SYSTEM OF A DOWN drummer John Dolmayan, who is currently promoting his "These Grey Men" solo album, spoke to Dean Delray's "Let There Be Talk" podcast about the band's stalled attempts to record a follow-up to its "Mezmerize" and "Hypnotize" LPs, which came out in 2005. Asked if there has been any talk about making new music with SYSTEM, John said (hear audio below): "I find it very unlikely. I'm not even sure I wanna do it anymore. It's just so much drama and bullshit. In a lot of ways, I'm just over it. 'Cause I fought really hard to get us to make an album over the course of the last 15 years. More than anybody else, I was calling people, 'Let's get together. Put the egos aside. Let's have meetings. Whatever it takes. Let's get in the studio. Let's just get in the studio and see what happens.' I just couldn't get it done. I failed."
He added: "Relationships break up all the time. And that's with one person. Try having it with four."
Pressed about whether singer Serj Tankian and guitarist Daron Malakian are primarily to blame for SYSTEM OF A DOWN's inability move forward with a new album, John said: "It's not just Daron and Serj. It takes four people to make this band, and it takes four people to unmake it. I think that we're all to blame. I could just blame Daron and Serj, because, quite frankly, they're the primary songwriters, so it's easy to blame them. But it's not just their fault. A lot of it is their fault, but it's not just their fault."
Dolmayan also discussed SYSTEM OF A DOWN's touring acitivites and what it has been like traveling with his bandmates who don't always see eye-to-eye on things.
"Everybody pretty much does their own thing, but that's been the way it's been since day one, so it's not like that changed," he said. "For me, it's very odd, where we can put our differences aside to go on tour — we're having a great time onstage, we have a blast on tour — and then I say, 'Okay, well, you can put it aside for that, but you can't put it aside for [this].'
"Listen, I'm as confused as other people are," he said, circling back to why SYSTEM OF A DOWN hasn't released any new music. "I'm more frustrated than everybody else. 'Cause at the end of the day, this is it — this is what my life's work is. And as much as I enjoyed making the covers album, and I'm glad people are digging it — it's getting a pretty good response — and it was a lot of fun to make, but I don't wanna have time to make a covers album. I wanna be so immersed in SYSTEM OF A DOWN and the creative process of SYSTEM OF A DOWN that there isn't even time for me to do that."
In 2018, Malakian publicly accused Tankian of not wanting to record, with Tankian responding that creative and financial issues with Malakian led to the stalemate. In a message on Facebook, Tankian wrote that Malakian wanted to control SYSTEM's creative process, take more of the publishing money and be the only band member to speak to the press.
Last year, Serj told Rolling Stone that the public airing of his dispute with Daron didn't open up any more conversations about SYSTEM's future. "I think it released a lot of tension and negativity," he said. "Everything became more public and open, and that was that. There were no further discussions."
SYSTEM OF A DOWN played a couple of live shows last May, including headlining slots at Columbus, Ohio's Sonic Temple festival and Chicago Open Air.
The band was scheduled to play a number of European festivals this summer, but all of those shows appear to have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic which is sweeping the globe.