Serj Tankian Talks System of a Down Opening For Slayer: ‘We Were F***ing Scared’

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Kerry King Gary Wolstenholme / Getty Images / Serj Tankian Daniel Knighton / Getty Images
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According to Serj Tankian of the Glendale, California nu-metal band System of a Down, it was pretty damn scary for them to open for Slayer back in the day.

In a new conversation with “The Disc Dive,” the System of a Down frontman speaks to a variety of topics, including what it was like for the band to open for the thrash metal legends back in the late ’90s.

Per the vocalist, this run with Slayer was System of a Down’s first tour, and they had a drive to “impress” the band, even though they were “scared” as hell.

Reflecting on that time, Tankian shares the following (as transcribed by Blabbermouth):

“We were fucking scared, bro, on stage. It was bootcamp, just surviving, learning how to work an audience. ‘Cause Slayer audiences will hate everyone else, obviously, But that brings back a lot of memories, because it was our first tour as well. And Daron [Malakian, System of a Down guitarist] was all glammed out. I had, like, weird shit on my face.”

The System of a Down singer goes on to add, “And they would look at us, like, ‘Who the fuck are these fucking idiots?’ And we had to impress from, like, not just base zero point, but negative point. We had to get up there and score points. And that, my friend, was an incredible bootcamp as touring artists, that really, really kind of made us. It molded us.”

At this point in time, System of a Down would have dropped their self-titled debut album, so as a relatively new band in the scene, it is understandable that they would want to make a good impression with such heavy metal legends. Did you have a chance to see System of a Down and Slayer perform together back in the day?

In other news related to System of a Down, Tankian recently spoke about his lack of interest when it comes to touring nowadays. Also, did you know he has a new book coming out?

Serj Tankian interview