SYSTEM OF A DOWN singer Serj Tankian says that there have been "no further discussions" about the band recording a follow-up to its 2005 albums "Mezmerize" and "Hypnotize".
This past summer, SYSTEM guitarist Daron Malakian publicly accused Tankian of not wanting to record, with Tankian responding that creative and financial issues with Malakian led to the stalemate. In a message on Facebook, Tankian wrote that Malakian wanted to control SYSTEM's creative process, take more of the publishing money and be the only band member to speak to the press.
Asked what happened after he and Malakian had a back-and-forth in the press about why SYSTEM hasn't made a new record, Tankian told Rolling Stone: "We got together to rehearse, said hi and had a conversation and just carried things forward as we've always done. We've been friends and together for 25 to 30 years. That's a long time. The difference between business and bands are people know when they're working within a business, but when they're in a band, it's confusing because you're also very close friends. There are times when you have to say, 'Okay, this is not working on the business end but I love you.' With bands, you rarely see that happening."
He continued: "The reason I posted what I did is because I didn't want any negative security threats against any of us, in terms of, 'Fuck you. You're the reason that no SYSTEM record's being made.' For me, it was just saying, 'Look. I've tried. We've tried. We just haven't been able to see eye to eye. It's not because we're lazy. We're still friends. We still tour.' This is the truth."
According to Serj, the public airing of his dispute with Daron didn't open up any more conversations about SYSTEM's future. "I think it released a lot of tension and negativity," he told Rolling Stone. "Everything became more public and open, and that was that. There were no further discussions."
Tankian also responded to Daron's comment that the singer was never really a "heavy metal" or "rock" guy.
"I think he meant was the heavier elements of the band come from him and Shavo [Odadjian, bass], which is true," Serj said. "Growing up, I did listen to heavy music, but my background was all sorts of world music, if you will. I grew up listening to a lot of Armenian, Arabic and European music — all types of music. In the '70s, I listened to disco and funk.
"My brother introduced me to a lot of heavy metal. The first time I heard SLAYER, my brother played it in the house and I became a fan. I was more of a binge-and-purge music listener. I would listen to death metal for three months — the best of any death metal I could find — and then the next three months I'd listen to hip-hop. Then punk for three months. I didn't have the same heavy rock roots as Shavo and Daron."
Odadjian confirmed in a recent interview with Consequence Of Sound that disagreements between Malakian and Tankian over the band's songwriting process have been brewing for a decade, explaining, "That stuff happened a long time ago. So, it's like, 10 years later, something new came up, but it wasn't really new. It was something that was really old, and they were just hashing it out."
Odadjian added that Malakian may have been misquoted or had his comments taken out of context, saying, "We're not even fighting. When we see each other, we're so happy and we're cool. It's weird that we don't have a new record, or many records, and it's weird that we don't go on world tours. We tour, but it's so little."
SYSTEM drummer John Dolmayan revealed in a 2016 interview that the group had written music for more than a dozen new songs. Odadjian concurred, remarking: "Between you and me and this world, and to the people who read this interview, we have material that tops everything we've done. And that's me telling you, honestly. I can't wait to record that and drop it."
SYSTEM OF A DOWN has several live shows on tap for 2019, including headlining slots at Columbus, Ohio's Sonic Temple festival and Chicago Open Air, both in May.