SERJ TANKIAN advised SYSTEM OF A DOWN bandmates to get a new singer | Revolver

SERJ TANKIAN advised SYSTEM OF A DOWN bandmates to get a new singer

Tankian's memoir confirms nu-metal firebrands have considered a vocalist switch
serjtankian_credit_travisshinn.jpg, Travis Shinn
photograph by Travis Shinn

It's no secret that System of a Down have a famously fractured musical relationship. While the band continues to reunite onstage — like for their upcoming co-headlining show with Deftones in San Francisco — despite a pair of singles that dropped in 2020, SOAD haven't seen eye to eye enough to make a full-length release in almost two decades.

Vocalist Serj Tankian reveals just how deep the fractures go in his forthcoming memoir, explaining that he even told his bandmates — guitarist Daron Malakian, bassist Shavo Odadjian and drummer John Dolmayan — to "find a new singer" seven years ago, and he might still be looking for that replacement.

Per an excerpt from Tankian's upcoming Down With the System: A Memoir (Of Sorts) (via Rolling Stone) the musician confesses that the issues between him and the rest of the group stem in part from his reluctance to tour, which is itself due in part to a back injury sustained while on the road. He notes that during a 2017 band meeting, he actively pushed for another vocalist to take his place.

He apparently tried to bring some levity to the request by joking about a "going-away party," before noting he was "no longer interested in touring both due to my back and because it's just no longer something within my vision."

"'Look guys, I've been very clear that… I don't want to hold you guys back. This is your dream,'" Tankian says to his bandmates in the excerpt. "'This is what you've worked for your whole life. You deserve to have this.' I looked at Daron, Shavo, and John, knowing what I said next would hit hard.

"I think you guys should find a new singer."

Tankian adds in the chapter that Odadjian later told him the rest of the band did attempt to take his advice and work with a new singer, but this person apparently couldn't get the screaming and growling vocals right. Tankian has since reportedly made other suggestions for his replacement, but the group have yet to actually take him up on the idea.

The fascinating excerpt, which you can read in full here, goes on to detail Tankian's sometimes "messy" relationship with his System bandmates, but he also notes they're also still his closest friends in the world.

Down With the System: A Memoir (Of Sorts) is out tomorrow (May 14th) via Hatchette Books.


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