John Dolmayan


1997- System Of A Down - drums  
2006-2012 Scars On Broadway - drums  

Studio musician

2007 Serj Tankian - drums  

Live musician

2002 Tool - drums  
2007 Tool - drums  

Guest musician

2003 Killing Joke - drums  
2003 Scum Of The Earth - drums  

Personal information

Born on: 15.07.1973

John Dolmayan was born in Lebanon to Armenian family. One night when he was five, he got scared and went to his parent's room and asked if he could sleep there. His parents agreed, and soon after a bullet came through the window of his room and hit his bed, where he would have been sleeping (while civil war been there). His father decided they had to move. He moved to Toronto, Canada then to Los Angeles. He has a condominium in Las Vegas where he also bought his parents a house. John's father was a saxophone player and he actually started on the drums, according to John in a recent interview, whatever talent John has is from his dad. [read more].

His unique and original style of drumming has influenced an emerging generation of drummers. More than a few critics have called his style "schizophrenic", and this has attracted a significant portion of SOAD's audience, and it's generally agreed that his talent is a large part of SOAD's appeal.

John's facial expressions are famous for being constantly foreboding and angry-looking, which together with his usual smart dress sense, make him look like a Mafia member. Lead singer Serj Tankian was quoted in Kerrang magazine as always trying to make John crack a smile on stage, to which John replied that he had to make an extreme effort to keep a straight face and not get put off beat, which is sometimes not believed due to the fact that John sounds very rhythmically when it comes to his drum beats. He is known throughout the metal scene for his hi-hat to snare combo, which can be heard in such songs as Deer Dance on Toxicity, I-E-A-I-A-I-O on Steal This Album! and Question! on Mezmerize.

Along with 'Joey Jordison' he is one of the only drummers in mainstream metal to use blast beats (as with Jordison, only occasionally), a death metal drumming technique which can be heard for example on the System of a Down single "B.Y.O.B." The use of this technique and other aspects of Dolmayan's style, which like much of System of a Down's music is generally more complex and technical than that of most popular metal bands' drummers, has given him and his band a modicum of respect in the generally mainstream-critical underground metal community.

John Dolmayan's drum-kit is a modified Tama Starclassic (generally with a White Silk or Brown Fade finish). 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, 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.

As a burgeoning collector-comics entrepreneur, Dolmayan has many friends in the industry, and after years in the making, he finally had this completed comic book-inspired drum kit which is completely decorated in original comic art by a host of top
professionals in what is possibly one of the coolest comic collectibles ever created. [for more details with photos check Here and Here].

When he first started his career with System of a Down he used a few Paiste Dimension cymbals as well as signatures. Back then some of his cymbals were 22" and 24". Now he just uses 20" as his biggest (ride and Power Crash).

In Summer 2006, right before Ozzfest tour, John told the press in several interviews his intention to make an online comic company, "I've got over 5 and a half million comics right now, and I'll probably have about 20 million comics in a year's time. But it's not really a collection. The reason I'm accumulating all these books is I'm starting an Internet-based comic-book company called "Torpedocomics". That'll be up in November 2007, probably." John said. [read more]

John also, been awarded as the best Drummer of the year according to DRUM!