System Of A Down's John Dolmayan hits out at bandmates for creative stasis: "We've become more and more successful in spite of our best efforts to ruin it"

System Of A Down
(Image credit: Armen Keleshian)

System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan believes that his bandmates are "squandering" their talents by not collaborating on new music, and says that the LA band's creative stasis is "an insult" to musicians striving for a breakthrough in the industry.

Dolmayan made the claims while speaking to YouTuber Sona Oganesyan in a new interview posted online last week, in which he also stated that System "have become more and more successful in spite of our best efforts to ruin it."

Asked by the host to elaborate, Dolmayan says, "We haven't made an album since 2005, we barely tour, we don't do interviews, we don't do press, we're almost completely sundered from the music business and yet we have more and more offers to play every year."

"Obviously we still have something to give to the world," the drummer continues. "We have this gift, right, that came from God or wherever, and we’re squandering it... It’s an insult to everybody else that tries to make it in whatever endeavour they’re trying to make. And here we are – we’ve made it, we have the talent, we have the ability, we have an adoring fanbase, we’ve sold, I don’t know, whatever it is – 30 million albums or more – and they’re hungry for it, and we just don’t do it.

“That’s like the worst; having the ability to do something and not doing it is, I think, the worst thing in the world as far as in the perspective of being an artist. You’re just hurting yourself."

Asked if he can imagine a way forward for the band, Dolmayan responds, "If my band members listened to me, and put everything to the side, and just said, Okay, let's just go in and make the best album we can make, and not care about where the music comes from, or who wrote the lyrics, or what this person did in the past. I'm willing to put all that aside, but I'm not in a band that'll do that, unfortunately."

System Of A Down released two brand new songs, Protect The Land and Genocidal Humanoidz, in November 2020 - their first new music in 17 years.

While the band are currently inactive, vocalist Serj Tankian recently recorded a new song titled No Tomorrow for the soundtrack of upcoming video game Metal: Hellsinger - The Gods Of Metal, due later this year.

Watch the full hour-long interview with John Dolmayan below:

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.