System of a Down Frontman Serj Tankian Announces New Memoir, ‘Down With the System’

Activist and long-time frontman of System of a Down, Serj Tankian, has recently announced his new memoir, Down with the System. The new book will be released under Hatchette Books on May 14 and covers much more than just his time with System of a Down.

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“Boom—I wrote a new book,” Tankian wrote in a post on X. “I had a blast working on this accidentally hatched philosophical memoir as it’s given me the unique opportunity to deep dive into my family history, my own motivations from a young age and lessons I didn’t know I had learned.”

Down with the System touches on Tankian’s early life as a child born in Beirut, Lebanon to Armenian parents, then moving to Los Angeles at the age of seven to escape civil war. Tankian writes about making a pivotal turn away from a stable future in business and law to pursue music, which led him to form System of a Down in 1994 with current band members Daron Malakian and Shavo Odadjian, with John Dolmayan replacing drummer Ontronik Khachaturian in 1997. The current lineup has stayed strong through the years, releasing five studio albums together and winning a Grammy for their song “B.Y.O.B” in 2006.

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Tankian’s book is much more than just the story of System of a Down, though. It also underscores his activism and journey to spirituality. Tankian is an outspoken voice on social media and in his music, consistently calling out oppression and evil on his platforms. Recently in August, he called out Imagine Dragons for planning a show in Baku, Azerbaijan. He took to social media and said, “Azerbaijan’s petro-oligarchic dictatorial regime was starving 120k people in Nagorno-Karabagh,” urging the band to cancel the show and reconsider.

“As the humanitarian crisis worsens in Nagorno-Karabagh with starvation already being recorded I am forced to publicize this letter and [Imagine Dragons’] disregard for this humanitarian catastrophe,” Tankian wrote on social media, after revealing that the band had ignored his request. “Maybe they felt they had a legal liability to play the show, maybe they just don’t care.”

Tankian has a voice and he knows how to use it. Whether it’s expressing his rage through lyrics or taking a direct stand against injustice, he is a figure who has fully harnessed the power of his platform for many years. This new book should shed some light on his personal journey and give fans, old and new, a look into his process and his passions.

Down with the System: A Memoir (Of Sorts) is available for pre-order in the U.S. and U.K. through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Hatchette Books.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ABA

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