SYSTEM OF A DOWN drummer John Dolmayan says that the COVID-19 pandemic "has always been about money."
Earlier today (Sunday, February 27),the 48-year-old musician, who was previously critical of vaccine mandates, saying they were akin to "self-imposed tyranny and mental slavery," took to his Instagram to share a Pokémon COVID-19 meme, and he included the following message: "And just like that covid will slowly go away. This is and has always been about money , covid was about money , Ukraine is about money. Resources equal wealth , stability , and power. Theres a game of chess being played by those in the real positions of power and we'd like to think we're the pawns but the truth is we're not even on the board."
When one of John's followers countered that "if it was about money then shops would have stayed open. small business went bankrupt because of covid, it was never about money it was about saving lives", John fired back: "do you have any idea how much money Amazon made during Covid? Not to mention pharmaceutical companies ? Of course it's about money".
In the months leading up to the 2020 presidential election, Dolmayan repeatedly defended Donald Trump, saying that the opponents of America's 45th president "perpetuated and instigated a total shutdown of the economy" in the hopes that it would crash and that he would be blamed. Dolmayan also praised Trump and accused Democrats of "demonizing" the former president and "blaming him for everything under the sun." In addition, John 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 also supported Trump's claim that his administration had done more for the African-American community "than any president since Abraham Lincoln."
SYSTEM OF A DOWN singer Serj Tankian discussed his relationship with Dolmayan, who is also his brother-in-law, during an interview with Consequence Of Sound. He said: "We're very good friends, we're family, and he's my drummer in my band, so, of course, we've talked about many, many different things, including political views. When you don't agree with someone after a while about a certain topic … look, it doesn't mean that we don't agree about other stuff. We agree a lot about Armenian stuff, for example, a lot about family stuff, a lot of other things, a lot of personal stuff. But when it comes to American politics, we happen to be on the polar opposite ends of it, and we're both very passionate and vehement about our views, which is fine."
Serj continued: "I love and respect John very much, but I don't love and respect his American political views. And that's fine. And I can live with that and he can live with that because we respect and care for each other. And it's really just that. Have we talked about it? Yeah. But do we talk about it often? No, because there comes a point where when you don't see eye to eye on something, you just rather talk about something else."
In September 2020, Dolmayan defended his reasons for voicing his political views that are ideologically opposed to those of Tankian, telling the "Deviant Gentlemen" podcast: "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.
"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?" he continued. "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."
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."