‘F**k these guys’: Shavo of System Of A Down Recalls Brutal Shows Opening for Slayer

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To many people, Slayer are far more than a metal band. The rabid fervor conjured at the mere mention of their name can perhaps best be described as religious. The resounding chant of “SLAYER” amongst the faithful rivals any megachurch’s “Hallelujah” or “Amen.” 

If you are a smaller act, being asked to open up for Slayer presents an undesirable paradox. After all, getting the opportunity to bask in the majesty of one of the greatest bands of all time night after night is the thrill and honor of a lifetime. On the other hand, Slayer fans are fucking vicious! These maniacs have arrived to worship at the feet of one band and one band only, and that one band sure as shit is not your band.

Shavo Odadjian knows all too well what it’s like to support a band like Slayer. When asked about his experience in an episode of the YHN podcast, the System Of A Down bassist had this to say (as transcribed by Ultimate Guitar):

“Slayer, if you’re opening for them, they [the fans] don’t like you. It doesn’t matter who the fuck you are because you ain’t Slayer.

Slayer fans, they’re so hardcore. There, like, ‘I don’t give a fuck about this, System of a what?! What, they’re wearing makeup?!’

Because we used to do all sorts of theatrics, you know, it comes from KISS and all that stuff. Appreciating what KISS did, I don’t like all their songs, but I dug what they did with their vision.

So we’re playing songs like ‘Sugar’ with, like, eyeliner on and makeup on, and these guys are ready for ‘Raining Blood,’ and they go, ‘Fuck these guys!’ and we get booed.

But I think it built us, it made us who we are – I swear – because if that didn’t happen, we probably wouldn’t have the balls to like stay up there. We never left, they booed us, but we never left. It drove us.

And four months later, they took us to Europe for the first time. So the first tour ever in America, and the first tour ever in Europe was with Slayer. And they just dug the fact that we didn’t give a fuck and we did weird shit with metal and funk and everything else we just did – waltz and polka, and we just love music, bro.”

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