“I don’t want to hold you guys back. This is your dream.” Serj Tankian recalls the moment he invited System Of A Down to find a new singer, and even offered to train his replacement

System Of A Down
(Image credit: Armen Keleshian)

Serj Tankian has revealed that he invited System of a Down to find a new vocalist in 2017, telling his bandmates that he'd be happy to help train his replacement for the role.

Tankian's memories of the meeting, held at the band's management office in late 2017, are shared in his forthcoming memoir  Down With The System, an exclusive extract from which is reprinted on Rolling Stone's website today (May 13).

"Even when the band was making new music, I didn’t find the life cycle of a major-label artist particularly satisfying," Tankian admits in his book, which is due for publication tomorrow, May 14, via Headline. Going into the meeting he references, Tankian admits thinking, "With music, I’ve never made compromises and it’s always worked out, so why start now?"

At the meeting, Tankian told bandmates Daron Malakian, Shavo Odadjian and John Dolmayan, "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 think you guys should find a new singer... I’ll do press and talk about it positively. I’ll make it clear that I support you guys."

Tankian admits that his bandmates were "totally shocked"  by his announcement. But that they did consider the option, going as far to try out a new singer, who they ultimately rejected as they felt that he couldn’t "scream and growl."

"In more recent years, I pitched another friend to them as a potential replacement that they ought to seriously consider," he adds. "But I don’t think they ever did."

Metal Hammer has its own exclusive extract from Down With The System, which you can read here.

Serj Tankian's book

(Image credit: Headline)
Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.