SYSTEM OF A DOWN‘s Serj Tankian has admitted that it’s “frustrating” to see his bandmate John Dolmayan publicly voicing his support for Donald Trump.
In recent months, Dolmayan has praised Trump and has accused Democrats of “demonizing” the president and “blaming him for everything under the sun.” The drummer 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.”
Tankian discussed his relationship with Dolmayan during a recent interview with Forbes about the current crisis occurring in their cultural homeland of Armenia and Artsakh.
Asked if it’s frustrating for him to see John so publicly supportive of America’s 45th president, especially considering Dolmayan is Armenian as well, Serj said: “He’s my brother-in-law and my drummer. Is it frustrating being politically opposite to your own drummer and brother-in-law? Fuck yeah. Of course it’s frustrating. But that’s having to do with American politics. When it comes to Armenian issues, we’re on the same exact page. We know what injustice is happening, we work together. We’re doing different auction activities and working together on many fronts. The Armenian nation is united, whether you voted for Republican, Democrat or neither. But I was a Bernie [Sanders] supporter, I still am. I feel like he still would’ve been the best choice going forward. But I’m okay with [Joe] Biden. The elections are coming up and normally I’m very vocal, but this war and the daily death toll [in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh] has really taken up my full spectrum of focus.”
Last month, 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.”
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.