Serj Tankian Gave Permission To SOAD To Audition A New Singer

Rolling Stone recently shared an excerpt from Serj Tankian’s new memoir, ‘Down With The System.’ The frontman revealed in the book that he asked his System Of A Down bandmates to find another singer to replace him in 2017.

Tankian found the intense touring with the band not ‘very artistically fulfilling’ and had issues with his back. He shared this with the others back then during a meeting at their manager’s office:

“‘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.'”

The Band Did Audition A New Singer

Tankian also offered to help his bandmates find and train a new frontman, but they convinced him to wait. They decided to scale back on touring as a solution instead.

Later, SOAD members auditioned an artist to be their potential vocalist. Tankian only found out about it at a fundraiser event in Glendale long after the meeting:

“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.’”

He continued:

“I was taken aback. Not that they had been auditioning replacements, but that they’d kept it a secret. ‘Why didn’t you guys ever tell me?’ I whispered. Shavo shrugged. ‘I dunno.’”

Tankian Is Still Leading The Lineup

Serj Tankian offered to teach the auditioned singer how to growl and pitched another singer to the band in recent years, but the lineup remained unchanged.

SOAD released two new singles with Tankian in 2020 despite not creating a full album since 2005 due to creative differences. They also headlined the Sick New World festival in Las Vegas on April 27.

The band currently has another one-off show at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on August 17 with co-headliners Deftones, The Mars Volta, Viagra Boys, and VOWWS.