Earlier this week, System of a Down (SOAD) frontman Serj Tankian took to Instagram with an unexpected message for some of the band’s fans, in wake of the Black Lives Matter protests triggered by the killing of George Floyd.
In the June 16 post, the Armenian-American musician labelled those who simultaneously enjoy one of the political-rock group’s early demo songs, in particular, and support U.S. President Donald Trump as “hypocrites.”
“If you love this song or play along to it and love Trump, you’re a hypocrite. Just a simple fact,” wrote Tankian, 52 in the post, before sharing the lyrics to the fan-favourite demo, Temper.
The Chop Suey singer also used a colon and a closing parenthesis to end his statement with a smiling emoticon.
View this post on Instagram
A very early @systemofadown song that was on one of our demos-lyrics below: if you love this song or play along to it and love Trump, you’re a hypocrite-just a simple fact 🙂 "Temper" We want peace with Patriot missiles, Blown to bits are civilian targets, Parade! Laugh! Rejoice! Sing! We’re the victors of…nothing, Spend more money on a war, Your people starving, turned to whores, Slaves of the chosen one paying millions for each bomb, Country without a race , Formed from people you disgrace , White right conservative might , Killers of Kennedy's with no fright , The American way! Freedom cried the marching man, Flags ripped out of their black hands , Beaten! Slain! Tortured! Killed! Their only mistake was being born here , Invade countries just for oil , Send your troops all down to boil , Iraq! Grenada! Nam and Chile! Truman doctrine our own way , Country without a race , Formed from people you disgrace , White right conservative might , Killers of Kennedy's with no fright , The American way! The Government (FBI-CIA) here can suck my balls , Policing the world in overalls , Armed rebellion minority , Disrespected race, color, mind , Crazed loonies all walk the streets , Missing children on milk cartons , Mother selling child for crack , Mr. President check your back , Country without a race , Formed from people you disgrace, White right conservative might , Killers of Kennedy's with no fright , The American way! The American way! The American way!
A post shared by Serj Tankian (@serjtankian) on Jun 16, 2020 at 12:57am PDT
With lyrics like “Freedom cried the marching man / Flags ripped out of their black hands” and “Beaten, slain, tortured, killed / Their only mistake was being born here,” the song preaches ideals like worldwide equality, anti-war and anti-oppression, while taking aim at the U.S.
The early, unfinished demo was recorded between 1997 and 1998 and has been played live by the band on only a handful of occasions since then.
Though Tankian has not explicitly addressed Dolmayan’s political opinions, many fans believe his Instagram post was aimed towards the drummer.
“Serj Tankian has unfollowed John Dolmayan on Instagram and made a post saying that anyone who ‘plays along’ to SOAD songs and loves Trump is a hypocrite,” wrote a Twitter user. “I’ve been waiting for this!”
“System of a Down won’t come back together because Serj Tankian will beat John Dolmayan’s a— for being a Trump supporter,” tweeted another.
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The reason I post my opinions on this forum and open myself up to attack and ridicule is for you , the silent ones who think they are alone in a world where their thoughts are alien or wrong. You’re not alone , millions are with you. For those of you who think you are coming from a morally superior position therefore any differing opinion or viewpoint is invalid think again. It’s the easy path to think like you , it’s in their best self interests for celebrities and politicians to support you but you will lose in the end because you are the very thing you pretend to fight against. The true fascist, the true bigots hidden in plain sight from the same party who fought to maintain slavery , Jim Crow , non voting rights for women , and who are directly responsible for 70 plus million abortions ,a large majority of whom were black. You don’t want free speech , you can’t handle free speech because you are cowards and need to be herded along with the rest of the sheep. I’m lucky , I’m in an industry where you CAN be honest about your views wherever they fall with little to no repercussions. I don’t rely on a movie studio , label , media or anyone else who will bow down to pandering political correctness and am in no danger whatsoever of “ losing my job” because you don’t like what I have to say . This is a dangerous time where free thought and speech is under attack but it will pass , the next generation is watching as they always do and they will overcome your insanity. Oh , happy birthday President Trump and good luck in November!
A post shared by John Dolmayan (@johndolmayan_) on Jun 14, 2020 at 8:27am PDT
Despite the continuous criticism aimed towards him, Dolmayan, 46, followed up his post with another on Sunday, claiming he is “in no danger whatsoever of ‘losing (his) job’” because of his support for the 73-year-old Republican president.
“I’m lucky I’m in an industry where you can be honest about your views wherever they fall with little to no repercussions,” he said.
Temper was left off the band’s self-titled debut album in 1998 but was recorded shortly before Dolmayan joined the band, according to NME.
While Dolmayan expressed confidence that his political views would not affect his role in SOAD, the overall status of the band has remained uncertain to fans for years.
Though the Cigaro rockers have toured on and off in the last dozen years, they have remained inactive, for the most part, since the conclusion of the world tour behind their 2005 albums Hypnotize and Mezmerize.
The companion albums are the last release from the beloved band and in the last 15 years, all four members of the band have expressed doubts that they will ever release another record.
In several instances, guitarist Daron Malakian has singled out Tankian specifically, citing his stubbornness as the cause for years of delays.
“I don’t want to throw Serj under the bus — he’s my friend and he’s someone that I care about — but I don’t know how to change his mind,” the guitarist said during a 2018 interview with Kerrang, according to Loudwire.
“We’ve all sat down and we’ve had meetings, and he’s totally set in his way of thinking,” added the 44-year-old, who said the band struggled with personal and creative “differences.”
Whether those differences include Dolmayan and Tankian’s opposing political opinions, however, remains unclear.
The drummer himself took to Instagram in July 2018, blaming all of the band members — including himself — for their “failure to get along.”
“Not one of us, rather all of us are to blame. Egomania eccentricities, megalomania and sometimes just stupidity all play roles,” he wrote in the post, before writing an apology to SOAD fans.
SOAD has a handful of festival tour dates scheduled for this summer and 2021. It’s unclear if they will ever release another album.
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