System of a Down Drummer: I’m ‘Not Proud’ of Some of Our Recent Shows
System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan has come clean with an admission about some recent performances by the band that he deemed cursory. Not stifling his opinion, the veteran musician bluntly revealed he was "not proud" of a "couple of shows" the embattled rockers had performed as of late.
Dolmayan divulged as much in a new video interview with Avenged Sevenfold member Johnny Christ. Appearing on Wednesday's (Oct. 30) installment of the bassist's "Drinks With Johnny" series to sip whiskey, play Jenga and talk rock, the drummer pulled no punches concerning his feelings about System's of a Down current touring situation. He also addressed the lack of new music from the band. Watch the full interview down toward the bottom of this post.
"I'm gonna be honest with you. We played a couple of shows that I was not proud of recently," Dolmayan admitted. "Because we didn't put in the practice, and we had, like, a skeleton crew."
He continued with an explanation highlighting the band's piecemeal road crew: "They set up the equipment, they set up the lights, all the production," Dolmayan said. "All this stuff has to be set up so that we can go up and do our jobs, which is to entertain you, ultimately. And these guys all have to work when we're not working. … Avenged does it the right way — they'll do an album cycle, they'll do a hundred shows or whatever it is in that cycle, which means they can employ these people for a year to two years. System does it the complete opposite way and half-assed. We employ people for three to four weeks, which means we get who's available as opposed to who we wanna work with long term."
While the drummer didn't specify which shows he wasn't proud of, System of a Down have only performed a handful of concerts in 2019. Those included appearances at Sonic Temple and Chicago Open Air.
But in addition to infrequent touring from the band, the outfit also hasn't released new music in well over a decade. The reasons for this lack of material have been covered at length, but the System of the Down drummer this week offered a condensed version of the group's issues with recording.
"We've been enormously successful with each other," Dolmayan explained, "ego gets in the way a lot. It gets in the way of relationships, it gets in the way of business relationships. And sometimes you lose sight of why you started to do something together. You know, in any industry, but more so in music, people get into their heads sometimes. You've gotta let things go in life. You have to let things go, in that you're gonna offend each other. You're gonna have problems. Every relationship has them. So you've gotta get past it and get out of your own fucking way ultimately. And System just hasn't been able to do that. We have some things that have gotten in the way of doing what we do best."
All the same, the drummer still commended his bandmates — System of a Down singer Serj Tankian, guitarist Daron Malakian and bassist Shavo Odadjian — for their contributions to the live show.
"The point is, I'm the best when I've got Serj, Shavo and Daron with me," Dolmayan added. "And nothing I do in music will ever compare with that, and I'm aware of it. I'm appreciate of it. I've got, in my opinion, one of the best live bands in the world."
Notwithstanding another year without a new album, and despite Dolmayan's reservations surrounding some of the band's recent performances, System of a Down will still be touring in 2020. In the interview, the drummer also revealed he's currently working on a solo album of cover songs.
System of a Down's John Dolmayan on 'Drinks With Johnny' (Oct. 30, 2019)
Everything We Know About New System of a Down Music