Serj Tankian Has "Zero Respect" for Imagine Dragons

Surprisingly, it has little to do with their music

Photo: Eric Ray Davidson (left), Travis Shinn (right)

BY Sydney BrasilPublished Jun 18, 2024

After penning an open letter to Imagine Dragons last year asking them not to play in Azerbaijan, System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian has doubled down on his distaste for the corporate swag rockers, saying that "they're not good human beings."

Tankian's letter made its rounds last August, and he claimed a show in the country "would help whitewash the dictatorial regime's image." Brian Eno, Thurston Moore and Roger Waters also called for the band to cancel the show.

Despite this, the band didn't acknowledge or respond to the open letter, or a petition asking them to cancel the concert, and the show went on as planned. Now, Tankian has shared more of his thoughts with Metal Hammer (via Louder), saying he doesn't understand their "type of thinking" and noted that shortly after the show, "Azerbaijan attacked the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and 120,000 people left their historical homes."

He said:

Look, I'm not a judge for people to tell bands where to play, or where not to play You have other artists playing in very questionable kingdoms, run by one person, where people don't have a lot of human rights, and I get that they're doing it for money, that they're artists, that they're entertaining, all of that. But when there's a government that's about to commit ethnic cleansing, when Azerbaijan was starving the 120,000 Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, and not allowing any food or medicine in.

He continued: "You know, as an artist, if I found that out, there is no fucking way I could have gone and played that show. But some artists do. And I don't know what to say about those artists. I don't respect them as human beings. Fuck their art, they're not good human beings, as far as I'm concerned."

Though perhaps his stance is reasonable, Tankian has remained in System of a Down with drummer John Dolmayan despite his far-right politics, which seems out of alignment with the point he's trying to make against Imagine Dragons.

Despite the outcry against them last year, Imagine Dragons are still out here releasing bad music

Latest Coverage