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System of a Down's Serj Tankian to Release Memoir

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Calling all Kombucha mushroom people: Serj Tankian, frontman and founding member of the idiosyncratic Los Angeles band System of a Down, is set to release his first memoir next year. Titled Down With the System, the book promises an inside look at System's rise to unlikely chart-toppers, as well as Tankian's evolution into one of metal's most outspoken political activists. It will be released in May of 2024 by Hatchette Books.

Born in Beirut and largely raised among L.A.'s sizable Armenian-American community, Tankian's surrealistic lyrics and inimitable vocal style--alternately goofy, graceful and guttural--helped System of a Down emerge from the late-1990s nu-metal miasma into genuine rock superstars, selling more than 40 million albums worldwide. As Tankian's celebrity grew, he became a visible champion of various political causes, most notably opposition to the Iraq War and the push for official recognition of the Armenian genocide, soon finding himself addressing the U.S. Congress and traveling to Armenia for meetings with its prime minister.

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In a press release, the publisher claims the book will "present readers with a memoir that is far more than just a rock 'n' roll fable. It's an immigrant's tale, it’s an activist's awakening, and it's a spiritual journey from darkness toward light. And all of this comes down to the fact that Serj himself has had the chance to live an extraordinary life—thanks to a combination of luck, circumstance, struggle, talent and spiritual awakening."

System of a Down has yet to release a new album since 2005's platinum-certified Hypnotize, though the group has reunited for sporadic tours and one-off singles. In the meantime, Tankian has kept busy as a visual artist, as well as releasing more than half a dozen solo albums that range in style from rock to classical, with this month's "operatic suite" Invocations a collaboration between Tankian and the Cal State Northridge Symphony Orchestra. A documentary about Tankian's life, Truth to Power, was released in 2020.


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