Serj Tankian Won't Do System of a Down Tour Due to Health Issues | Revolver

Serj Tankian Won't Do System of a Down Tour Due to Health Issues

Singer still dealing with life-altering health problems after last year's back surgery
serj tankian system of a down 2017 GETTY, Francesco Castaldo
System of a Down's Serj Tankian, 2017
photograph by Francesco Castaldo

Rumors have begun to swirl that System of a Down are teasing something big after frontman Serj Tankian mentioned in a recent interview that his band "will be making an announcement about something next year that I can't really tell you about." However, based on what Tankian told Metal Injection in a different interview just last week, fans shouldn't get their hopes up about a full-scale System of a Down tour of any kind.

While speaking about his new solo EP, Perplex Cities, that comes out later this week, Tankian was asked if System of a Down would be interested in doing an anniversary tour for their 2001 smash, Toxicity, which recently turned 20. Tankian essentially shot down that prospect, and he revealed that a major reason are a series of ongoing health issues he's been quietly dealing with, including a back surgery that he underwent sometime in 2021 and some lingering problems that he says are affecting his mobility.

"Toxicity by itself is too short to play as a set," Tankian said of a potential tour based on that album. "Right, so that's one. But second is that I have, you know, based on my health issues and kind of redundancy in doing the same thing over and over again in terms of touring, it's something I'm not very interested in doing at this time. Not just for System, for my own stuff, for orchestra or solo stuff. I just haven't been touring.

"I also had back surgery last year," he continued. "I've got certain issues that I'm getting over that are health issues that are affecting my mobility. I mean, I walk fine and I'm able to do stuff and I could perform. But the travel of a tour really, really affects me at this point.

"That and, to be honest with you, it's not in my creative purview, you know? So a show here and there we've done and might still do. But as far as doing a specific thing, it's not really something where I'm at right now."

Tankian went on to say that the repetition of being on tour for weeks or months at a time is a routine that wears on him, so it's more than just his health issues, he's just not creatively inspired right now by the idea of hitting the road and playing the same songs every night.

"When you're doing a full tour, those first two or three shows are really exciting, you know? Because you haven't toured in a while and you're playing the sets. You're out there and you're moving around and then you got the same set on the fourth show, fifth show, sixth show.

"By the 10th show, it's fucking, what's that movie? The Bill Murray one? Groundhog Day," he said of the film in which a man gets trapped in a loop of repeating the same day over and over ad infinitum. "You know, it becomes Groundhog Day. And you still have fun because it's a different audience, different city and all that, but it becomes a bit automatic, mechanical, a bit.

"And to me, that's redundant artistically. Having one show that's in a special place, done in a special way, is more interesting."