See System of a Down’s Early ‘Chop Suey!’ Performance at Festival

Do you ever think back to the first time you heard one of your favorite songs, and reflect on how new and mysterious it sounded at the time? A video from System of a Down‘s performance at Reading and Leeds Festival in 2001 — just before the release of Toxicity — shows how “Chop Suey!” blew the crowd away.

The festival took place from Aug. 24 through the 26, which was a little over a week prior to Toxicity’s Sept. 4 release. System were pretty low on the bill for the event, placed below fellow rock and metal performers like Marilyn Manson, Papa Roach, Green Day, Queens of the Stone Age and the Cult.

By the time SOAD took the stage and played “Chop Suey!,” they had only debuted it live for the first time the month before. notes that the first time it was played was on July 29, 2001 at the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan.

Imagine hearing a song that explosive for the first time in a crowd that enormous? See for yourself below.

Toxicity was the highly-anticipated follow-up to System of a Down’s self-titled debut album. It was an immediate success — it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 upon its release, and was certified triple-platinum by November of the following year.

System of a Down – “Chop Suey!” Live at Reading and Leeds Festival 2001

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System of a Down’s Shavo Odadjian Plays ‘Wiki: Fact or Fiction’

If COVID-19 has proven one thing, it’s that you shouldn’t trust everything you see on the Internet. In that spirit, we hopped on a Zoom call with System of a Down bassist and North Kingsley musician Shavo Odadjian to prove and disprove what’s written about him on Wikipedia.

Shavo tells some incredible stories in this Wikipedia episode, including the time he managed to get into an AC/DC music video shoot featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Shavo ended up directly next to Arnold in the “Big Gun” video. “The shot they used, the lights hit me more than they hit him. I was shining. It should have been a crowd and Arnold, but there’s a kid right next to Arnold — me. The next day, I was popular at school.”

The bassist also cleared up some misinformation about the infamous 2001 riot caused by a System show gone awry. Odadjian says it wasn’t police who cancelled the gig, it was the fire marshal, because between 15,000 and 20,000 people (not 7,000-10,000) showed up for a free Toxicity release show. According to Shavo, fallout from the cancelled gig resulted in System’s gear getting stolen and destroyed, with his bass cabinet ending up on the sidewalk on Hollywood and Vine.

Another famous piece of System lore — that “Chop Suey!” was originally called “Self-Righteous Suicide” — turned out to be incorrect. Shavo says the song was simply called “Suicide” and that the band’s record label pushed to change the title since a song called “Suicide” would be difficult to push as a single. Nineteen years later, the “Chop Suey!” video is about to hit one billion views on YouTube.

Watch Shavo Odadjian play ‘Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction?’ in the video below and click here to grab the new North Kingsley EP, Vol. 1.

System of a Down’s Shavo Odadjian – Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction?

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That Time Shavo Odadjian + Schwarzenegger Were in an AC/DC Video

Here’s a fun nugget of rock trivia: System of a Down‘s Shavo Odadjian was featured right next to action movie star, world class body builder and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in AC/DC‘s “Big Gun” video.

The song itself is a bit of an obscurity within the AC/DC catalog. The band has never played the song live and it was first released as part of the rock and metal-infested soundtrack for the 1993 film Last Action Hero. “Big Gun” didn’t appear on any of AC/DC’s studio albums, but with a feature spot in a full length action flick, it required a big budget video shoot.

Schwarzenegger is in character as the Last Action Hero star Jack Slater and makes his entrance in typical Schwarzenegger fashion — destruction of property. He kicks down a door to the club where AC/DC are playing to a packed house. Infiltrating the crowd, he at one point catches a lit trio of banded dynamite sticks and uses the fuse to light his cigar, which is even cooler than when he ripped the seat out of the car in that one scene in Predator (sorry, that scene is not on YouTube).

Standing at Schwarzenegger’s left shoulder in the video clip at the 1:30 mark is a teenage Shavo Odadjian, who snuck into the video shoot as an extra. “There is a part where they bring Arnold into the crowd, and they brought him right next to me,” Odadjian once told Hustler (via Contact Music), also noting, “The cinematographer or the light guy screwed up. If you look at the scene in the video, you can see there is too much light on that kid. You can see that kid more than you can see Arnold. And that kid is me.”

