Sunday, 5 February 2012

Serj Tankian

Serj Tankian (born August 21, 1967) is a Lebanese-born Armenian-American singer–songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, playwright, record producer, poet, and political activist. He is best known as the lead vocalist, songwriter, keyboardist, and occasional live rhythm guitarist of the rock band System of a Down.

During his musical career, Tankian has released five albums with System of a Down, one with Arto Tunçboyacıyan (Serart), as well as two solo albums Elect the Dead and Imperfect Harmonies and a live orchestral version of the former incorporating the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra named Elect the Dead Symphony. In 2002, Tankian and Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello co-founded a non-profit political activist organization, Axis of Justice. Tankian also founded the music label Serjical Strike Records.

Tankian is ranked 26th in the Hit Parader's Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time.

On August 12, 2011, Tankian was awarded the Armenian Prime Minister's Medal for his contributions to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the advancement of music.

The F.C.C. (Flying Cunts of Chaos) was Serj's backing band when he played live up until 2009.

Mario Pagliarulo – bass, vocals
Erwin Khachikian – keyboards, piano, synthesizers, vocals
Troy Zeigler – drums, vocals
Dan Monti – guitar, vocals
Jeff Mallow – guitar, vocals (2008–present)


Elect the Dead

Elect the Dead is the 2007 debut album by rock-musician Serj Tankian as a solo artist. Tankian was initially known as a founding member of System of a Down, a commercially successful Armenian-American quartet notorious for politically-charged metal informed by a post-genocidal fury. This solo work extends similar themes with Tankian now supplying the majority of materials. Alongside him appear Armenian-American coloratura Ani Maldjian, drummers John Dolmayan (from System of a Down) and B. Brain Mantia (Primus, Guns N' Roses), Dan Monti on guitars, and a string section featuring Antonio Pontarelli.

The initial single from the album was "The Unthinking Majority" backed with "Empty Walls", released September 10. Tankian immediately appeared on MTV's "You Rock The Deuce" program. Meanwhile a music-video of "Feed Us" was released in Sweden and on UK MTV. The album was released October 22 2007, and opened at #4 with 66,000 USA units sold according to the Billboard 200 trade listing. By September 2010 the album had sold 319,000 copies total.

Music-videos of the album's songs were each filmed by discrete directors. Tankian revealed: "I asked each of the directors for their visual interpretation of my work. They were asked not to write treatments and that they could make whatever they liked. The results have been overwhelmingly amazing". Initially some videos were released as 'limited edition' premiums. All videos were later freely offered on Tankian's website and his YouTube channel. Some of these "official videos" were alternate versions released one version at a time- suggesting incrementally evolving narrative.

Collectible versions of the album include an instrumental disk offered by Serjical Strike/Reprise Records; and the "final master" from Reprise intended for specific journalists and reviewers. That embargoed disk was labeled "Smart Talk" [a coded reference to the artist's own name]. Previously an undated, un-mastered 'Smart Talk' promo featured these same 'final versions' of the songs[citation needed]; but the sequence of tracks ten and eleven was juxtaposed.

Imperfect Harmonies

Imperfect Harmonies is the second studio album by Armenian-American singer Serj Tankian. The album was released on September 21, 2010 through Reprise Records and Serjical Strike Records.

Imperfect Harmonies was originally scheduled to be released on September 7, 2010, but was later pushed back two weeks to September 21. The paper manufacturing plant that Tankian selected to print the album's booklet ran out of tree-free paper and needed more time to obtain more of the material. Tankian is environmentally conscious and researched this type of paper on his own. Other releases by Tankian that use tree-free paper include his first solo effort Elect the Dead, and Hypnotize and Mezmerize, the last two releases by his band System of a Down.

The first song released off of Imperfect Harmonies was "Borders Are...". The song was released in June 2010 as a free download and also as an online lyric video. Serj Tankian had no involvement with the video. It was created by George Tonikian as a promotional tool while Tankian was on tour. This was followed by the album's first official single "Left of Center." The song was released as a single in July 2010 and was later released as a music video in August 2010. These first two songs released from Imperfect Harmonies were described by Tankian as being "the most blatantly political songs on the record. Everything is a bit more philosophical and... more abstract.". Later he released "Disowned inc." on his web page, and also created a game to discover pieces of the song.

The album opened at #35 on the Billboard 200 with 10,200 copies.

Elect the Dead Symphony

Elect the Dead Symphony is the first live album by System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian. It is available in CD, CD/DVD, LP, and Digital Download formats. It features the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra at the Auckland Town Hall in Auckland, New Zealand. Orchestral arrangements were by John Psathas. Material for the performance is from Tankian's solo debut, Elect the Dead with some additional previously unreleased songs.

The sole studio track is the first officially released studio recording of Charades, with the revised title The Charade. This song was known to have been considered for System Of A Down's Hypnotize album and a rehearsal was recorded, a brief excerpt of which appears on the dvd side of that album's dualdisc edition. It was not included on the album, but a live version appeared on the Axis Of Justice compilation the following year. The version on Elect the Dead Symphony is the first studio recording of the song to be released, and has also been released as a single. A live version of the song also appears on the album.

Elect the Dead Symphony was released on February 23, 2010 on iTunes and March 9, 2010 in all other formats.

Serj and Activism

Upon emerging onto the music scene with System of a Down and later as a solo artist, Serj Tankian has always balanced his art with his activism. Besides infusing social commentary within his lyrics, throughout the years, Tankian has been at work raising awareness and initiating action to create social and political change. Whether it be working with Amnesty International to inspire individuals to join a global write-a-thon campaign to end unjust imprisonment, raising money for food banks in Santa Monica, or inspiring thousands to petition the U.S, Congress to recognize the Armenian Genocide of 1915, his causes all have the aim to bring justice to those who need it most.

In 2002, along with Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello, Tankian co-founded Axis of Justice, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to bring together musicians, fans of music, and grassroots political organizations to fight for social justice.

Their aim is to build a bridge between fans of music around the world and local political organizations to effectively organize around issues of peace, human rights, and economic justice.

Tankian has taken a stance supporting animal rights. He also has become a vegetarian who has strong feelings against the establishment of industrial slaughterhouses. In an interview with PETA, he also claimed his change due to "touring and its variety of edible crap," and also he felt it was "instinctive somewhat." Furthermore, he also feels the need for respect towards 'mother earth'.

In July 2009, Serj signed a PETA petition against the slaughtering methods of chickens in KFC slaughterhouses.

Now enjoy some of Serj's music:

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