Born18 July 1975
Who is Daron Malakian?
Daron Malakian is an Armenian-American multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, and record producer, best known as a guitarist, songwriter, and second vocalist for heavy metal act System of a Down and as leader of Scars on Broadway. Malakian's guitar style is instantly recognizable, evidenced by its drop-C tuning and obsession with angular riffing over soloing. Technically proficient, he is also devoted to grooves and hooks in his approach. His grainy, slightly reedy singing voice almost constantly wafts between a grainy baritone and a frenzied falsetto, which is most prevalent on Scars on Broadway's Dictator.
Infancy and Early Years of Daron Malakian
Malakian was born in Hollywood to artisan parents of Armenian origin from Iraq and Iran. His father, Vartan, is a painter, dancer, and choreographer, while his mother, Zepur, is a sculptor and teacher. Malakian's first love was heavy metal, encouraged by a cousin who played him a Kiss record when he was four. A few years later, Malakian started listening to Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motörhead, and Ozzy Osbourne, among others. Though he originally wanted to be a drummer, his parents, wary of the instrument's cacophonous potential, bought him a guitar instead. He began playing by ear at 11 and by 15 had developed his own diverse style. A year later, he was writing his own songs and absorbing the more extreme aspects of metal offered by Slayer, Pantera, early Metallica, and Sepultura, though he also cited the Kinks, the Who, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Iggy Pop as major influences. Daron is still a big Slayer fan, as his band member Shavo Odadjian (bass) who sometimes wears Slayer t-shirts to shows.
Daron went to Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School in the Los Feliz side of Hollywood, which his future bandmates Shavo Odadjian and Ontronik "Andy" Khachaturian (System of a Down's original drummer) also attended. System of a Down vocalist Serj Tankian attended the school as well, but he was many years above Malakian and the others. Malakian attended Glendale High School as a teenager. He is a lifelong fan of the Edmonton Oilers and has a large collection of Oilers-related memorabilia.
System of A Down
Daron met Serj Tankian in 1993, while they both shared the same rehearsal studio in different bands. Serj was playing keyboard for a band, and Daron was playing lead guitar for another band. They formed a jam band called Soil. Shavo Odadjian then became their bassist. They later changed their name to "System of a Down", based on a poem that Daron wrote. The poem's title was "Victims of a Down" But Serj Tankian thought System was a stronger word. They then recruited Andy Khachaturian for the drums, who was later replaced by their current drummer, John Dolmayan.
Scars on Broadway
In 2003, Daron Malakian (lead guitar and vocals), Greg Kelso (rhythm guitar), Casey Chaos (vocals), and Zach Hill (drums) recorded a demo tape entitled Ghetto Blaster Rehearsals, credited to the name Scars on Broadway. However, in 2007, an official letter appeared on the band's website that stated that these tracks are not in any way affiliated with Malakian's later project Scars on Broadway. Incidentally, these demo sessions produced "B.Y.O.B.", which would be a major hit for System of a Down in 2005.
Following System's hiatus, Malakian announced his latest project – Scars on Broadway – a band which would include System of a Down bassist, Shavo Odadjian, and himself. Ultimately, Odadjian was not involved with the band, and instead System of a Down drummer, John Dolmayan became a member. After Malakian and Dolmayan experimented with different musicians (for a period of nine months in 2007 – 2008) the band took form and forged its sound in intense rehearsals and recording sessions (under Malakian's direction at his home studio and Sunset Sound) with musicians Danny Shamoun on keyboards, Dominic Cifarelli on bass, and Franky Perez on guitar and backing vocals for live performances (in the studio Malakian played nearly all the instruments with the exception of drums which were played by Dolmayan and some overdubs provided by the other members). The group released an eponymous album in 2008, which featured the hit single "They Say" (written by Malakian). However, shortly before the tour supporting the album, Malakian cancelled all scheduled concert and TV appearances, blaming a lack of enthusiasm and that his "heart wasn't into touring." This sudden cancellation prompted speculation and rumors that the band had broken up. It was the last that would be heard of Malakian for more than a year.
In August 2009, Scars on Broadway, minus Malakian, traveled to Iraq for a USO tour across the U.S. army bases. Their setlist consisted of covers as well as a few Scars songs. Guitarist/vocalist Franky Perez stated on his Twitter that "the Scars tunes sound amazing but they're not the same without D..." He also stated before they left that Malakian had given them his blessing. In 2009 Franky Perez mentioned on his Twitter that he and the D-Man (Malakian) were going into studio to jam, this was the first news people have heard about Malakian's whereabouts for about a year.
On May 2, 2010, Malakian reunited with Scars on Broadway at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. It was the first time he had performed with the band since October 2008. The group played songs from their album as well as new songs. Odadjian performed with the band for two songs, playing guitar.
On February 24, 2012, System of a Down announced that the Scars on Broadway website was back online featuring a preview of a new song called "Guns Are Loaded".
On July 20, 2018, Daron Malakian and Scars on Broadway released the sophomore album Dictator.
Malakian is currently dating lawyer Gayane Khechoomian, the two began dating in late 2016, after being spotted together at a WWE event.