System of a Down members Serj Tankian and Shavo Odadjian have opened up about ‘Chop Suey!’ being released right before the September 11 terrorist attacks.
He began: “‘Chop Suey!’ was released a [week or two] before September 11th, 2001… And on September 11th, when the whole planes crashing into the World Trade Center, that catastrophe happened, our album was No. 1. And it felt like the whole world was exploding.”
He continued: “they took our song off the radio, ‘Chop Suey!’. Because it had the word ‘suicide’ in it — ‘self-righteous suicide’ — everyone was calling us, going, ‘How did you guys know?’ and all this stuff. And we’re all weirded out, trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Meanwhile, we go on tour, ’cause we were booked to tour on Toxicity, the record, with ‘Chop Suey!’ as the single. And every day, I remember those different [threat levels] — orange and red; the news basically saying the danger signals. And there might be terrorist attacks elsewhere. It was a daunting time. ”
“So when I think of ‘Chop Suey!’, I can’t think of how we actually sat in the studio and worked on it. I’m thinking of 9/11, going on tour, thinking we might die any night.”
Odadjian went on to add that it was “bittersweet” to be experiencing musical success while the world was still reeling from the attacks.
“The ‘Pledge Of Allegiance’ tour — that was the name of the tour [we were about to go on]. So it seemed kind of contrived, the whole thing we did,” he began.
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He continued: “So I woke up to the morning with my phone blowing up. It was those last couple of days at home I was trying to really get, knowing I’m going on tour in a couple of days. I answered the phone, and it was my mom. And my mom said, ‘Turn the TV on. There’s chaos happening in America.’ I turned the TV on. It was, like, 9:15, and I saw the tower fall. My phone beeped, and I went to the other line, and it was my manager. And he goes, ‘Congratulations. You’re No. 1 on Billboard.’ In the same thought process of what’s happening in New York — I’m in L.A. — and then, ‘Oh, woah. We just went No. 1.’ And remember — it was our second record. We weren’t famous yet. We had a record, we toured and came back home and wrote this other record and we released it. This was gonna be our first tour in front of our second, sophomore record.
“Until today, when people ask me, it’s bittersweet about [having had a] No. 1 [album on 9/11]. It was such a weird time,” he concluded.