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Daron Vartan Malakian (born July 18, 1975) is an Armenian-American singer–songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He is best known as the lead guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist of the Grammy Award-winning rock band System of a Down. He is currently the lead singer and guitarist for the band, Scars on Broadway. Like the rest of the Hollywood-based band System of a Down, he is of Armenian ancestry, but is the only member to actually have been born inside the U.S. (Los Angelesmarker). He placed 30th in Guitar World's List of The 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time.

Music career

System of a Down

Daron Malakian met Serj Tankian in 1992, while they shared the same rehearsal studio in different bands. Serj was playing keyboard for a band, and Daron was singing lead vocals for another band. They formed a jam band called Soil (not to be confused with the Chicago band Soil). The band featured Serj on vocals/keyboards and Daron on guitar with Domingo Laranio on drums and Dave Hakopyan on bass. Around this time, they also met Shavo Odadjian. In 1994, after one supposed jam session recording and one live show at a bar called Whiskey a Go Go, Dave and Domingo left, thinking the band wasn't going anywhere.

The band later broke up and Tankian and Malakian formed a new band "System of a Down," based on a poem that Daron wrote entitled "Victims of the Down". Shavo Odadjian thought that the word System appealed to a much broader audience than "Victims," and they wanted their albums to be stored near the band Slayer's. Odadjian was the band's original manager and promoter, but joined as the bassist, and managerial duties were taken over by the Velvet Hammer Music and Management Group and founder David "Beno" Benveniste. Daron then asked his friend Ontronik "Andy" Khachaturian (whom had played in his first band with Daron at age 15 ) to join the band as the drummer. Andy was later replaced by their current drummer, John Dolmayan, due to a hand injury.

Malakian co-produced System of a Down's albums with Rick Rubin, as well as The Ambulance and Bad Acid Trip (a band on fellow member Serj Tankian's Serjical Strike Records). He recently started his own label, EatUrMusic, on which Amen is the first signed band. Malakian is also involved in a band called Scars on Broadway, with John Dolmayan. In 2003 Daron Malakian played with a variety of celebrities in the Celebrity Baseball Game in Hollywood. He wrote a song about the experience, "Old School Hollywood", which appears on System of a Down's album, Mezmerize.

Daron has stated in an interview that the band doesn't follow anybody: "A lot of bands followed Korn. We're not one of those bands but I have respect for Korn for being original. I just think it’s a shame that so many people felt they had to go and mimic that. Everyone tells us we have our own sound. I think that we have enough trust in our fans from touring for enough years to know that they're expecting something different from us, which is cool because it leaves the door open for us to go anywhere we want"

Scars on Broadway

In August 2009, Scars on Broadway, minus Malakian, traveled to Iraqmarker 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.

Personal life

Malakian now lives in Glendalemarker, California; he also has relatives in Iranmarker and Armenia, since his parents were born in those countries but immigrated to America. He has visited both countries. He enjoys collecting candles, Persian rugs, Hookahs, instruments and skulls . He is also an avid fan of the Los Angeles Kings. Since the tour cancellations from Scars, Daron has been out of the public eye for a year now, a lot of fans are starting to worry about Daron's whereabouts.

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. Also, Malakian made a surprise appearance at Shavo's 2009 Halloween Party and played Suite Pee, They Say, and an Unknown song with Odadjian and Dolmayan along with Franky Perez on lead guitar. This is the first time that System of a Down (minus Serj Tankian, who is working on his Jazz-Orchestra inspired record) played a show together in about 3 years.

On the 20th of November he played at the Chi Cheng Benefit concert along with Deftones, Shavo and Robert Trujillo.


System of a Down

Scars on Broadway

Other appearances

Year Artist Song Release and/or explanation
Live performances
2000 Metallica feat. Jonathan Davis and Daron Malakian "One"
Metallica feat. Serj Tankian and Daron Malakian "Mastertarium"
2003 "Creeping Death" Reading Festival 2003
The Ambulance feat. Daron Malakian "Stop"

Production credits

Malakian has also produced a number of albums.

Year Album Artist Credit(s)
1998 System of a Down System of a Down Producer, credited as System of a Down
2001 Toxicity Producer
2002 Steal This Album!
2004 Death Before Musick Amen Executive producer and A&R
Lynch the Weirdo Bad Acid Trip Producer
2005 Mezmerize System of a Down
2008 Scars on Broadway Scars on Broadway





Malakian often experiments with different combinations of heads combined with either a Marshall or a Mesa Boogie cabinet.



  • In 2002, System of a Down was nominated for a Grammy Award in Best Metal Performance for their song Chop Suey! but lost to Schism by Tool
  • In 2003, System of a Down was nominated for a Grammy Award in Best Hard Rock Performance for Aerials but lost to All My Life by Foo Fighters
  • In 2005, System of a Down won for Best Alternative Act in the Europe Music Awards
  • In 2006, System of a Down won their first Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance for B.Y.O.B.
  • In 2006, System of a Down won the "MTV Good Woodie Award" for their song Question!
  • In 2006, System of a Down's song Toxicity was #14 on the VH1 Top 40 Metal Songs list
  • In 2007, System of a Down was nominated for a Grammy Award in Best Hard Rock Performance for their song Lonely Day but lost to Woman by Wolfmother

Quotes by Malakian


  1. Exclusive Interview With Andy Khachaturian (ex-SOAD) :: The Official Unofficial System of a Down Site!
  2. Exclusive Interview With Andy Khachaturian (ex-SOAD) :: The Official Unofficial System of a Down Site

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