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System of a Down Drummer: “We Never Reached Our Potential, and I Don’t Think We Ever Will”

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System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan has been in the press quite a bit of late promoting the pending release of his album with These Grey Men, and naturally the topic of conversation often shifts to System of a Down, specifically their inability to put out new music in the past decade and a half.

The recent revelation that the three non-Serj Tankian members of System of a Down wrote an entire album’s worth of new music a few years back made the rounds in recent weeks, and now Loudwire has gotten a bit more out of Dolmayan on that stalled effort:

“First of all, nothing is finished until all four members are on it, and Serj had nothing to do with it. He wasn’t at those rehearsals, he wasn’t in the process of bringing the songs and working on them or writing them. These were just things we did with the anticipation of a record happening, which never happened.

“We’re a very stubborn and stupid band. As sad as that is to say, we never reached our potential, and I don’t think we ever will.”

As much as Dolmayan attempted to paint that last bit in a humorous, self-deprecating light, not only is the statement true, but it’s a bit sad: many fans felt System were at their creative peak with the Hypnotize/Mezmerize double album set, and then forward momentum completely stalled. Sure, for all we know anything after that might’ve stunk and perhaps it’s good they went out on top, but it’s hard to imagine they couldn’t have put out at least some high-quality stuff in the past 15 years. And the defeatism palpable in Dolmayan’s closing quote — “I don’t think we ever will” — man, it’s gotta sting to acknowledge that.

These Grey Men’s self-titled album will come out on February 28. You can listen to a cover of David Bowie’s “Starman” — with Serj on vocals! — right here, as well as a cover of Radiohead’s “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” (the whole album is covers).

System of a Down have the following tour dates booked:

May 22 Los Angeles, CA — Banc of Hollywood Stadium [tickets]
May 23 Los Angeles, CA — Banc of Hollywood Stadium [tickets]
June 3 Amsterdam, NL – Ziggo Dome [tickets]
June 5-7 Nurburg, DE – Rock am Ring [tickets]
June 6-7 Nuremberg, DE – Rock im Park [tickets]
June 8 Berlin, DE – Waldbuhne [tickets]
June 10-13 Nickelsdorf, AT – Nova Rock Festival [tickets]
June 14 Donington, UK – Download Festival [tickets]
June 16 Prague, CZ – O2 Arena [tickets]
June 17 Budapest, HU – Laszlo Papp Sports Arena [tickets]
June 19 Zurich, CH – Hallenstadion [tickets]
June 23 Stockholm, SW – Ericsson Globe [tickets]
June 25-27 Seinäjoki, FI – Provinssirock Festival [tickets]
June 30 Krakow, PL – Tauron Arena [tickets]
June 1-4 Viveiro, ES – Resurrection Fest [tickets]
June 2-3 Lisbon, PT – VOA Heavy Rock Festival [tickets]

Listen to the full interview below.

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