System Of A Down Want Your Bombs, Plan Third Souls Concert

Band's single 'B.Y.O.B.' arrives at radio stations this week.

System of a Down don't want your booze, or your beer.

The band's new single is titled "B.Y.O.B.," but the acronym is short for "Bring Your Own Bombs."

The track features a soulful groove and questions the business behind war. Lyrics include "Why don't presidents fight the war?/ Why do they always send the poor?" and "Everybody's going to the party/ Have a real good time/ Dancing in the desert/ Blowing up the sunshine."

"B.Y.O.B.," which arrives at radio stations this week, offers a glimpse of how System have evolved on their double album Mezmerize/ Hypnotize, the first half of which is due May 17 (see "For System Of A Down, Sometimes A 'Cigaro' Is Just A 'Cigaro' "). Hypnotize will follow in the fall.

"There are guitars on there that people think aren't guitars," guitarist Daron Malakian said of some of the sonic experiments. "People think they're some other kind of instrument, but you gotta manipulate it a little way and you get a different vibe."

Mezmerize/ Hypnotize will also differ vocally from past System releases. "It's the first time that [Daron] is actually singing lead, as well as harmony in most cases," frontman Serj Tankian said. "I love those harmonies. I love those pushing vocals going against each other. Our tonality is just so different that when you put them together it's like one."

System will preview some of the new tracks live at their third annual Souls concert, a benefit for the Armenian National Committee of America — which is lobbying the U.S. Congress to officially recognize the Armenian genocide (see "System Of A Down Plan Benefit For Genocide Awareness") — as well as other organizations that work to eradicate genocide across the globe.

As with last year's show (see "System Of A Down Mark Genocide By Playing, Not Preaching"), Souls will be held April 24, the day Armenians commemorate the Armenian genocide. This year marks the 90th anniversary of the slaying of more than 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks.

"That night [last year] didn't feel like a show, it felt like we did something for ourselves and for our people," bassist Shavo Odadjian said. "There was energy around the whole place and it was just an amazing night."

"I remember being very frustrated at the time because we had to rehearse a bunch of old songs and we were so into the phase of doing the new stuff, but the show was bad ass," Malakian said. "It was probably the most emotional show we have ever played with the band."

Souls 2005 will be held at the Universal Amphitheatre near Los Angeles, with supporting acts to be announced soon. Fans can find out more information on the band's Web site (systemofadown.com), which relaunched Monday with new Mezmerize/ Hypnotize artwork painted by Vartan Malakian, Daron's father.

"There is no computer-generated graphics, we didn't take the easy way out," Odadjian said. "The man really worked hard and he is a genius."

"My dad's my biggest inspiration," Daron explained. "We saw some work from some other people first and I just was like, 'Why am I going outside when it's right there, it's always been right there in front of my eyes?' And I knew he was going to be the best person for the job and he ended up coming through and doing something really cool. Simple, yet cool. I mean, if we completely left it up to him, he would have gone way off the board."

Along with having special artwork, Mezmerize/ Hypnotize will also feature packaging that will allow the two albums to link together.

For more on System of a Down and Mezmerize/ Hypnotize, check out the feature "System of a Down: Doubleheader."