Often times, side projects are some of the trickiest business in rock and roll music. A side project can be defined as a project undertaken by one or more musicians already known for their involvement in another group, usually one that has achieved some degree of mainstream popularity. Over the few decades since rock and roll was born, side projects have come and gone quite regularly, however there are some that have attained a strong following of fans. The examples of side bands are endless with Maynard James Keenan from Tool’s A Perfect Circle, Green Day’s Foxboro Hot Tubs, Jack White of the White Stripe’s The Raconteurs and Probot, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters’ side metal band. Side projects have always been very volatile for fans of rock music. Some are embraced while others are discarded as a feeble attempt at grasping the success that the artist has already achieved with their other musical endeavor. One current, fresh and new side project that is looking as though it will actually be a worthy band is the new project from System of a Down members Daron Malakian and John Dolmayan called Scars on Broadway. Let’s take a look at how this whole side group came to be.
Even though we are just now witnessing the materialization of this musical undertaking, it has actually been in the works for a couple of years now. Towards the end of 2005, a busy year for System of a Down with the release of the Mezmerize/Hypnotize combo, Malakian found himself with a wealth of material of his own laying around. At that point, he decided that after System was finished touring behind their two latest records, he was going to go and work on some solo music just as System lead singer Serj Tankian had planned to do. When they finally got off the road, the band began an extended hiatus which allowed Malakian lots of time to work on and tweak the mass amount of material he had compiled. Soon Dolmayan was brought into the mix to drum and suddenly a full fledged band was coming together.
Despite all the songs that were lying around, there was still an album that needed to be made if Scars on Broadway was to become anything more than a rumour or fantasy. To do this, Malakian, along with Dolmayan, tirelessly tweaked and adapted the songs upon entering the recording studio in fall, 2007. The two recorded about two-dozen tracks for the album before picking from the best and whittling that figure down to the fourteen songs that now appear on the album. While some may be quick to dismiss this project and write it off as just a cheap System of a Down rip-off, the final product is anything but. Sonically, Scars on Broadway’s sound is far more song based and rock and roll driven which differs from the hard, speed metal that we’ve come to expect from System. Malakian has cited rock legends such as Iggy Pop, David Bowie and Neil Young as influences on this material, something that might help explain the more rock based sound.
On the touring side of things, Scars on Broadway will be hitting the road in full force this summer and fall to promote the release of their debut self-titled album. The record will hit stores on July 29th with the first single “They Say” already on radio stations across North America. The band will embark on a European tour beginning at the end of August and running through the fall. To bring the music to life in a live setting, Dolmayan and Malakian have brought aboard guitarist Franky Perez, keyboardist Danny Shamoun and bass guitarist Dominic Cifarelli. If Scars on Broadway is any evidence then it truly is possible for a musician to have not one but two popular and talented bands at the same time. Let’s hope Malakian and Dolmayan can keep up this one-two punch for years to come. [ END ]