Serj Tankian explains offer for System Of A Down to replace him: “I think it would take something away… but I would be OK with it”

Serj Tankian
(Image credit: Travis Shinn)

System Of A Down singer Serj Tankian has elaborated on his offers for the nu metal band to continue without him.

In a recent Metal Hammer interview, the 56-year-old said that he previously told his bandmates he’d be OK with them replacing him.

The revelation was made in response to drummer John Dolmayan’s claims that Tankian “hasn’t wanted to be in the band for a long time”.

The singer said: “The option has always been there for the band to move on without me, and John knows that.”

Now, talking to the Broken Record podcast, Tankian has spoken further about his stance on System Of A Down continuing without him, stating he’s still open to the idea.

“Absolutely. I’ve offered them that opportunity and been very supportive of it many years,” he says (via Blabbermouth).

“If they wanted to do that, if they wanted to continue in a way that I didn’t – for example, if they wanted to tour a lot and I just wanna do a couple of shows here and there, because I’m not into touring a lot, to be fair to them, if they wanted to do that, I’m totally open to it still.”

However, Tankian adds that replacing him would take some of the “prestige and legacy” away from the band.

“I’m not sure they want to do that.

“They haven’t until now, and I think it would take something away from the prestige and legacy of the band itself, but as friends and as someone who cares very much about my partners, I would be okay with it.”

Later in the podcast, Tankian says that removing any member from the current lineup would make it not “really” System Of A Down.

“Everything that each person is – from their personality to their playing style to how they think, how they feel and the combination thereof – make System Of A Down what it is.

“If you take any particle away from this compound, it’s not going to be System Of A Down. It could be called System Of A Down, but it's not going to really be System Of A Down.

“Even the stubbornness and the creative differences, everything, the push and pull, the manicness, the calmness, all of the above is what makes who we are.”

Tankian released his memoir, Down With The System, via Hachette Books on May 28.

The vocalist recently had a back-and-forth with pop-rock group Imagine Dragons over their decision to play in Azerbaijan last year.

The country has been accused of preparing to commit genocide against ethnic Armenians in its Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Tankian, who is of Armenian descent, wrote on Instagram: “I have nothing against this guy [singer Dan Reynolds] nor his band. I just hate artists being taken advantage of to whitewash Genocidal dictatorships.”

System Of A Down haven’t released a new album since 2005 double-release Mezmerize and Hypnotize, though they continue to perform live.

The band put out two new singles, Protect The Land and Genocidal Humanoidz, in 2020.

Serj Tankian | Broken Record - YouTube Serj Tankian | Broken Record - YouTube
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Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.