John Dolmayan

John Dolmayan (born July 15, 1972 in Beirut, Lebanon) is an Armenian-Americansongwriter and drummer. He is best known as the drummer of metal band System of a Down. Dolmayan is now the drummer for the band Scars on Broadway and another band called Indicator.

ohn Dolmayan was born in Beirut, Lebanon. 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 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.

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.[4] He has also been influenced by jazz music.

Dolmayan recorded drums for Killing Joke’s 2003 self-titled al, (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, 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 Holloween show. Dolmayan, Malakian, and Odadjian performed together again in November 2009 during a charity show for Deftones bassist Chi Cheng.

John Dolmayan’s drumkit is a modified Tama Starclassic (generally with a White Silk or Brown Fade finish). Even though Dolmayan is left-handed, he sets his kit up right-handed. The eleven cymbals are Paiste Signatures. His old setup contains 2 tom toms in front of the snare, a mounted tom and floor tom on the right, and another floor tom on the left of the snare, where a second snare would usually be. He uses a double-bass pedal with the left pedal unusually on the left of the hi-hat pedal. He has 2 splash cymbals (10″ and 8″) as well as a 6″ bell chime mounted over the hi-hat, and an 8″ bell chime to the right of his 2nd tom. He has two 18″ china cymbals (thin and heavy), one on the left, one on the right. He also uses 2 timbales around the left floor tom. His new setup uses 2 basses instead of a double-bass pedal. Now he has 3 toms in front of the snare, which can be heard vibrantly throughout Hypnotize, and only one tom to the right. Most of his cymbals have moved, and so have his timbales which are mounted to align with the toms.

When he first started his career with System of a Down he used a few Paiste Dimension cymbals as well as signatures. At that time, some of his cymbals were 22″ and 24″. He currently uses 20″ as his largest cymbal.

Background information
Birth name John Dolmayan
Born July 15, 1972 (1972-07-15) (age 38)
Beirut, Lebanon
Origin Armenian
Genres Rock, experimental, heavy metal
Occupations Musician, songwriter
Instruments Drums, percussion
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


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