IMAGINE DRAGONS Address Harsh Criticism From SERJ TANKIAN, Stand By Israel And Azerbaijan Concerts

Serj Tankian Imagine Dragons

IMAGINE DRAGONS have defended their recent concerts in Azerbaijan and Israel, despite strong criticism from SYSTEM OF A DOWN singer Serj Tankian.

Last year, Tankian sent the pop-rock band a letter urging them to reconsider their planned performance at the Baku Olympic Stadium in September, citing concerns over the actions of Azerbaijan’s authoritarian president Ilham Aliyev.

“I really feel that performing in Azerbaijan would have a negative impact on your brand as well,” the singer penned in his letter. “I’m confident that you can decipher all the facts for yourselves to decide whether to cancel your concert.”

In a recent interview with Metal HammerTankian has once again criticized IMAGINE DRAGONS, saying: “I don’t know these guys, but who are these people?” he says. “I don’t understand that type of thinking. Very close thereafter, Azerbaijan attacked the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and 120,000 people left their historical homes,

“Look, I’m not a judge for people to tell bands where to play, or where not to play,” he continued. “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. But when there’s a government that’s about to commit ethnic cleansing, when Azerbaijan was starving the 120,000 Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, and not allowing any food or medicine in… you know, as an artist, if I found that out, there is no f**king way I could have gone and played that show. But some artists do. And I don’t know what to say about those artists. I don’t respect them as human beings. F**k their art, they’re not good human beings, as far as I’m concerned.

Serj further said: “If you are that blind to justice that you will go play a show in a country that’s starving another country, illegally, according to the International Court of Justice, according to what Amnesty International is saying, what Human Rights Watch is saying… If you still go and play that country, I don’t know what to say about you as a f**king human being. I don’t even care about your music. If you’re a bad human being, I don’t give a f**k. So that’s where I’m at with that. I have zero respect for those guys.”

“It’s not about my ego,” he emphasises. “I just wanted to make positive change. I wanted those guys to know that what they’re about to do is going to have bad repercussions. I was warning them for their own sake, for their own morality.

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, IMAGINE DRAGONS frontman Dan Reynolds defended the band’s decision to perform in Baku, as well as their concert in Tel Aviv, Israel, on August 29 last year.

“I don’t believe in depriving our fans who want to see us play because of the acts of their leaders and their governments,” the singer says. “I think that’s a really slippery slope. I think the second you start to do that, there’s corrupt leaders and warmongers all over the world, and where do you draw the line?”

Rolling Stone journalist Andy Greene then brought up Tankian‘s remarks, to which Reynolds briefly reaffirms his position.

“I think I just said it,” he said. “It’s a slippery slope, and I’m never going to deprive our fans of playing for them.”