System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian Reflects On Tough Times With Toxicity Album Release: ‘It Was Horribly Stressful’
Among the discography of system of a DownToxicity is perhaps the band’s most beloved album (by fans and critics alike). But for the singer of System, Serge Tankianthe release of this opus was marked by a period of “intense stress”.
Despite the album’s immense success – it reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 12 million copies worldwide – some of the Toxicity lyrics, including those from the single Chop Suey! sparked negative reactions following the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York City, which took place a week after it was released.
Following the attacks, Tankian published a controversial article titled “Understanding Oil” on the System Of A Down website. This talk was supposed to offer an unbiased analysis of the background to these tragic attacks, but (unsurprisingly) it sparked outrage from some American fans.
In this series of misfortunes, a riot also broke out in Los Angeles after the cancellation of a show scheduled for the release of Toxicity (the day before the album was released), which also led to further controversy at the regard to the group.
In a new interview with Metal injectionthe singer returned to this time: “To be on tour the week after 9/11, knowing that there are still several months to go, even though we are not a political group, is a challenge because there are daily threats on television, threats orange, red threats, all these different types of terrorist threats, etc. And on top of that, we were also threatened by many people because of our outspokenness. So it was a very, very difficult time.”
He continued: “And the release of Toxicity caused a riot in LA We unwittingly caused a riot in Hollywood because of our exit event which, in fact, attracted too many people. The fire chief ordered everything to stop, people reacted and there were fights. We lost our equipment, our team was assaulted, and then there were riots in LA and we had to explain what was happening to the media, and it was a fucking mess.
He added : “When I think of Toxicity, everyone is like, ‘Oh, this is your best album or your best-selling record,’ whatever you want to call it. And they’re like, ‘How was it? How did you experience that?’. As if they were waiting for a memory or a truly positive response. But it was fucking stressful. That’s what I remember. I didn’t feel like a musician. I didn’t feel like I was making music. It was stressful enough. It was really, really tricky. This is what I remember, this is the emotion that predominates.
Additionally, Tankian recently released a new solo EP titled Perplex Cities.
He has also indicated in other interviews that he does not wish to tour with System Of A Down in the near future, but he seems more and more open to the idea of making new music with SOAD one of these days.
Serj Tankian – Forgive me Father: