Sunday, February 5, 2012

The #96 Guitarist of the Rock Era: Daron Malakian

At #96, the youngest member of The Top 100 Guitarists of the Rock Era*--Daron Malakian:
#96:  Daron Malakian, System of a Down
 23 years as an active guitarist

Malakian was born July 18, 1975 in Hollywood, California, the youngest member of The Top 100* so far. He is the lead guitarist and chief songwriter for System of a Down. He also has recorded with the group Scars on Broadway.

A cousin played a KISS record for Malakian when he was four years old and he was hooked. Daron began listening to Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne and Motorhead. Malakian received his first guitar at age 11. He taught himself to play by ear. Malakian values the guitar as a songwriting tool--as he says, "I don't pretend to be Mr. Guitar Virtuoso." As a teenager, Daron began listening the Beatles and cites John Lennon as one of his greatest influences. 

Malakian met Serg Tankian, Shavo Odadjian and Ontronik "Andy" Khachaturian at Alex Pilibos Armenian School in Hollywood, California. Malakian and Tankian shared a rehearsal studio when they were in different bands. The two soon formed a jam band called Soil with bassist Dave Hakopyan and drummer Domingo Laraino. Odadjian became their manager and then joined as a rhythm guitarist. Soil broke up but Malakian, Tankian and Odadjian (who had switched to bass) then formed a new band with the name System of a Down, based on a poem that Daron had written. Then then brought in Andy Khachaturian on drums; he was replaced in 1997 by John Dolmayan.

When System went on a hiatus, Malakian formed Scars on Broadway with John Dolmayan. The pair auditioned other members and eventually decided on Danny Shamoun on keyboards, bassist Dominic Cifarelli and Franky Perez on guitar. The group released their self-titled album in 2008 but Malakian wasn't into touring and the band was inactive until Daron reunited with the group at the Troubadour in West Hollywood on May 2, 2010.

System of a Down reunited for a number of shows but at this time has no plans to record a new album.

Malakian comes in at #96 for the Rock Era*.

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