YouTube: AC/DC

Later on, the action star hits the stage, donning Angus Young‘s hat which transforms him into a clone of schoolboy rocker. Young then jumps on the beast of a man and goes for a ride as Schwarzenegger walks around with the guitarist bouncing off his lap.

Watch the “Big Gun” video below.

Maybe one day we’ll get some new System of a Down music and they can create a role for Arnold Schwarzenegger. For now though, Odadjian is fixed on new material and recently launched the new band North Kingsley.

AC/DC, “Big Gun” Music Video

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System of a Down Bassist Recalls Learning Band Hit No. 1 on 9/11

Your first chart-topping album should be a moment of celebration for a band, but System of a Down‘s Shavo Odadjian recalls the surreal moment in which he learned the band’s Toxicity album claimed the top spot just as the 9/11 terrorist attacks were happening.

The bassist recalled to Kerrang!, “I found out on 9/11 itself. I remember my mom phoning me and telling me to turn on the TV, and right when I switched on, one of the Twin Towers fell down live. I didn’t know what was happening, or if it was real or not, and so I’m watching in horror and the phone bleeps, and it’s my manager, and he says, ‘Congratulations, you’re No. 1 on Billboard,’ at the same time my mom is saying that the world is going to end. Crazy. I just got chills talking about it.”

It was an interesting period for the band. Odajian started to realize the band was becoming a big deal just a short period earlier. “I actually know the exact date I knew that, because it was early September 2001, Labor Day, and the album was coming out the very next day, so we decided to do a free show in Hollywood. We expected to draw maybe 4,000 or 5,000 people, so we had security to deal with those numbers, and 15,000 people showed up, and were going crazy. The fire marshal took us aside and said, ‘Look, we can’t let this show happen, there’s too many people out there.’”

The bassist says the band wanted to address the crowd, fearing that not doing so would incite a riot. But they were not allowed to speak, and the audience did turn rowdy, destroying gear and fighting with crew members.

“We got driven away to a hotel. I was sitting in my room with my friends, and within two hours, every news station in LA was talking about the System of a Down riot. We couldn’t have paid for that kind of marketing,” says Odadjian.

Then, one week later, the album skyrocketed to the top of the charts, but 9/11 caused the band’s music to be pulled from some airwaves amidst heightened sensitivities following the terror attack. “It was 9/11, and our record was banned because we had songs like ‘Chop Suey!,’ singing about ‘self-righteous suicide’ and Toxicity was the country’s No. 1 record.”

Toxicity went on to become a huge album for the band and has been certified three times platinum by the RIAA.

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System of a Down Drummer Decries Cancel Culture in Latest Screed

System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan has hit out against “cancel culture” after a customer left a bad review of the musician’s Torpedo Comics, the comic book store he owns in Las Vegas.

The negative assessment decried Dolmayan’s politics rather than offer an opinion of the store itself, with the reviewer urging comic buyers interested in “fighting racism and fascism” to patronize competing businesses. In the past, the System of a Down member has criticized the Black Lives Matter movement, calling it a “propaganda tool.”

The dismissive remarks about Torpedo Comics appeared to originate from the store’s reviews page on Facebook. While the review seems to have since been removed, Dolmayan offered a screenshot of the critique on Instagram this week (Sept. 7). Here’s what it said:

Torpedo Comics is owned by a fascist sympathizer who pedals in racist conspiracy theories. If you care about Black lives, women’s choice, and actually fighting racism and fascism please do not buy from this store.

Naturally, the System of a Down drummer took issue with the review. In a lengthy reply, the musician explained his position while countering that the reviewer was actually the one engaging in fascism.

Dolmayan responded, “What ‘Jeff’ fails to understand is that the tactics he’s employing including cancel culture and shaming based on a false moral high ground are simply fascist tactics being employed by someone who doesn’t understand or care that I have over 20 employees of all genders, political affiliations, sexual orientations, races etc, and that they choose to work for me because they are free to be whoever they want.”

