John Dolmayan (born onJuly 15, 1973 ) is a Lebanese-born Armenian-American 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.
John Dolmayan was born in Beirut, Lebanon to Lebanese-Armenian parents. During the Lebanese Civil War, the young Dolmayan's (empty) bed was hit by a stray bullet. After the incident his family decided to emigrate, and, after briefly living in Toronto, they moved to California.
Dolmayan first became interested in drums at the age of two. 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, "4-6 hours a day, depending on the particular day. I did that for years and years. I developed my own style from basically taking from so many different styles. I used to play with whatever I could get my hands on, which included my Dad’s collection of jazz albums and the rock albums that my friends and I had."
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. He has also been influenced by jazz music. He has been called "The Armenian James Bond" by members of the American heavy metal band Glasgow Visage.
System of a Down
Dolmayan joined System of a Down in 1997 after their original drummer, Ontronik "Andy" Khachaturian, left the band after a hand injury.
Dolmayan 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).
Dolmayan won DRUM! Magazine's 2006 Drummer of the year and was the feature story in their September edition.
Scars on Broadway
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. 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.
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.
Scars on Broadway reunited with Malakian on May 2, 2010 and plans on doing another show in Los Angeles in August 2010.
Dolmayan recorded drums for Killing Joke's 2003 self-titled album, (although the band ended up going with Dave Grohl's tracks) 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, and joined Tool on stage for a few shows.
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. 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 an album called Have We Gone Too Far?.
Dolmayan performed with System of a Down bandmates 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.
- 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"
John Dolmayan Drumstick Collection
Current Drumstick Count in Collection: 3.