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Serj Tankian
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Serj Tankian Biography

Born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1967 to Armenian parents during tumultuous political times, Tankian lived in Beirut until 1975 when his family emigrated to Los Angeles. A graduate of Marketing & Business from California State University, Tankian was running his own business developing Propriety Vertical Industry Modular Accounting Software (surely a first for a budding rock star?) when in 1995 he co-founded System Of A Down with three friends from the Armenian-American community. Over the next ten years, System rose to become one of the most inventive hard rock bands of their generation - a band with a conscience, a message, and a desire to constantly evolve. Tankian's contributions included not only the confrontational and often cryptic lyrics, but also a unique singing voice heavily inspired by growing up listening to his father sing traditional Armenian music. Tankian sings in a cadence like no other: An abrasive, paint-stripping, pulpit-bashing roar one moment, a maudlin lament the next. Having achieved their goals, the members of System Of A Down decided to pursue their own projects. Tankian continued his work with Axis Of Justice - the grass-roots activist organization he launched with Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello - and nurtured his own Serjical Strike Records. He also lent his vocal and remix skills to a number of artists, ranging from Tool and Deftones to Wu Tang Clan and Notorious B.I.G., and published a book of poetry, Cool Gardens (2002), which remains a best-selling poetry collection. In 2003, he recorded a pan-international sounding album with acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Arto Tun boyac--yan, under the name SerArt. It should, by now, be pretty obvious that Serj Tankian is not your typical frontman. Which brings us back to Elect The Dead. Forget the endless parade of collaborators, guests, remixers, or producers, the album is entirely Serj, though SOAD's John Dolmayan and Brian 'Brain' Mantia (Primus, Tom Waits, Guns N Roses) do lend their drumming skills to the project, and guitarist/bassist Dan Monti and opera soprano Ani Maldjian make an appearance as well. "With Elect The Dead, the sky's the limit. There are no barriers between myself and the listeners on this album. It's more direct," says Tankian. "It's liberating because all the choices are mine. With this record all success or failure rests with me. It made me realize that I have an amazing life and I am getting to make a lot of my dreams come true."

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