The System of a Down member continued, “Of course I do myself no favors expressing my opinions on social media but it is my opinion that it’s important to have differing views especially when you consider the band I’m in and how polarizing some of our messages were though they didn’t necessarily represent the opinions of all of us all the time. … My company is called Torpedo Comics and we welcome all of you irrespective of your politics.”

As fans of the drummer are likely aware, Dolmayan isn’t one to hide his opinions. Over the last several months, Dolmayan has called President Trump “the greatest friend to minorities,” said the movement to defund the police was “the stupidest thing,” and he labeled liberals as cowards.

But that doesn’t mean the percussionist’s beliefs impede System of a Down. This summer, lead vocalist Serj Tankian came to the defense of Dolmayan. The singer said he still loves and respects his bandmate “irrespective of our extremely polarized political commentary and differences.”

Below, see images of the negative Torpedo Comics review and Dolmayan’s response.

Instagram: @johndolmayan_
Instagram: @johndolmayan_

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System of a Down’s ‘Toxicity’: 10 Facts Only Superfans Would Know

On Sept. 4, 2001, System of a Down unleashed their sophomore album Toxicity. The disc, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, took the hard-rock and metal worlds by storm with a tour de force of explosive songs, including the singles “Chop Suey!,” “Toxicity” and “Aerials.”

The epic album combined masterful musicianship with hard-hitting political lyrics that not only challenged societal and governmental issues, but also challenged the minds of music fans. To this day, it remains one of the best rock albums of the 21st century. In celebration of the landmark disc, Loudwire presents the following list of 10 things you may not have known about System of a Down’s Toxicity.

1. The word “prison” appears 33 times in the lyrics to “Prison Song.”

“Prison Song,” the opening track on Toxicity, is a tune that rails against the number of people who are incarcerated in prisons across America. It admonishes the government for locking up minor drug offenders. Perhaps, System really wanted to get their point across by including the word “prison” 33 times in the lyrics, and that doesn’t even include two uses of the plural “prisons.”

2. It went platinum in only six weeks.

While SOAD’s self-tiled debut album took three years to sell 1 million copies, Toxicity hit that total in just six weeks. In an interview with his old high-school newspaper, guitarist Daron Malakian said of the Toxicity sales, “If people say System is a sell out because we’ve sold millions of albums, they’re wrong. I can’t control how many CDs we sell or how popular we become.”

3. The song “ATWA” has a link to Charles Manson.

One of the catchiest songs on Toxicity is “ATWA,” a tune that combines beautifully melodic verses with an intensely chaotic chorus. The acronym stands for “Air, Trees, Water, Animals” or “All the Way Alive,” and was used by Charles Manson and his associates as a term to promote the unity of life on Earth through nature.

4. SOAD recorded 33 songs during the Toxicity sessions.

A total of 40 songs were written for Toxicity, with 33 being fully recorded. The final track list included 14 songs, with many of the unused tracks leaking onto the internet under the unofficial name Toxicity II. Those additional cuts would later make up the majority of System of a Down’s follow-up disc, the appropriately titled Steal This Album!

5. All three singles cracked the Top 10 of the Modern Rock Tracks chart.

The three official singles from Toxicity all climbed into the Top 10 of Billboard’s Modern Rock Chart, with “Chop Suey!” reaching No. 7, “Toxicity” peaking at No. 3 and “Aerials” taking the top spot. In addition, “Aerials” also topped the Mainstream Rock Chart, making it SOAD’s only song to top that tally to date.

6. Serj Tankian wrote or co-wrote the lyrics to every song on it.

Frontman Serj Tankian wrote lyrics to every song on Toxicity, with Malakian co-writing the words to six of the tunes, including “Chop Suey!” and “Aerials.” Malakian, however, wrote most of the music on the album. On their subsequent albums Mezmerize and Hypnotize, Malakian contributed most of the lyric writing.

7. It topped the Billboard 200 chart the week of 9/11.

While Toxicity came out Sept. 4, its first-week sales of 220,000 units led the disc to top the Billboard 200 chart the same week as the tragic events of 9/11. The timing added more controversy to the band’s rallying cry against various government policies on songs throughout Toxicity.

8. “Bounce” was featured in an animated Pixar movie.

