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Serj Tankian: Fans “Scare the Shit Out of Me” by Screaming “Wake Up” Right Behind Me

System of a Down's massive hit "Chop Suey!" has come back to haunt the singer

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Serj Tankian
Serj Tankian, photo by Travis Shinn

    Serj Tankian has paid the price for System of Down’s “Chop Suey!” becoming such a ubiquitous song over the past two decades. Apparently, fans have freaked the singer out on multiple occasions by yelling the tune’s frantic opening line, “Wake up,” at him.

    “Chop Suey!” took the rock world by storm when it was released as the first single from the band’s 2001 masterpiece, Toxicity. In fact, it landed at No. 1 on Heavy Consequence‘s list of System of a Down 10 Best Songs.

    While speaking with Revolver, Tankian lamented, “People will scare the shit out of me when they yell, ‘Wake up,’ behind me somewhere — wherever, in public.”

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    He added, “I’m like, ‘Fuck dude! Really? Wow, I’m glad you’re excited but don’t do that.’ I get that a lot.”

    That said, Tankian continued by saying he ultimately considers the startling gesture very flattering, despite not wanting to experience it anymore. “It’s the biggest compliment in the world, to start with, that anyone would listen to your music. And to me, the best thing to see is multi-generational listeners.”

    Meanwhile, Tankian is as busy as ever these days. He just released the second single, “The Race” (listen below), from his upcoming solo EP, Perplex Cities. And this Sunday, October 9th, he is opening his own art exhibit titled “Shapeshift: A Dynamic Dive Into Diversity” at Stephanie’s Art Gallery in La Cañada Flintridge, California (just outside Los Angeles). The exhibit runs until November 1st, and features the singer’s visual art pieces.

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    Listen to Serj Tankian’s new song “The Race” and see him speak about fans scaring him in the interview with Revolver (at the 31:10 mark) below.

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