Before his death in June, famed chef, television host and author Anthony Bourdain was called up by System of a Down's Armenian frontman, Serj Tankian, to visit the singer's homeland to experience the culture and life there for an episode of Bourdain's show Parts Unknown. The resulting episode aired back in May, and now Tankian has spoken openly on the gracious and open attitude Bourdain showed him during their week together filming.
In a recent interview published on Parts Unknown's official site, the singer recalls, "I was delighted like a schoolkid that he would come to Armenia and taste the food and get introduced to the culture. I also love the fact that he was brazen in terms of politics and not being afraid to speak out about his own."
Bourdain was also sure to highlight the atrocities of the Armenian Genocide, much to Tankian's surprise since many outlets have ignored the tragedy. He continues, "He spoke about the genocide on CNN with Anderson Cooper in the lead-up to the Armenia episode, which was something I didn't expect ... He didn't buy hypocrisy or think that we should do things because they're politically convenient. You saw it on every episode: He would go to a country and talk about the colonial days in postcolonial countries or who the ruling junta was. "
More memories of their week together are shared, and it's apparent the rapport and mutual respect between the two stars was genuine. When asked what he learned from Bourdain, Serj responds, "He had this amazing way of analyzing stuff quickly. His mind was incredibly sharp. You have a lot of bland conversations with people in our world, in cities like LA and even New York. But I appreciate someone who is free to be themselves, whose mind was incredibly focused on subjects like art, literature, music, food, politics, geopolitics."
System of a Down's seminal album Toxicity celebrated an anniversary last month. Read more here to find out stories you didn't know from its recording.