The poodle in The Secret Life of Pets is apparently a metalhead, as his introductory scene shows him head banging to System’s “Bounce” once his owner leaves. It’s ironic that such a song would be included in the soundtrack of a children’s movie, considering its lyrics — “Everyone gets to playRunaway, expose / It was so exotic / But just one pogo stick.”

9. The working title of “Chop Suey!” was “Suicide.”

SOAD originally had “Suicide” as the title of “Chop Suey!,” the first single from Toxicity. In fact, the words “We’re rolling suicide” can be heard in the song’s opening seconds on select pressings of the album. Despite the name change, the song was still taken off of radio by many stations because of sensitivity surrounding the 9/11 attacks at the time.

10. SOAD turned down the chance to play “Aerials” at the Grammy Awards.

While “Chop Suey!” was nominated for Best Metal Performance for the 2002 Grammy Awards, “Aerials” earned a nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance the following year. Malakian says the band turned down the chance to perform “Aerials” at the 2003 Grammys, insisting at the time, “That’s something N*SYNC and Britney Spears do, not System of a Down.”

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19 Years Ago: System of a Down Release ‘Toxicity’

The self-titled 1998 debut by System of a Down can be loosely described as a cross between Dead Kennedys and Slayer. The songs mixed political commentary, featured the ranting nasal screams of Serj Tankian and a guitarist in Daron Malakian who could slash and shred through rhythms that veered from unhinged punk to sinister thrash.

When the band put out its sophomore album, Toxicity, three years later on Sept. 4, 2001, it was astonishing to hear how much System of a Down had evolved. The group still had political songs, railing about prisons, street protests, pollution, drugs and capitalism throughout the record, but they did so in a way that was more surreal, adventurous and musically accomplished without sacrificing any of the heaviness or intensity that got them signed to a record deal.

“Going into it, I knew Serj wanted to sing more, so I guess that was a kind of a progression and an evolution for the band,” Malakian told me in 2005. “I wanted to do all that, yet not lose the heaviness of the band and I guess the hard, punk, metal aspect. You could lose that sometimes when you get a little too eclectic. So we were just trying to balance that fine line and not lose the fans.”

Bob Berg, Getty Images

Not only did Tankian want to sing more on Toxicity, he strived to bring a different vibe to different songs. “Prison Song” sounds angry and slightly demented, “Deer Dance” makes a nod to Frank Zappa, if not Les Claypool, and trades off between ranting vocals and clean, vulnerable lines while the band see-saws between chugging mosphit-friendly riffs and Greek-inflected melodies.

And “Chop Suey!,” which began with a jangly acoustic guitar passage and tribal drums before bursting into a surging backbeat includes almost-nonsensical lyrics that climax with Tankian singing softly about a “self-righteous suicide when angels deserve to die” over a Middle Eastern melody.

System of a Down, “Chop Suey!” Music Video

“I’m constantly trying to find ways to reinvent myself as a writer,” Tankian said. “I always want to introduce new ideas and new stuff because that’s what art is all about. So if I’m screaming, I have a reason in my mind for what I’m doing, and if I’m sounding like a crazy man there’s a point for that, too. The same thing goes for when I’m singing without any aggression at all”

Because of the social and political content throughout Toxicity, many critics tagged the band as a populist group out to affect change, like a quirky, alt-metal version of Rage Against the Machine minus the hip-hop. Tankian objects to such categorization. “I don’t think it’s good when any artists are pigeonholed into doing just one thing or being just one way,” he said. “I have political lyrics, but I also sing about sex, love, hate, and anything you can feel or think, even if it makes no sense at all. I think limitation is the death of creation.”

Malakian started writing songs for Toxicity in the band’s RV while System was on tour for their first album. One of the first songs he came up with was “Chop Suey!,” which he crafted in the bed in the back of the vehicle. In March 2001, System of a Down entered Cello Studio with Rick Rubin to record the songs. Over the next four months the band experimented with a variety of styles besides aggressive metal, including jazz licks between staccato rants in “Shimmy” and angular riffs and elongated melodies on the title track.

