In DOWN WITH THE SYSTEM, Serj presents readers with a memoir that is far more than just a rock 'n' roll fable. It's an immigrant's tale, it’s an activist's awakening, and it's a spiritual journey from darkness toward light. And all of this comes down to the fact that Serj himself has had the chance to live an extraordinary life—thanks to a combination of luck, circumstance, struggle, talent, and spiritual awakening.
Born to Armenian parents in Beirut, Serj grows up hearing bombs drop outside his childhood home during the country’s civil war, before moving to Los Angeles at the age of seven. As a young man, he is immersed in the SoCal community of “Little Armenia,” learning more and more about the brutal genocide faced by his ancestors while helping his parents adapt to the constraints and contradictions of the American Dream.
Then, during a pivotal drive home from an LSAT class, Serj decides to turn away from a promising future in business and law to make music instead—a decision that leads him to touring five continents as the lead singer of a hugely popular rock band, hitting number #1 on the Billboard album charts the morning of 9/11, and then having the hit single from the same album banned from radio two days later.
In the years that follow, his uniquely singular story continues, as he evades glass bottles hurled at a cancelled show by angry Slayer fans, teams up with Tom Morello to push social justice causes on unsuspecting metalheads, argues with LAPD officers over the best way to quell rioting fans, and defines new sounds and singing tactics with Rick Rubin.
Braiding together Serj’s thought-provoking insight with heartfelt and poetic prose, DOWN WITH THE SYSTEM retraces Serj’s remarkable and unlikely journey, and explores what it’s taught him—about music, about art, about activism and about himself. It’s an unforgettable ride that will leave you breathless—and an absolute delight for new fans and old ones alike.