SYSTEM OF A DOWN singer Serj Tankian spoke to ARTISTdirect about the band’s current status, including its continued lack of new music.
“Of course, we have a lot of fans and people interested in getting a record sooner rather than later,” Serj said. “Things take time though. Everyone has a life and has to have the right frame of mind to make a record at the same time… I’ve been touring with SYSTEM, The FCC, and orchestras around the world. I haven’t stopped. There hasn’t been much time off. I want to make sure I have time for myself and my family.”
He continued: “Only the four of us can decide what SYSTEM means. I know the fans agree that’s what SYSTEM is, and that’s amazing.
“I can’t write a forced record. It’s like romancing someone at a time you don’t want to be romantic. It’s not even a choice. We’ve enjoyed touring a lot. All of the tours have been well received. We play really tightly — probably better than we ever have. It’s been cool.
“A new record requires three years. It’s not something I can do right now. When I can commit to a three-year album cycle, I’ll be down to do it.
‘You can’t take orders. We’re not making pizza. [laughs] You can’t do it on anyone else’s timeframe.
SYSTEM OF A DOWN bassist Shavo Odadjian last month posted a series of statements at his Facebook page in which he directly blamed Tankian for the band’s lack of new material, saying that the vocalist was holding the group back. Odadjian wrote in a post riddled with spelling errors, “I’ll come clean.. It’s not us, meaning Daron [Malakian, guitar], John [Dolmayan, drums] or Shavo!! It’s Serj, who doesn’t want to do a new album . . . now he might hate me for exposing the truth but I had too. Sorry folks!!! We’re trying to get a new album out, it’s just not passing Serj’s RULES!”
Odadjian hinted that he would be happy to work with a new singer, saying, “I’m ready to release (a new album) with someone who wants to be the singer of SYSTEM, not someone we have to beg to be a part of SYSTEM!! So with that in mind, what do you guys (think we) should do? Just remember, he’s been holding us back for 7 years so far — wanna wait another five years? Or shall we release a record without Serj?”
Odadjian added, “No diss to Serj . . . If he wants to be in the band, then he’s welcome, but if he’s not? What do you expect us 3 to do??”
Odadjian told The Pulse Of Radio a while back that he could never envision SYSTEM OF A DOWN going away permanently. “We’re brothers, man, we’ll take bullets for each other,” he said. “So it’s like, you kind of miss each other after a while and you, one guy makes the first move, then another starts making phone calls….this is a juggernaut, man. SYSTEM OF A DOWN is my lifeline. It’ll never go away. We could not make a record for 10 years — that’s not gonna happen, but I’m just saying we could — and we’ll come back strong.”
SYSTEM OF A DOWN released a statement shortly after Odadjian made his remarks, saying, “Earlier today, Shavo posted a few statements on his personal Facebook page that do not reflect the sentiments of SYSTEM OF A DOWN as a collective band. These were misleading statements that were made during a temporary state of bad judgment on his part alone.”
The statement added that the full lineup of SYSTEM will be performing its upcoming live dates, which will take place mostly in Europe but include a July 29 gig at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
As for a new album, the statement from the band said, “Although we have not agreed on a timetable for a new album, we all believe that having the four of us do it together is the way to be true to the band and our fans.”
Tankian has been the busiest of all four SYSTEM members since the band went on indefinite hiatus in 2006, releasing three solo studio albums and one live set, with a jazz disc and a symphony on the way this summer.
Dolmayan and Malakian started the on-again, off-again SCARS ON BROADWAY, while Odadjian collaborated in a project called ACHOZEN.