John Dolmayan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

John Dolmayan
John Dolmayan in 2009
Background information
Born (1973-07-15) July 15, 1973 (age 45)
Beirut, Lebanon
OriginLos Angeles, California, United States
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • drummer
  • Drums
  • percussion
Years active1997–present
Associated acts

John Dolmayan (born July 15, 1973) is an American musician, songwriter and drummer. He is best known as the drummer of System of a Down. Dolmayan is also the drummer for the band Indicator and former drummer for Scars on Broadway. Loudwire listed him as one of the Top 66 Hard Rock + Metal Drummers of All Time, with Dolmayan being ranked at number 31.[1]

Early life[edit]

John Dolmayan was born in Beirut, Lebanon to Armenian parents.[2][3] During the Lebanese Civil War, his empty bed was hit by a stray bullet. After the incident his family decided to emigrate to Toronto, and later, to California.[citation needed]

Dolmayan first became interested in drums at the age of two.[citation needed] 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. He learned to play the drums by putting on records and practicing for hours a day, and continued said practice for years.[citation needed] Dolmayan describes his musical style as one influenced by whatever he could get his hands on, included the jazz albums belonging to his father and the rock albums he shared with his friends.[4]

Dolmayan is a fan of The Who and cites Who drummer Keith Moon as his biggest influence. Other drummers that he cites as major influences include Led Zeppelin's John Bonham, Stewart Copeland from The Police, and Rush's Neil Peart.[4]

System of a Down[edit]

Dolmayan joined System of a Down in 1997 after their original drummer, Ontronik "Andy" Khachaturian, left the band after a hand injury.[citation needed]

Dolmayan recorded five albums with System of a Down: System of a Down (1998), Toxicity (2001), Steal This Album! (2002), Mezmerize (2005) and Hypnotize (2005).[citation needed]

Dolmayan won DRUM! Magazine's 2006 Drummer of the year and was the feature story in their September edition.[citation needed]

Scars on Broadway[edit]

After System of a Down went on hiatus in 2006 Dolmayan teamed up with Daron Malakian (System of a Down's guitarist/vocalist) to form a new band called Scars on Broadway, which recorded their eponymous debut album in 2007 and 2008.[citation needed] The album was released in the summer of 2008 and Dolmayan, Malakian, guitarist Franky Perez, bassist Dominic Cifarelli, and keyboardist Danny Shamoun performed concerts and prepared to embark on a tour in support of the album before Malakian suddenly cancelled the tour in October 2008.[citation needed]

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 as well as a few Scars on Broadway songs.[citation needed]

Scars on Broadway reunited with Malakian on May 2, 2010 and planned on doing another show in Los Angeles in August 2010.[citation needed]

Other projects[edit]

Dolmayan recorded drums for Killing Joke's 2003 self-titled album,[5] (although the band ended up going with Dave Grohl's tracks[6]) 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 and on the Serj Tankian solo debut, Elect the Dead[citation needed], and joined Tool on stage for a few shows.[citation needed]

In June 2009, Dolmayan began forming a new rock band called Indicator with three friends from Southern California who were formerly in a punk rock band, Tom Capossela, Ryan Huber, and Ryan Murphy.[7] 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. The band plans on releasing[when?] an album called Have We Gone Too Far?.[7]

Dolmayan performed with System of a Down bandmates Daron Malakian and bassist Shavo Odadjian and Scars on Broadway guitarist Franky Perez for Odadjian's Halloween show. Dolmayan, Malakian, and Odadjian performed together again in November 2009 during a charity show for Deftones bassist Chi Cheng.

Dolmayan has also devoted a lot of his time the past few years in the comic book retail industry, including launching Torpedo Comics out of Nevada.[8]

In 2009, John auditioned for The Smashing Pumpkins, in the absence of Jimmy Chamberlin.[9]



Dolmayan drumset

John uses Tama drums and hardware, Paiste cymbals, Evans Drumheads, LP percussion and his signature Vic Firth drumsticks.

  • DrumsTama Starclassic Bubinga[10]
    • 10"×8" Rack Tom
    • 12"×9" Rack Tom
    • 13"x10" Rack Tom
    • 16"×14" Floor Tom
    • 18"×16" Floor Tom
    • 22"×18" Bass Drum
    • 14"×6" John Dolmayan Signature Snare
  • CymbalsPaiste[11]
    • Traditionals 22" Medium Light Swish
    • RUDE 14" Hi-Hat
    • 2002 6" Bell Chime
    • Signature 18" Fast Crash
    • Signature 10" Splash
    • Signature 8" Splash
    • RUDE 14" Hi-Hat
    • Signature 19" Full Crash
    • RUDE 24" Mega Power Ride
    • 2002 24" Big Ride
    • 2002 19" Wild China
  • SticksVic Firth[12]
    • John Dolmayan Signature 16" length, .580" diameter


  • In 2002, System of a Down was nominated for a Grammy Award in Best Metal Performance for their song "Chop Suey!"
  • 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 2006, System of a Down won the Grammy Award in Best Hard Rock Performance for their song "B.Y.O.B."
  • In 2007, System of a Down was nominated for a Grammy Award in Best Hard Rock Performance for their song "Lonely Day"


  1. ^ "Top 66 Hard Rock + Metal Drummers of All Time". Retrieved December 24, 2016.
  2. ^ "allmusic (((John Dolmayan> Feedback)))". allmusic. Retrieved July 26, 2010.
  3. ^ "John Dolmayan -Biography". IMDb. Retrieved July 26, 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Interview with John Dolmayan". Tama. September 15, 2006. Retrieved July 26, 2010.
  5. ^ "Nirvana Pay Back Killing Joke". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-06-08.
  6. ^ TENSION MAKES THE JOKE WORK Archived September 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Murray Engleheart, Drum Media, November 4, 2003
  7. ^ a b "Indicator | Gratis muziek, tourneedata, foto's, video's". Retrieved 2011-10-11.
  8. ^ "How System of a Down's Drummer Went From Rock God to Comic-Book Hero - Vegas Seven". Vegas Seven. 2016-12-07. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
  9. ^ Carter (April 21, 2009). "John Dolmayan Auditions For Smashing Pumpkins". Retrieved December 24, 2016.
  10. ^ "John Dolmayan's drum setup on the Tama USA website" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2011-10-11.
  11. ^ "John Dolmayan's cymbal setup on the Paiste website". February 8, 2007. Retrieved 2011-10-11.
  12. ^ "Artists - Vic Firth". Retrieved December 24, 2016.

External links[edit]