Interview with John Dolmayan, 17.05.2009

Like System of a Down/Scars on Broadway drummer John Dolmayan, I don't have too much to say, so I'll dispense with the obligatory opening paragraph and let you get on with reading this long-awaited email interview.

Andrew Lindsay: As a muscian, who are your key influences?

John Dolmayan: My dad has always been a huge influence on me; he introduced me to jazz at an early age and has always supported my choices in life. Other then that, there's about twenty bands who were my key influences including: The Who, Rush, Led Zeppellin, The Rolling Stones, Billy Idol, Maynard Furgeson, Fishbone, Pink Floyd, The Police, Daft Punk, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Muse, The Beatles and countless others.

A.L.: It's been twelve years since you first joined System of a Down. What do you consider high-points in your career so far?

J.D.: There are many, but I'd say that my favorite moment was playing a nearly-cancelled show in Spain, at four in the morning. The stage fell apart due to wind, and it was the ten year anniversary of System of a Down.

A.L.: With the release of Toxicity in 2001, System became a hugely successful band. How did it feel, for you personally, to experience such growing interest in the band from the public/press?

J.D.: It wasn't all that noticable for us; it was very much a whirlwind. Looking out from within, we just didn't feel the impact of what was happening until much later.

A.L.: Is there a System album that you are particularly proud of?

J.D.: I'm proud of everything we've done, but Steal This Album! is my personal favourite.

A.L.: You crafted a rather gnarly looking skull for your limited edition version of that album. Any reason why?

J.D.: Thought it looked cool, and I cant draw much else.

A.L.: Out of the many songs you've recorded, which are your favourites?

J.D.: "Holy Mountains", "Nuguns" and "Soldier Side".

A.L.: The band recorded Mezmerize/Hypnotize in Rick Rubin's famed Mansion. Other bands that have recorded there [Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Mars Volta] have claimed that the building is haunted. Did you encounter any spirits when recording there?

J.D.: Sounds like a bunch of bullshit.

A.L.: Following Daron's tour cancellation in October, many fans have been in the dark as to whether Scars on Broadway are still together. Can you shed any light on this matter - will Scars ever record/tour again?

J.D.: I'm not sure, but I do miss it.

A.L.: Have you heard from [Scars frontman and System bandmate] Daron [Malakian]? Can you discuss why he decided to cancel the tour?

J.D.: Thats a personal matter, but he's well.

A.L.: Scars on Broadway was often portrayed by the media as a band that consisted of only Daron and yourself. Did you consider Franky [Perez], Danny [Shamoun] and Dominic [Cifarelli] "official" members of the band, or "touring" members?

J.D.: I consider them as members, as well as family.

A.L.: I recall reading that [System bassist] Shavo [Odajian] was originally linked to Scars. Is this true? If so, why did his involvement with the band never come to fruition?

J.D.: That's a question that would be better directed at Shavo.

A.L.: What have you been up to since Scars went on hiatus? Have you been involved in any music-based projects?

J.D.: I've been playing, but nothing I'm ready to share.

A.L.: What are your plans for the rest of the year?

J.D.: Working on Torpedo Comics, and playing for personal satisfaction.

A.L.: How is Torpedo Comics?

J.D.: It's tough to make a new venture profitable, but I believe in my vision for it and I'm giving it my full attention.

A.L.: Will you release your "superhero-based" comic one day?

J.D.: I'm working on it now.

A.L.: What's your take on the music industry these days?

J.D.: It's in serious trouble.

A.L.: Do you think you'll remain within the industry until you're old and grey?

J.D.: I'm not in the music industry; I play music.

A.L.: Are there any up-and-coming bands that you recommend?

J.D.:I'm sure there are tons of bands that are great, but I'm not exactly the pulse of the next great thing. I prefer bands that have at least three albums so I can follow their growth and grow with them.

A.L.: What are your favourite albums of all time?

J.D.: I can't answer that.

A.L.: A hard task, but can you list your top five musical artists of all time?

J.D.: I'd prefer not to try.

A.L.: If you be could any drum/cymbal piece, which one would you be?

J.D.: I am a drum/cymbal piece already.

A.L.: Have you ever given drum lessons?

J.D.: A handful.

A.L.: A lot of fans are curious as to whether you've read Switch!, the continuation to the Schnibbel series [fan-fiction about John and Daron's genitalia]?

J.D.: I read some of it - very creative. People have a lot of time on their hands.

A.L.: I've read that you have a sandwhich named after you, have you ever tried it?

J.D.: Not yet, is it tasty?

A.L.: Finally, a question I'm sure you're tired of hearing, but is there any news regarding the future of System of a Down?

J.D.: System of a Down is dead: I killed all the members for my sandwich.

Sunday, May 17, 2009
Interview by Andrew Lindsay ©

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