System of a Down Drummer: “Whatever Your Politics, You Are All Welcome”
System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan has extended an olive branch in what will hopefully mark an end to an exhausting couple of weeks that pitted his band’s liberal fanbase against his own conservative views.
Dolmayan — who has found himself under fire for his outspoken pro-Trump, coronavirus conspiracy theory, anti-Black Lives Matter, blatantly racist, and pro-cop opinions — has now shared the following on Instagram, seemingly an effort to bridge the divide among his fanbase:
“To all the people who disagree with my opinions but still listen to what I have to say and argue respectfully I thank you. I thank you for your passion , I thank you for your heart and most of all I thank you for your different perspectives. As to system fans, some of you have been disheartened by my opinions and that’s affected your love of our music , that’s a shame, don’t be , they are just opinions after all
“I accept all of you for who you are as you are and hope you understand disagreeing doesn’t mean not caring for each other. You are why all of us in system have what we have and we owe you a debt of gratitude for sticking with us all these years . Whatever your politics you are all welcome , System of a Down is for all of you and always will be. Music has the power to bring us all together if we can just put differences aside , thank you all I love you all”
While I appreciate that John is trying to preach a message of unity, it’s incredibly difficult to “just put differences aside” when those issues are systemic, ingrained racism and extreme abuse of power by law enforcement to the detriment of black people. Those are not differences that are worth putting aside for any reason, no fucking way, especially not for the relatively trivial privilege of listening to music together. Black people don’t have the choice to “just put differences aside” when they’re being pulled over, arrested, killed or otherwise discriminated against for the color of their skin.
That said, last I checked none of System of a Down’s songs preach the messages he’s been sharing — their catalogue hasn’t changed at all, and it still is and will be always be left-leaning in nature! — and the dude is just the drummer anyway. Serj Tankian, who earlier this week called any Trump lovers in his band’s fanbase “hypocrites,” is still the one singing those words. Insofar as 25% of any System of a Down concert tickets or merch I buy will end up going into Dolmayan’s pockets, that’s a damn shame, but I don’t see that as a reason to stop supporting the other three band members, whose politics are spot-on, and hence the band as a whole.
And hopefully this is the last time for a while I’ll be writing about John Dolmayan, who can go join Trapt’s Chris Taylor Brown in the internet dustbin of irrelevant opinions.