System of a Down is on the road helping to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, and frontman Serj Tankian is adding a new song to the observance.
Tankian and John Psathas have written and recorded a track called "100 Years" and filmed a video that takes historical stock of the genocide, which was perpetrated by Turkey's Ottoman Empire during World War I, leading to the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians between 1915-18, though the Turkish government continues to deny that it took place.
Tankian tells us he and his bandmates feel it's imperative for the world to recognize the genocide and pressure Turkey into acknowledging it as well:
"Being that this is the 100-year commemoration of the genocide we...try to bring light to what is going on in terms of Turkey's denial of the genocide, and what's important to us is the fact that genocide still occurs today. There is no international, executable agreement irrespective of the genocide convention and many ad hock committees around the world that deal in genocide convention. There's nothing that all nations have signed that says when genocide is occurring, all bets are off. In Sudan, for instance, China was giving oil to Sudan during the time of the Darfur genocide, and there's nothing like that. So this is a disease that still keeps occurring today, so for us as Armenian Americans and people, band members who have had family perish in this horrible tragedy, it's important to us to not just raise awareness but to help bring justice to this cause."
There are no details yet about a commercial release for "100 Years." SOAD will play a total of 14 shows this year in Europe, North and South America and Mexico, including the group's first-ever performance in Armenia on April 23, the day before the annual worldwide observation of the genocide.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.