Serj Tankian Reveals System Of A Down Held Auditions for a New Singer in 2018 After He Offered to Leave the Band

Total Views : 25
Zoom In Zoom Out Read Later Print

After Tankian expressed his reluctance to tour further and indicated that he didn't want to hinder the band's progress, System Of A Down began seeking a new singer in response.

Serj Tankian has revealed that System Of A Down began searching for a new singer in 2018 after he offered to leave the band.

In an excerpt from his new memoir "Down With the System: A Memoir (Of Sorts)" shared with Rolling Stone, Tankian reflected on his dislike for touring, which led to his decision to suggest to his bandmates in System Of A Down that they continue without him so they could pursue their dream.

Tankian detailed in the memoir: “Towards the end of 2017, we had a band meeting at [the band’s manager] Beno’s office. When I arrived, I told everyone that I had an item I wanted to add to the agenda. We went through the rigamarole of regular business discussions, and then it came time for my item.”

“‘So, who’s going to throw me a going-away party?’ I asked the group. ‘Do one of you guys want to be the master of ceremonies?’ I laughed a little, but I was serious. ‘Look guys, I’ve been very clear that I’m no longer interested in touring both due to my back and because it’s just no longer something within my vision.'”

“‘The thing is, though,’ I continued, ‘I don’t want to hold you guys back. This is your dream. 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.'”

He carried on, later adding that the band pushed back against the idea and they dropped the topic altogether. However, some time later, the band would gather at a charity event, where Tankian was informed that the band had begun looking at new singers.

“I sort of thought they’d forgotten about the whole idea of hiring a new singer, but a year or so later, John, Shavo, and I were at a fundraiser in Glendale, and this singer I knew got up and sang this beautiful Armenian song. Shavo was sitting next to me at the table. He leaned over and tapped me on the shoulder.”

“‘By the way,’ he nodded toward the singer, ‘we tried this guy out as a singer. The only problem was that he couldn’t scream and growl.’ I was taken aback. Not that they had been auditioning replacements, but that they’d kept it a secret.”

Tankian continued, writing: “‘Why didn’t you guys ever tell me?’ I whispered. Shavo shrugged. ‘I dunno.’ I turned toward Shavo, now looking directly at him. ‘Listen, he’s a good singer,’ I said. ‘I can literally take him in the car park right now and teach him how to growl. You should really consider him.'”

Serj Tankian also shared that in “more recent years”, he had pitched a close friend as a potential replacement but he doesn’t think the band ever seriously considered the offer.

It appears that for the time being, the band is sticking to their decision to keep Tankian in the band, and have significantly reduced the number of live shows they perform. The band performed only one show in 2023, and have played only one show so far this year. They are next scheduled to play a one-off show with Deftones, The Mars Volta and more in August. The show is now sold out.

In 2020, System Of A Down made a comeback with their first new release in 15 years – the double A-side single ‘Protect The Land’ and ‘Genocidal Humanoidz’ – to raise awareness and funds amid “a dire and serious war” between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. All proceeds supported humanitarian efforts in SOAD’s ancestral homeland of Armenia.

In other news, Tankian recently announced a new solo EP, ‘Foundations’, which will be his first project since releasing the solo EP ‘Perplex Cities’ in 2022.