Serj Tankian Says The Release Of Toxicity Was ‘Fuc*ing Stressful’

Serj Tankian: Safi-iren, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikipedia / Toxicity: Mark Wakefield – cover art, Label: American & Columbia
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Among the band’s discography, Toxicity is perhaps the most beloved System of a Down album (among fans and critics alike). But for band frontman Serj Tankian, the release of this album was plagued by “fucking stressful” times.

Via a recent conversation with Metal Injection, Serj reflects on the release of the album and how he associates a lot of negative with that of Toxicity.

“Just being on tour the week after 9/11 for months at a time by itself, even if you weren’t a political band, would be challenging because there’s these daily kind of threats right, that were on TV and the orange, the red threats, all those different calibers of terrorism threats and stuff. And yet we were also being threatened by many elements because of our outspokenness. So it was a very, very difficult time.

“And the release of Toxicity itself was a riot in L.A. We unintentionally ended up having a riot in Hollywood because of our release event that, basically, we had too many people. And the fire marshal closed it down and people reacted and fights ensued. We lost our equipment, our crew was punched, and then L.A. riots occurred and we had to explain what was going on to the media, and it was a fucking mess.

“So when I think of Toxicity, everyone thinks, oh, it’s your kind of best record or your best selling record, whatever you want to call it. And they’re like, ‘How was it? How did it feel?’ Like they expect some really positive kind of memory or response. It was fucking stressful as fuck. That’s what I remember. I didn’t feel like a musician. I didn’t feel like I was doing music. It was fucking stressful as fuck. It was really, really dicey. That’s what I remember, that’s the emotion that prevails.”

Damn, that is certainly a whole lot to deal with all at once. Do you have any particular memories that come to mind when it comes to picking up a copy of this System of a Down album? Which of the band’s albums is your favorite?