"Cool Gardens," Serj Tankian's book of "whacked out" poetry, is among the items available for sale on a new Web site launched by the System of a Down vocalist.
Tankian unveiled serjicalstrike.com on April 1 to introduce words and music unavailable in stores. "Cool Gardens" is a 96-page tome featuring poems the artist wrote over the past eight years, including "My Words," "Salivation," "FRIIK" and "Nil," which are posted as samples on the site.
"I've been writing poetry for a long time, and I've always wanted to put a book together," Tankian said last week. "The one thing I really wanted to do was to have it and give it to people I love and say, 'This is my book.' ... It's kind of whacked out there are certain things that people will be, like, 'What the hell is this?' But that's what life is about; that's what this book is about."
Tankian said the material is a lot more personal than his System of a Down lyrics.
In "FRIIK," he writes: "My problem is that I'm too visual to be blind/ Too audiological to be deaf/ Too ideological to be in peace/ Too compassionate to be in war/ Too crazy to be sane/ Too sane to be lazy/ Too emotional to be you."
"I'm not proud of any of [the poems]," Tankian said. "I don't know how to be proud of them. Once you're in the studio and you're recording a song, that magic is right there. From then on, it's commercialism and duplication same with the book. The feelings and emotions were there when they are written. From then on, it's just duplication. I'm not saying I'm ashamed of it I'm saying it's just out there, and it's cool."
"Cool Gardens" includes original artwork by Los Angeles artist Sako Shahinian, and the first 500 copies sold will be signed by Tankian.
Also featured on the Web site are the first three releases from Tankian's Serjical Strike Records: progressive rock band Big Elf's Money Machine, punk band Bad Acid Trip's For the Weird by the Weird, and guitar band Kittens for Christian's Is This What Sex Is Like? E.P.
"They're three completely different bands," Tankian said. "Unlike a lot of indie labels, I'm not concentrating on any type of music. I'm concentrating on whatever bands I really enjoy."
Tankian is co-producing Kittens for Christian's album, while continuing work on System of a Down's second LP.