SYSTEM OF A DOWN's Serj Tankian has admitted that he doesn't care for his bandmate John Dolmayan's opinions on American politics.
Last year, Dolmayan praised former U.S. president Donald Trump and accused Democrats of "demonizing" the real estate mogul 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, who is also his brother-in-law, during a recent 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."
Last September, 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."
Last year, Dolmayan supported Trump's claim that his administration had done more for the African-American community "than any president since Abraham Lincoln." Meanwhile, Tankian had called for Trump to resign and described him as "completely useless" over his handling of the coronavirus outbreak.