Out Now: System of a Down Drummer John Dolmayan Re-Imagines Bowie, Talking Heads, Radiohead, Eminem and More on ‘These Grey Men’ LP (ft. Serj Tankian, M. Shadows and Tom Morello)

Adrian GarroCategories:Latest News

At this point, it’s anybody’s guess if the world might ever see a new album from System of a Down. It’s been 15 years since the incendiary rock/metal band‘s Mezmerize/Hypnotize records in 2005, after all — but drummer John Dolmayan is keeping busy, after urging his band mates a few month ago to “check the massive egos at the door” and release new music.

Today, Dolmayan unleashed his These Grey Men project, a collaborative album that re-imagines some well-known songs from all across the musical spectrum. The record kicks off with a bang, with Dolmayan and System of a Down vocalist Serj Tankian teaming up for a jaunty spin on Talking Heads “Road to Nowhere”:

And David Bowie‘s “Starman”:

To change things up, there’s a rendition of the Del Shannon classic “Runaway,” with vocals from Franky Perez:

And “Street Spirit (Fade Out)”, the ’90s Radiohead song re-interpreted with vocals from Avenged Sevenfold vocalist M. Shadows and Tom Morello on guitar duties:

Dolmayan then assumes the main focus on “Rock Bottom,” a drum solo feature structured around the Eminem track of the same name. It’s highly unexpected, as is Dolmayan’s salsa elements thrown into the mix.


Taking extensive creative liberties allowed Dolmayan to make these songs his own, such as with “Hung Up.” Technically a cover of the Madonna song, this new version features entirely different lyrics from singer Sirusho, not to mention a plug of the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young classic “Ohio”:

Said Dolmayan to Louder Sound regarding that decision:

“Madonna is cool, but her lyrics aren’t exactly substantial. So, I change the lyrics, because it just repeats the same thing over and over again and I lose interest. I took the Neil Young song Ohio and put some string in the middle part and it just gave it life. And the young lady that is singing it is an Armenian singer named Sirusho, and she kills it.”

In all, These Grey Men is a highly entertaining listening experience, and one folks probably didn’t expect from Dolmayan. I know I didn’t expect it, that’s for sure. Credit to him for the ambition.

“Road To Nowhere” (Talking Heads cover featuring Serj Tankian)
“Starman” (David Bowie cover featuring Serj Tankian)
“What I Know” (Two Door Cinema Club cover featuring Jonathan Dorr)
“Runaway” (Del Shannon cover featuring Franky Perez)
“Street Spirit” (Radiohead cover featuring M. Shadows and Tom Morello)
“Hung Up” (Madonna cover featuring Sirusho)
“Beautiful Thieves”  (AFI cover featuring Jonah Perry Nimoy)
“Rock Bottom” (Eminem cover)

Stream it below, via Spotify:

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