During an appearance on a recent episode of the "Rock & Roll Beer Guy" podcast, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH drummer Charlie "The Engine" Engen spoke about how his life has changed since he was named the replacement for FIVE FINGER's original drummer, Jeremy Spencer, in the fall of 2018. "Financially, it was amazing, because it was the first time I had any sort of balance in my life," Charlie said. "I've always been 'feast or famine' my entire existence, which, on one hand, has been good, because it taught me a lot of different things. And I never gave in to 'The Man' sort of a thing, so I always kept my head on my shoulders. I had corporate jobs and whatnot, but they'd last a year before I'd be, like, 'All right. I can't do this anymore.' So as far as financially, it was just great to get some stability in my life. "Money-wise, not to beat it to death or get into details with it, at first when I joined them, it was right into a tour, so it was contract based, because they didn't know if they'd keep me around…," he revealed. "So that was contractual. Now we're just word-of-mouth agreement, essentially, because that's the way they like to operate, and I prefer that as well. You don't feel like you're getting treated like a fill-in puzzle piece. They did a great job of making me feel like a bandmember out of the gate, knowing that, obviously, from my angle, coming into a freight train that's moving a thousand miles an hour that's already now established as a premier rock band. And for them, like, 'Hey, we got this new guy on. Have fun.' They were really good about keeping it all cool, and it never felt, like, 'All right, man. Don't screw this up,' or anything like that.' He added: "Yeah, it started as a contract, and now it's just word of mouth. And it's nice — it feels good. Especially getting a record under the belt now too — it helps. It's a great situation for me." Spencer, who co-founded FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH with guitarist Zoltan Bathory, underwent back surgery in the fall of 2018 that required a significant recovery period. In announcing his exit from the group, he said: "The rigorous physical wear and tear has worn down my body to the point where I feel I can no longer deliver a performance you great fans deserve and one that brings me satisfaction and joy." Bathory previously described Charlie as "an unbelievable drummer," adding that: "The funny thing was that Jeremy kind of found him, but I followed him, so when he said who it is, I'm, like, 'Oh, yeah! That kid is fucking amazing.' So I already knew about him. So that was pretty cool. So I guess you can say that Jeremy handed down the torch." The 35-year-old Engen, who was previously identified only as "a drum prodigy" called "The Engine", played his first show with FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH on November 6, 2018 in Wichita, Kansas. The Saint Paul, Minnesota-based Engen had been teaching drums for more than 15 years and offered private and Skype lessons at his home studio, along with playing in the bands SCALE THE SUMMIT and IDEOLOGY. Engen made his recording debut with FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH on the band's latest album, "F8", which came out in February.
SYSTEM OF A DOWN drummer John Dolmayan, who is currently promoting his "These Grey Men" solo album, talked to "Whiplash", the KLOS radio show hosted by Full Metal Jackie, about the band's stalled attempts to record a follow-up to its "Mezmerize" and "Hypnotize" LPs, which came out in 2005. Speaking about what a hypothetical new SYSTEM studio album would sound like, John said (hear audio below): "I think that had we made an album every three to four years, you would have seen an incredible growth and expression come out of SYSTEM. "It's a sadness for me that we never really fully met our potential and probably never will. Even if you release an album now, you can't get back the years that you did nothing. And I think if you talk to some of the other members of my band, they don't look at it that way, because they weren't idle necessarily." He continued: "The bottom line is that although you can do something on your own, even with my solo album, 'These Grey Men', I didn't have the benefit of the three other guys in my band who are so instrumental in developing the sound that I've come to be accustomed to, the song quality, the writing style, the lyrical content. Everybody brought something unique to SYSTEM OF A DOWN, and the bottom line is when you go and do your own project, you're gonna do the best you can to make it great, but you don't have the benefit of the talent of the other people that were in your band with you. And I think each of our solo projects are poorer for it, although there's a lot of positive and good content coming out of each of us individually, it still pales in comparison to what we could have accomplished together. "But that's neither here nor there; it's not something that's in my power," John added. "My band is stupid, and we're gonna continue to be stupid, I guess. But we're not alone. TOOL was stupid for a long time, and RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE has been quiet for some time too." In 2018, guitarist Daron Malakian publicly accused singer Serj Tankian of not wanting to record, with Tankian responding that creative and financial issues with Malakian led to the stalemate. In a message on Facebook, Tankian wrote that Malakian wanted to control SYSTEM's creative process, take more of the publishing money and be the only band member to speak to the press. Last year, Serj told Rolling Stone that the public airing of his dispute with Daron didn't open up any more conversations about SYSTEM's future. "I think it released a lot of tension and negativity," he said. "Everything became more public and open, and that was that. There were no further discussions." SYSTEM OF A DOWN played a couple of live shows in May 2019, including headlining slots at Columbus, Ohio's Sonic Temple festival and Chicago Open Air. The band was scheduled to play a number of European festivals this summer, but all of those shows have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic which is sweeping the globe. As previously reported, SYSTEM OF A DOWN, KORN and FAITH NO MORE's two concerts at Banc Of California stadium in Los Angeles, California, which were originally set to to take place on May 22 and May 23, 2020, have been rescheduled for May 21 and May 22, 2021. Existing tickets will be honored for the new dates