SERJ TANKIAN Slams IMAGINE DRAGONS For Playing In Azerbaijan: ‘I Don’t Respect Them As Human Beings’

Serj Tankian Imagine Dragons

Serj Tankian has criticized IMAGINE DRAGONS for proceeding with their controversial concert in Azerbaijan, expressing that he has “zero respect for those guys.”

The US pop-rock group performed in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, last September, despite criticism suggesting the concert could be perceived as an endorsement of the country’s authoritarian president, Ilham Aliyev.

A long-time critic of Azerbaijan, Tankian, and his band, SYSTEM OF A DOWN, have consistently raised their voices against the nation’s alleged human rights abuses. In fact, to highlight the alleged atrocities, the band released their first new tracks in 15 years in 2020.

Last summer, the SYSTEM OF A DOWN frontman contacted the band and sent them a “kind” personal letter, urging them to cancel their show at the Baku Olympic Stadium.

“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 Hammer, Tankian 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.