System of a Down are probably the most passionate bands on the planet. Heavy, politicised and fuelled by the fury of Era X, when it comes to various steel, you don’t get rather more eminent than Serj Tankian and his bandmates. They’ve given us a few of the best-loved steel tracks of the previous 25 years with the likes of ‘Chop Suey’, ‘Toxicity’ and ‘Aerials’, and it’s clear that while you put Tankian, Daron Malakian, Shavo Odadjian and John Dolmayan in a room collectively, magic occurs.
Nevertheless, provided that the band are so intensely devoted to their craft, typically sparks can fly. In a 2021 episode of producer Rick Rubin’s Damaged Document podcast, he regarded again on the recording of the band’s 2001 album Toxicity and recalled a large combat between the members over the notorious lyric of ‘Needles’, the place Tankian sings: “Pull the tapeworm out of your ass“.
In that episode of the podcast, Rubin regarded again on the lyric with Tankian and the argument that ensued, saying that it was so tense that he thought it would break the band up. “Initially, the refrain was ‘Pull the tapeworm out of my ass.’ Daron and Shavo didn’t like ‘my ass,’” Tankian defined. “They have been like, ‘No, no, no, that doesn’t sound cool, that sounds dangerous, that sounds weak,’ or no matter it was.”
He continued: “No matter phrase you wish to use as an adjective. I’m like, ‘What I’m making an attempt to say is philosophical. Take this negativity out of me.’”
“I felt like, it appeared like, the band might have broke up over the lyric,” Rubin opined. “It was so excessive, but it surely speaks to the eagerness within the band. There’s actual ardour that’s superb. The truth that a lyric, an insignificant… one phrase and arguably comical line is sufficient to doubtlessly break up a band or discard an important tune. That was one other risk.”
Tankian countered: “And all we needed to do was change it to ‘your.’ ‘Pull the tapeworm out of your ass.’ ‘My‘ grew to become ‘your‘ after which within the center half the place I’m singing properly, ‘Pull the tapeworm out of me,’ they have been okay with that. You most likely thought, ‘These guys are fucking nuts.’”
“I believe it’s the steel perspective versus the non-metal perspective, as properly,” the frontman concluded. “For me, I like displaying vulnerability in our music. I don’t thoughts displaying it, as a result of I believe, as an artist, you’re weak both method. You both present it otherwise you don’t. However the steel perspective is, ‘No method, dude. No method, we’re steel!’ I believe that’s what it was greater than the rest.”
On this story, Tankian reveals precisely why he has been revered as one of many easiest in steel for the reason that band first broke onto the scene. He’s not afraid to pour himself into his music, and this authenticity is what allowed the band to distinguish themselves from their friends and provides their music a permanent high quality that is still so influential.
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