Serj Tankian

/Serj Tankian


Serj Tankian


Los Angeles, CA


Born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1967 to Armenian parents during tumultuous political times, Tankian lived in Beirut until 1975 when his family emigrated to Los Angeles. A graduate of Marketing & Business from California State University, Tankian was running his own business developing Propriety Vertical Industry Modular Accounting Software (surely a first for a budding rock star?) when in 1995 he co-founded System Of A Down with three friends from the Armenian-American community.

Over the next ten years, System rose to become one of the most inventive hard rock bands of their generation — a band with a conscience, a message, and a desire to constantly evolve. Tankian's contributions included not only the confrontational and often cryptic lyrics, but also a unique singing voice heavily inspired by growing up listening to his father sing traditional Armenian music. Tankian sings in a cadence like no other: An abrasive, paint-stripping, pulpit-bashing roar one moment, a maudlin lament the next.

Having achieved their goals, the members of System Of A Down decided to pursue their own projects. Tankian continued his work with Axis Of Justice — the grass-roots activist organization he launched with Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello — and nurtured his own Serjical Strike Records. He also lent his vocal and remix skills to a number of artists, ranging from Tool and Deftones to Wu Tang Clan and Notorious B.I.G., and published a book of poetry, Cool Gardens (2002), which remains a best-selling poetry collection. In 2003, he recorded a pan-international sounding album with acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Arto Tunçboyac--yan, under the name SerArt.