SERJ TANKIAN To Release Memoir 'Down With The System' In May 2024

October 24, 2023

Hachette Books announced today the forthcoming publication of "Down With The System" by Serj Tankian, lead singer of the Grammy Award-winning rock band SYSTEM OF A DOWN, solo artist, composer, activist, painter, poet, and filmmaker. The book will be released on May 14, 2024, with eBook and audio editions also available.

In "Down With The System", Serj explores the myriad influences which shaped both his creative journey and his activism while sharing his unique perspective on the band's unlikely rise to fame. This is a band that redefined the boundaries of music with a sound characterized by wildly aggressive metal riffs, unconventional tempo-twisting rhythms, and Armenian folk melodies. Serj alternately growled, screamed and crooned lyrics that ranged from avant-garde silliness to raging socio-political rants within a single line.

He acknowledges that "it's not easy listening," yet their music struck a chord with millions of fans around the world, leading to more than 40 million album sales and three albums topping the Billboard charts. But this memoir 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. Born to Armenian parents in Beirut, Serj grew up hearing bombs drop outside his childhood home during the country's civil war, before moving to Los Angeles at the age of seven. In the heart of SoCal's "Little Armenia," Serj learns about the brutal genocide his ancestors faced while helping his parents adapt to the American Dream's constraints and contradictions.

During a pivotal drive home from an LSAT class, Serj decides to turn away from a promising future in business and law to make music instead — a decision that leads him to touring five continents as the lead singer of a hugely popular rock band. In the years that follow, his uniquely singular story continues, as he
evades glass bottles hurled at a canceled show by angry SLAYER fans, teams up with Tom Morello to push social justice causes on unsuspecting metalheads, argues with LAPD officers over the best way to quell rioting fans, and defines new sounds and singing tactics with Rick Rubin.

Braiding together thought-provoking insight with heartfelt and poetic prose, "Down With The System" retraces Serj's remarkable and unlikely journey, and explores what it's taught him — about music, about art, about activism and about himself. It's an unforgettable ride that will leave readers breathless — and an absolute delight for new fans and old ones alike.

Tankian is best known as the lead singer of the Grammy Award-winning rock band SYSTEM OF A DOWN, but he is also a solo artist, composer, activist, painter, poet, and filmmaker. Since launching on to the rock scene in 1993, he's performed for millions of fans and sold more than 42 million albums worldwide. He's also a proud Armenian-American and a dedicated activist; along with Tom Morello, Tankian co-founded the non-profit organization Axis Of Justice, which strived to bring together musicians, music fans, and grassroots political organizations to fight for social justice. He has composed scores for many films and television series, had his paintings exhibited in galleries in the U.S. and New Zealand, and released two books of his own poetry. He has also been an executive producer on multiple documentaries, including "I Am Not Alone", which tells the story of Armenia's 2018 revolution and which won awards at the Toronto International Film Festival, DOC NYC, American Film Institute Festival, and the Palm Springs International Film Festival, among others. Tankian lives with his wife and his son, splitting their time between Los Angeles and New Zealand.

Hachette Books publishes meaningful, diverse, and provocative nonfiction across two imprints: Hachette Books and Hachette Go. Hachette Books presents acclaimed writers in narrative nonfiction, including biography, history, pop culture, true crime, sports, and social sciences; and Hachette Go features leading experts in practical nonfiction, including health and wellness, business, self-help, food, and parenting.

Hachette Books is a division of Hachette Book Group, a leading general-interest book publisher based in New York and a division of Hachette Livre, the third largest trade and educational publisher in the world.

Photo credit: Travis Shinn

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