System of a Down Real Meaning Of Name Revealed


System of a Down singer Serj Tankian has revealed the real meaning of the band’s name in a new Q 104.3 interview.

Getting back to just the name of your group, how did you decide on ‘System of a Down’? Was it your call, was it a joint call with everyone in the group?

“Our guitarist Daron Malakian had a poem called ‘Victims of a Down,’ and we thought the word ‘victims’ was a negative connotation, and so we kind of changed that to System, and that’s where the name of the group comes from.”

Have anyone else ever told you that you remind them of Frank Zappa?

“I get that all the time. I used to get it more often actually when I had a full beard and longer kind of noodly hair, but yeah, thank you – that’s a huge compliment, I love Zappa.

“I got to visit his studio when his wife was still alive, and actually shot some footage – to see his studio and learn more about him was incredible.”

What was fascinating was System of a Down performing for the first time in Armenia in 2015. There was somebody in the audience – and that was 50,000 strong coming out to see you – there was somebody in that audience who was ultimately ended up being a member of a very corrupt government, but he was inspired from your 2015 concert to really lead a peaceful revolution. So you, Serj Tankian, are a part of a peaceful revolution. How many people can say that?

“I’ve always been critical of injustice and hypocrisy, whether it’s in the US, whether it’s in other countries in the world, and so I didn’t have a problem criticizing the post-Soviet oligarchic corrupt policies of, at the time, the Armenian government, and wrote open letters to the president at the time when he got re-elected in 2013, and whatnot.

“So I’m always trying to help people find justice in that country or elsewhere. The particular event that you’re talking about is in 2015, on April 24th, at the 100th-year commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, where System of a Down for the first time played in Armenia.

“We broadcasted that through Rolling Stone so the world could see, and it was just an incredible event, an incredible show.

“And among the people there I learned later was the current Prime Minister of Armenia, who led the Velvet Revolution of 2018, a peaceful revolution to change Armenia into a more progressive democracy.

“And beyond the show itself, though I’ve been involved in the kind of day-to-day activism of not just the country, but the movement itself, and went to Armenia at the tail end of the revolution, it was just incredible, an incredible feeling.”

Here’s a man who basically started the revolution by walking across the country in peaceful protest, saying, ‘If you want any violence, you are not with us. We want peaceful change.’ But it started with just a few people walking, and it became this movement, just imagine this happening in this country. I didn’t have any idea this happened.

“We have an incredible other film called ‘I Am Not Alone,’ that’s an award-winning film that’s coming out this year that specifically documents the 2018 Armenian Velvet Revolution, and the incredible, almost accidental learning of something called Decentralized Civil Disobedience, that if used is a potent weapon for democracy and protest around the world.

“We’ve been trying to get this film out for a number of years, we’ve won about 10 or 12 film festival awards, and it’s an incredible film, and you’ll be able to see it soon.

“Look, it was a very unique thing that occurred – unfortunately, bringing us up to date now, which I have to, because of the last year on September 27th, the combined forces of Azerbaijan and Turkey along with Syrian mercenaries attacked the Armenian enclave of Artsakh, the independent republic of Artsakh.

“And there were a lot of deaths, there’s a lot of confusion, there’s a lot of anger, a lot of displaced people in a humanitarian catastrophe that was thrown upon this government post-revolution, so they started a peaceful revolution, but got handed a very unpeaceful, extremely horrible war two-and-a-half years later.

“So the country is really, really in a very grieving, difficult time right now, so it’s interesting to talk about the revolution in a positive light, and yet we’re here in a very negative light in the current state of Armenia.”

Ultimate-Guitar provided the quotes.