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John Dolmayan
Ջոն Տոլմայան

Dolmayan playing live with System (Malakian pictured in back) at Ozzfest 2006 before the hiatus.
Background information
Birth name John Ohannes Dolmayan
Born July 15, 1973 (1973-07-15) (age 36)
Origin Armenian
Genres Alternative metal, experimental rock
Occupations Musician, songwriter, drummer
Instruments Drums
Years active 1997 - present
Labels Interscope, Serjical Strike, American, Columbia, Axis of Justice
Associated acts System of a Down, Axis of Justice, Serj Tankian, Scars on Broadway

John Ohannes Dolmayan (born July 15, 1973 in Beirut, Lebanon) is an Lebanese-American songwriter and drummer. He is best known as the drummer of Grammy Award-winning rock band, System of a Down. The band has been on hiatus since 2006. He is currently the drummer for the band Scars on Broadway.


Early life

John was born in Beirut, Lebanon and first became interested in drums at the age of 2. His father was a saxophone player and when his mother would take him to watch his father play, he would mimic his father's drummer. When he was four he asked his parents for a drum kit. He asked for one every year for his birthday or Christmas until he finally got one at age 15.

System of a Down

So far, he has recorded five albums with System of a Down: System of a Down (1998), Toxicity (2001), Steal This Album! (2002), and, most recently, Mezmerize (2005), and Hypnotize (2005). His style of drumming has influenced an emerging generation of drummers, and this has attracted a significant portion of SOAD's audience.

John's facial expressions are famous for being constantly foreboding and angry-looking. Lead singer Serj Tankian was quoted in Kerrang magazine as always trying to make John crack a smile on stage, to which John replied that he had to make an extreme effort to keep a straight face and not get put off beat. Although, on very rare occasions he would try to entertain the fans in unique ways during performances.

Dolmayan won "DRUM!" Magazine's 2006 Drummer of the year. In addition to winning this award, Dolmayan was the feature story in the September edition of "DRUM!" magazine.

Personal projects

In Summer 2006, right before Ozzfest tour, John told the press in several interviews his intention to make an online comic company, "I've got over 5 and a half million comics right now, and I'll probably have about 20 million comics in a year's time. But it's not really a collection. The reason I'm accumulating all these books is I'm starting an Internet-based comic-book company called 'Torpedocomics'. That'll be up in November 2007, probably." Dolmayan said. In an online auction in March 2009 he purchased one of the few remaining issues of Action Comics #1, the very first comic featuring Superman for $317,200[1]. John recently sent Howard Stern and Robin Quivers rare Spider Man comics. Recently John has been playing live shows with a newly designed drum kit, featuring drawings from many famous comic book artists.[2]

Dolmayan also said he may at some point write a movie script and might be involved in drum work regardless of SOAD's status. Dolmayan recorded drums for Killing Joke's 2003 self-titled album, (although the band ended up going with Dave Grohl's tracks[3]) as well as Scum of the Earth's debut album, Blah...Blah...Blah...Love Songs for the New Millennium. He also played drums on the Axis of Justice concert tour with various artists, on the Serj Tankian solo debut, Elect the Dead, and joined Tool on stage for a few shows.

In April 2009, revealed that Dolmayan had auditioned for the reformed Smashing Pumpkins' vacant drummer job along with thousands of other applicants.[4] Dolmayan later stated that the audition was more of just looking for something to do for fun.

In June 2009, it was announced on, that Dolmayan is forming a new rock band with three friends from Southern California who were formerly in a punk rock band. There has been no announcement of the other members' names or the name of the band, but they have written 10-12 songs with Dolmayan playing a huge creative role in writing and structuring (writing bridges and breakdown) and, as far as drumming, is really killing these songs. His drumming is said to be melodic hard rock with hints of punk rock (in a Bad Religion vein) and hints of metal. The group plans to start playing shows in Las Vegas and Los Angeles once they are happy with the 10-12. One of the songs is called "Something Underneath". The band played their first show at The Bitter End on July 22, 2009, with Dolmayan's fellow Scars on Broadway member, Franky Perez, joining the band for a few songs.

In August 2009, Dolmayan, Franky Perez, Danny Shamoun, and Dominic Cifarelli as Scars on Broadway traveled to Iraq for a USO tour across the U.S. army bases. Their setlist consisted of covers well as a few Scars songs.


System of a Down

Axis of Justice

  • Axis of Justice: Concert Series Volume 1 (2004)

Scum of the Earth

Serj Tankian

Scars on Broadway


Dolmayan drumset

Tama drums and hardware, Paiste cymbals, and Evans drumheads:

  • Drums - Tama Starclassic Bubinga [5]
    • 10"×8" Tom
    • 12"×9" Tom
    • 14"×11" Tom
    • 18"×16" Floor Tom
    • 22"×18" Bass Drum
    • 14"×6" Warlord Masai Snare
  • Cymbals - Paiste [6]
    • 14" RUDE Hi-Hat
    • 18" Signature Full Crash
    • 20" Signature Full Crash
    • 24" 2002 Crash
    • 24" RUDE Mega Power Ride
    • 10" Signature Splash
    • 22" Traditionals Medium Light Swish
  • Sticks - Vic Firth [7]
    • John Dolmayan Signature 16" length, .585" diameter


  • In 2002, System of a Down was nominated for a Grammy Award in Best Metal Performance for their song "Chop Suey!"
  • In 2003, System of a Down was nominated for a Grammy Award in Best Hard Rock Performance for "Aerials"
  • In 2005, System of a Down won for Best Alternative Act in the Europe Music Awards
  • In 2006, System of a Down won their first Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance for "B.Y.O.B."
  • In 2006, System of a Down won the "MTV Good Woodie Award" for their song "Question!"
  • In 2006, John won Drum! Magazine's drummer of the year award. He also won the alternative rock drummer of the year award.
  • In 2006, System of a Down's song "Toxicity" was #14 on the VH1 Top 40 Metal Songs list
  • In 2007, System of a Down was nominated for a Grammy Award in Best Hard Rock Performance for their song "Lonely Day"


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

John Dolmayan (born 1973-07-15) is a musician, best known as the drummer for the Armenian-American alternative metal band System of a Down.


  • For the longest time, I didn't know the name of anyone in Led Zeppelin. I didn't care about what they looked like or ate. I wanted to listen, not read about them. I've always had that philosophy. I never started playing drums to get chicks or money or anything else. Long before I had concepts of those things, I wanted to be a drummer. That's the basic concept of what I do. I'm a drummer. I play drums. We are artists as drummers, and people should realize that. Not everyone can sit down and use all four of your limbs simultaneously to create something out of wood and plastic. We're creating something beautiful, and it may not sound pretty, but if you listen with the right ear, it sounds very pretty. If you try and listen to a song without drums, you haven't got anything.
  • We never expected anything, actually. I think we still don't expect anything. We were proud of the album when we finished it, so whatever success it has we are just like, 'Wow, cool.' It's not going to change the way we work or think. I'm as proud of this record now as I was when we finished it.

External links

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