“I wanted to add a bit more harmony for myself in the songs and that required tastefully mixing in some softer guitars between the really heavy parts,” Malakian said. “In ‘Needles’ I had my own vocal solo part – [sings] ‘Sitting in my room’ — so, I’ve broken into that  slowly because I didn’t want to just shoot the fans in the face. But the songs naturally mutated this way. The band is growing and naturally moving in this direction.”

As musically diverse as “Chop Suey!,” “Forest” and even “Psycho” (with its rant of “Psycho-groupie-cocaine-crazy”) are, the commercial highlight of Toxicity is “Aerials,” a melodic,  immaculately crafted number about feeling lost among the throng of people in a materialist society.

“We didn’t know it would become a big hit or anything, but truthfully we never even thought about it,” Tankian said. “It was just another song. We liked it, but we like all of our music. Anything we don’t like gets thrown away.”

System of a Down, “Aerials” Music Video

As impressive as the writing and performances on Toxicity are, the turbulence in the music reflected the tension and turmoil that existed within the band as it strived to meet a tight deadline and emerge with an album that was artistically expressive and musically unparalleled. System of a Down succeeded on both fronts, but not without a bit of conflict.

“There were times when we fuckin’ threw down,” recalls Malakian. “[Drummer] John [Dolmayan] and I were totally going at it. My lip was all cut up, and I took a microphone stand and hit him across the head and his head was all bashed in. [Bassist] Shavo [Odadjian] and Serj were looking at us saying, ‘Awww, man, we’re done.’ But right after we fought, we took each other to the hospital and got stitched up right next to each other. Both of us were sitting there laughing, saying, ‘This is one of the coolest moments in the history of our band.’”

The violence seemed to be contagious. At a record release performance at Tower Records in the band’s home town of Los Angeles, thousands of fans overcrowded the free event and police canceled the show. But they didn’t tell the audience so the crowd continued to wait until police finally took down the band’s banners and told everyone to go home. The crowd responded by rioting and destroying store and car windows in a seven block area around the store. Six fans were arrested and several officers and crowd members were treated for minor injuries.

“It was terrible what went down,” Malakian said. “Police were firing rubber bullets at our fans. We showed up to play and we got told by the fire marshals and the cops that we couldn’t do the show because there wasn’t enough security there. They had expected maybe three thousand people to be there and there were close to 10,000 who showed up. We said, ‘Well, can we at least address our fans and let them know what’s going on?’ ‘cause some of these kids slept on the dirty floor overnight to see the show. They said, ‘Nope, You guys can’t get anywhere near the stage.’ So the fans thought we just didn’t show up and they got upset at us and trashed our equipment before going and trashing everything else.

System of a Down — Live in 2001

“We were rushed out of there and taken to a nearby hotel,” he continued. “We turned on the TV and on every channel broadcasters were going, ‘There’s riots in Hollywood.’ And there were pictures of Serj’s and my face coming up. The TV people said, ‘They came to see these guys.’ So I didn’t like what I saw going on in the streets, but I also looked at it and I was like, “Y’know, this is really gonna help make us a popular band.”

Toxicity debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album charts, with 220,000 copies sold in its first week of release. To date, the record has gone triple platinum in the U.S. and sold more than 12 million copies worldwide. It remains System of a Down’s most popular album and one of the most offbeat and original multiplatinum metal releases of all time.

Loudwire contributor Jon Wiederhorn is the author of Raising Hell: Backstage Tales From the Lives of Metal Legends, co-author of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal, as well as the co-author of Scott Ian’s autobiography, I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthrax, and Al Jourgensen’s autobiography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen and the Agnostic Front book My Riot! Grit, Guts and Glory.

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25 Awesome Covers of System of a Down’s ‘Chop Suey!’

Welcome to National Chop Suey Day (Aug. 29), and while we’re certain the national day was designed to salute the American Chinese culinary cuisine, we’ve chosen to pay homage to the greatest song ever titled after the dish, System of a Down‘s “Chop Suey!” Why? We wanted to, of course.

So go ahead, grab a brush and put a little makeup and leave your keys upon the table. You don’t need to go anywhere and we won’t be forsaking you. In fact, you’ll get a full on selection of just about every version of “Chop Suey!” you could ever imagine — some great, some …. well, at least they tried.

So, without further adieu, we commend our spirit to deliver you these 25 “Chop Suey!” covers.

