South Side.

Fight or Flight: Dan Donegan, Sean Corcoran, Dan Chandler, Jeremy Jayson, Mike Wengren.

Groundswell through Facebook for extras and locations

Donegan appealed to friends for help on Facebook, which served as location scout and casting agency. “It made casting a little easier than I thought it would be,” said Donegan. Friends secured a police station, village hall, convenience store and doctor’s office

Each location came with the people to play the parts. At the doctor’s office, Donegan’s daughter played a patient receiving a vaccine. Over 60 extras arrived at the New Lenox Village Hall to play an angry mob, thanks to Facebook. 

The mayor of New Lenox drew from his obvious political skills to play the role of maniacal secret society leader with nearly evangelical fervor.

The multi-day shoot was eventful. North Side residents called police when they saw a masked man with a baseball bat enter a convenience store where a scene was being shot. Police arrived despite precautions that had been put in place to prevent any problems. “We diffused it rather quickly, but the police did show up,” said Donegan.

No release date set for the video, but July 23 is the date for Fight or Flight’s album, “Life by Design?”