Shavo Odadjian Names the Three ‘Coolest’ Experiences He’s Had With System of a Down
When you're in a band that's been around nearly 30 years, you've likely amassed some great memories. While speaking with Cannabis Now for a recent interview, System of a Down's Shavo Odadjian was asked about the "coolest thing" he ever experienced with the band, but with that much history, he couldn't limit it to just one, so he offered three answers.
That Time System of a Down Played Saturday Night Live
Though the group would end up banned from the long-running late night comedy sketch show after their performance, Odadjian still has fond memories of playing Saturday Night Live. In fact, it was the first thing to roll off his tongue when answering the question, noting, "I could name a few, but when we were the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, that was amazing. Now that was ridiculous. That's a moment I'll never forget."
The 2005 performance paired the band with Jackass' Johnny Knoxville as the host. For the show, the band decided to play "B.Y.O.B.," but refused to drop the "Where the fuck are you?" line from their performance. So NBC decided to allow the group play as planned, but use a delay so that they could censor the language that would draw a fine if allowed to air. But while the band made it through the performance with the censor catching everything, at the end of the performance, Daron Malakian let out a "fuck yeah" that ended up getting them blacklisted.
Rock In Rio Amazes Odadjian
There are plenty of festivals around the world, but few are as big as the Rock in Rio festival. Playing in front of one of their biggest crowds to date amazed the System bassist. "When we played Rock in Rio for the first time in front of a sea of people, an ocean of humanity and energy with the 300,000 fans screaming and singing our songs back to us, so great."
System of a Down Wins a Grammy
After missing out on a Grammy win with three other tries, you can understand why System of a Down might have doubted their potential for a Grammy victory, but in 2006, the band won the Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance for their song "B.Y.O.B."
As Odadjian recalled, "We didn't go to the actual award show that year, something I now kind of regret. I would've loved to experience it. I was at home having a burger when I got a call saying 'Congratulations, you just won a Grammy.'"
While Odadjian didn't get to experience the Grammy win in person, he did take advantage of his close physical distance to the ceremony. "I called my brother, my two cousins and a friend and rented a limo. I took them to all the Grammy after-parties because I was definitely going to take family to this, something they'd never experience otherwise," he recalled. "We had a great night."
Shavo's System of a Down "Low"
The bassist also weighed in on the other side of the spectrum, providing a "low" where the band is concerned. "The low moments are only the human moments when we don’t do as many things as we want. Because it takes four of us to agree on everything and not all of us are on the same page."
Sadly, after going on hiatus in 2006, the band has never gotten quite back on track recording. They reunited in 2010 and have toured on and off in the years since, but an attempt to do a new album resulted in creative difference bringing it to a halt. They did eventually release some new material in 2020, issuing two songs in response to the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War. The last few years touring has scaled back even more, but the band has signed on for the Sick New World festival in 2024.
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Gallery Credit: Lauryn Schaffner