System of a Down apparently almost broke up over a lyric, according to Rick Rubin.
On his podcast Broken Record, the famed producer and System frontman Serj Tankian spoke about the “drama” over a particular line in the song “Needles,” a track off the band’s beloved 2001 album, Toxicity.
The lyric in question originally went, “Pull the tapeworm out of my a**,” but, as Tankian explains, guitarist Daron Malakian and bassist Shavo Odadjian didn’t like the phrase “my a**.”
“They were like, ‘No, no, no, that doesn’t sound cool, that sounds bad, that sounds vulnerable,’ or whatever it was,” Tankian recalls. “I’m like, ‘What I’m trying to say is philosophical, like, take this negativity out of me,’ or whatever at the time I was trying to portray.”
Rubin, who produced Toxicity, recalls feeling like System “could have broke up over the lyric.”
“It was so extreme, but it speaks to the passion in the band,” Rubin says. “There’s real passion, that’s amazing.”
The band members did eventually come to an agreement over the lyric, changing the “my” to “your,” so the line became “Pull the tapeworm out of your a**.”
“They were OK with that,” Serj says.
Of course, that wasn’t the only moment of “drama” in the history of System of a Down, some of which has contributed to the now 16-year wait for another album. However, the band did come together to release two new songs last fall in support of Armenia amid its war with Azerbaijan.
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