JOHN DOLMAYAN Says SERJ TANKIAN Doesn't Speak For All Four Members Of SYSTEM OF A DOWN
September 29, 2020
John Dolmayan has expressed in more detail his reasons for voicing his controversial political views that are ideologically opposed to those of SYSTEM OF A DOWN's lead singer, Serj Tankian.
The drummer, who has praised Donald Trump in recent months and has accused Democrats of "demonizing" the president and "blaming him for everything under the sun," discussed his increased outspokenness on political issues during a brand new appearance on the "Deviant Gentlemen" podcast.
Before delving into the motivation behind his inflammatory social media posts, Dolmayan explained that his connection to Tankian goes further than just that of two bandmates. "We're also brother-in-laws," he said (see video below). "We're married to two sisters. He married the older sister, and I married the younger sister. By coincidence, of course — we didn't plan it that way."
According to Dolmayan, his perspective on the political landscape is not as rigid as it sometimes may appear.
"I have a very open mind about things," he claimed. "I don't think it comes off that way always on my Instagram posts, because usually when I'm posting that, it's in the heat of the moment — something has upset me. And at the end of the day, these are my opinions."
As for why he would go out of his way to share things on social media that seem to be directly opposed to the views expressed by Tankian, John said: "One of the reasons why I put up these posts is because SYSTEM OF A DOWN has a legacy of being left-leaning, which isn't always the case. Serj, of course, is responsible for the lyrics, but they didn't always represent the band in the way that we maybe wanted [them] to. There's four individuals in the band. I don't speak for any of the individuals except for myself, and neither does Serj. But because he had that platform of writing lyrics, the perception was out there that that's how the band felt at all times, where I don't even think Serj necessarily felt those ways at all times. You're supposed to have diversity of opinion even within your own mind, and you should judge things based on information that's presented to you.
"A lot of those lyrics I did agree with at that time — for example, reforming the prison system," he continued. "Some things Trump has actually done. I just don't believe it's quite as 'black and white' as we're led to believe it is, that if you don't have an open mind about things and if you don't delve into the reasons things are happening and kind of discover things for yourselves, and you just say 'Okay, I'm a Republican' or 'I'm a Democrat, and that's what I'm gonna be for the rest of my life,' you're doing yourself a disservice.
"One of the main reasons and primary reasons I get myself into a lot of trouble and do myself no favors by posting the things I post, because they're not popular views, but one of the reasons I do it is because if you're a SYSTEM fan, and you enjoy the music, you enjoy some of the lyrics… And by the way, only about 12 percent or less of our music is political in origin anyway… There's a lot of lyrics that are social, they're about love interests, they're about your life, they're about calamities that take place, and some of them are just fantasy," he said. "And a lot of that stuff is taken out of context as well. But if you're a SYSTEM fan and you gravitate towards the music, you enjoy the music, but you don't necessarily agree with the perceived message, well, where do you go? If you think that Serj is the mouthpiece of the band, which he is, as far as vocally, but not necessarily for ideology, then you have nowhere to go. So I wanted to present a different view and to give kids out there who think differently and who are critical thinkers, not necessarily following the norm, that there is a different option, you can think differently, it's okay to have diversity of opinion, as long as it's done peaceably."
Dolmayan went on to reiterate that he supports other people's right to voice their views, even if they are completely different from his own.
"I have no problems with Black Lives Matter and Antifa if they did it peaceably," he explained. "It's the violent component [that I have an issue with]. And also the agenda, I believe, is Marxist.
"As much as I don't like the Marxist agenda and communism and socialism in general, because they don't work, and I love America and I want America to be successful for everybody, to have the ability to succeed in it, I will never oppose their right to voice their opinion, because I believe in the Constitution," he continued. "What I have a problem with is when you have reverse McCarthyism, which is what's taking place right now, with the cancel culture and the talking down to people who think differently or have a different mindset from this morally superior high ground that a lot of the people on the left are coming from these days, I have a problem with that. And that exists in our band to a certain degree.
"Although I think Serj is a very open-minded guy, I think this derangement regarding Trump and this hate of Trump — he's this vilified character for a lot of people — has taken away some of that common decency, has taken away the ability for people to have their listening ears on and just taking things for what they are," Dolmayan added. "The guy's done a lot of good for people. Not every policy he has is good, but he's done a lot of good for this country, and he should be credited with that."
Asked if he has been approached by anybody in the music industry and told to tone down his political rhetoric on social media, John said: "No. My manager, he was just, like, 'Look, maybe you guys are going a little too far' — for both Serj and I. And we did have a private text conversation between me, [our manager] and Serj. And again, I think Serj views himself in a way where he's really doing the right thing. And he really does care about people. And he does a lot for individuals and our nation as well. He's really trying to help people, Serj. I believe he's a good person, inherently. But again, it's that moral high ground that they think they're on — that perceived moral high ground. It kind of blinds them to being open about ideas they might be wrong on."
This past June, Dolmayan blasted "cowards" who criticize those who think they are "coming from a morally superior position," saying that they "can't handle free speech" and "need to be herded along with the rest of the sheep."
He also called Democrats "the true bigots" who "fought to maintain slavery" and were "directly responsible for 70 plus million abortions, a large majority of whom were black."
Dolmayan supports Trump's claim that his administration has done more for the African-American community "than any president since Abraham Lincoln."
In recent months, Tankian has called for Trump to resign and described him as "completely useless" over his handling of the coronavirus outbreak.