Imagine your wildest dreams come true: You're a rock star. You have a huge hit song. Everyone loves it. Everyone knows the words. Then flash forward 20 or so years: You're walking down the street and some dude scares the shit outta you by screaming "WAKE UP" in your ear as you are going to get your morning coffee. Then repeat this, morning after morning. Welcome to Serj Tankian from System of a Down's world.

On a podcast published earlier this week, Tankian shared that this actually happens. Speaking to Revolver's Fan First, Tankian said, "People will scare the shit outta me and yell 'wake up' behind me like, somewhere, wherever, in public. (They're) like 'WAKE UP!" (and) I'm like 'Fuck, dude!... Really?!??'" Tankian opens his eyes wide in mock disbelief. "'Like, wow.' Hey... I'm glad you're excited, but don't do that!"

System of a Down's "Chop Suey" was a chaotic breath of fresh air to heavy metal and alternative rock when it was unleashed on the planet in 2001. With its standout opening lyrics from Tankian, "Wake up! (Wake up) Grab a brush and put a little make-up!," the song was instantly recognizable and became a fan favorite scream-along. Tankian recognizes this, and thinks the song's enduring quality is "beautiful."

"I get it though ... I get that a lot. But you know, it is very intriguing, it is the biggest compliment in the world... that anyone would listen to your music...(And) the best thing for me to see is multi-generational listeners, like a father with his son, or a grandfather with a father, that is happening as we get older... and just seeing that is so fucking beautiful... for us to have that kind of memorable... penetration thru people's psyche for so many decades. I think (it's) incredible," he says.

In the interview Tankian also shares his thoughts on Faith No More/Dead Cross singer Mike Patton saying that he's amazing because Patton "sees beyond the role of a lead singer to become an 'instrumentalist of the voice.'"

Tankian also mentions System's musical peers from the 2000's era in the interview and teases a potential tour.  "Rage Against the Machine, Korn, Deftones, like those bands... were all the heavy hitters... at that time. There were a bunch of bands (like that) and it's going to be interesting because there is going to be a chance to revisit all that next year," he says with a smile, adding, "That will be an announcement for a later time." That's exciting!

Although System of a Down have been pretty quiet as a group as of late, Tankian himself has been keeping himself busy. He recently said that a collection of new solo work will come with an augmented reality experience. And when he crafted a new song for the Metal:Hellsinger game, he shared that he was once dangerously addicted to videogames. Tankian also has an art exhibit opening Oct. 9 at Stephanie's Art Gallery in La Cañada / Flintridge, California.

See Tankian talk about people scaring the shit outta him, and more, in a TikTok clip and then full video of the podcast, below. He yabs about the fan interactions at 31:20, and mentions the potential tour experience at 36:00.

Serj Tankian from System of a Down on fans screaming "Wake Up" at Him on the Street

Full Interview with Serj Tankian from System of a Down on Revolver's Fan First Podcast

25 Rock + Metal Bands Whose Singer Is the Only Original Member Left

And then there was one — remaining original member who's the lead vocalist, that is. The following bands no longer have any original members except for the singer. What band would you add?



More From 97.9 WGRD