System of a Down's Serj Tankian criticizes Imagine Dragons for playing Azerbaijan show

Kevin Winter/Getty Images; ABC/Randy Holmes

Serj Tankian is criticizing Imagine Dragons for going through with a 2023 show in Azerbaijan after the System of a Down frontman advised the "Radioactive" group to not play the concert.

In August, Tankian wrote that ID performing in Azerbaijan would "normalize and whitewash" the country's military actions against his ancestral home country of Armenia.

"They've invaded Armenia and have been carrying out heinous human rights violations with impunity," Tankian wrote.

Imagine Dragons never publicly responded to Tankian's letter and played the Azerbaijan concert that September as scheduled. Now, Tankian tells Metal Hammer that he has "zero respect" for Imagine Dragons and that he thinks they're "not good human beings."

"Look, I'm not a judge for people to tell bands where to play, or where not to play," Tankian says. "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."

He continues, "But when there's a government that's about to commit ethnic cleansing, when Azerbaijan was starving the 120,000 Armenians in [the region of] Nagorno-Karabakh, and not allowing any food or medicine in ... you know, as an artist, if I found that out, there is no f****** way I could have gone and played that show. But some artists do."

"I don't know what to say about those artists," Tankian adds. "I don't respect them as human beings. F*** their art, they're not good human beings, as far as I'm concerned."

Tuesday, June 18, 2024 at 1:00PM by Josh Johnson Permalink