  • Motionless in White

    Let’s start with a few acts you know. Motionless in White have been rocking it for years and the Chris Motionless-led band decided to serve up their version of the System of a Down classic during their 2017 touring. This footage comes from a show at Philadelphia’s Electric Factory

  • Bad Wolves

    Bad Wolves are still relatively new, but consist of a bunch of metal vets, so it’s not too surprising they’d pull out the System of a Down classic. The cover is somewhat of a rarity as the band only played a brief portion of the song and only included it in the setlist for a handful of dates. Check out Tommy Vext leading the audience live on Bad Wolves’ version of “Chop Suey!”

  • Nekrogoblikon

    Here’s where things start to veer a little bit as Nekrogoblikon add some robot electro vocals to the beginning, accentuating with some symphonic flare before dismantling the song a bit and reconstructing it with their own unique instrumentation.

  • Tenacious D

    This one’s brief, but very Tenacious D! KG strums away hard on the acoustic guitar, while Jack Black adds his own Flintstonian take on the lyrics. It’s fun, it’s in your face and right up Tenacious D’s alley.

  • Denzel Curry

    Who says the heavy stuff is just for rockers? Rapper Denzel Curry showed his knack for spitting rhymes transferred perfectly for the fast-paced delivery of the System of a Down classic. Check out a bit of his performance from a festival, clearly pulling the audience into this throw down of a track.

  • Banda Undercover

    This collective from Ribeirão Preto takes you into the studio for their blistering performance led by female vocalist Isabela. The band is known for their covers of pop, rock and metal music.

  • The Jazz Lounge Version by Robyn Adele Anderson

    What if “Chop Suey!” was recorded a full generation (or two) before 2001? Robyn Adele Anderson takes the feverish modern metal standard and gives it a jazz makeover, complete with piano, horns and a stand-up bass. Anderson and her cool cat compatriots put a little swing into things for one of the more stylish takes you’ll find on this list.

  • Ankor

    This alt-metal band from Catalonia go primal with their screams, add some scratching and we think we might hear some xylophone tones, but make no mistake, the attitude of the original song remains intact. Throw in a video with a bonfire and some martial arts going on and you’ve got one of the more entertaining videos you’ll see on this list.

  • The Way Too Chill Acoustic Version by Melodicka Bros

    What if System of a Down chilled out on the beach with Jack Johnson? The answer might come in the form of Melodicak Bros, who know exactly what they’ve done, even stating on their YouTube video description that this is the “Way Too Happy Acoustic Cover” version. Somewhere, Jason Mraz, John Mayer and Dave Matthews are currently contemplating a cover addition to their setlist.

  • The Meme Version by Insane Cherry

    It’s time to get a little weird, but also praise someone who had way too much time on their hands. Utilizing animal noises, Insane Cherry has spliced together a video that almost gives dogs, goats, birds, a windy rhino and other creatures of the wild a voice. Enjoy and marvel at the editing mastery.

  • The Every Version Version by Anthony Vincent

    The YouTube superstar from Ten Second Songs performs System of a Down’s classic track in a variety of styles. System with Beach Boys harmonies? Sure. Disco System Bee Gees style? Why not. How about a capella like Pentatonix? Yes, Vincent has it covered. Perhaps something theatric like My Chemical Romance? He’s got it. Maybe something closer to the hard rock origins? Vincent performs “Chop Suey!” in the style of Faith No More, Ghost and the insane metal vocal of Steelheart. Range is no challenge here, so enjoy the ride.

  • The Cello Version by Rob Scallon

    Rob Scallon is another YouTube superstar, receiving acclaim for his unique instrumentation covering the music of others. It this performance, Scallon eschews some inventive guitar creation, instead deciding to go with a cello cover to salute the Armenian rock gods.

  • The Cutest Version by Nandi Bushell

    Nandi Bushell has really seen her profile rise over this last year with some high profile YouTube covers playing multiple instruments and appearances on talk shows. This video appears to have been taken during her YouTube infancy, when the then 7-year-old aspiring drummer just wanted to rock out some “Chop Suey!”

  • The Cello Duet Version by Emil and Dariel

    Yes, Rob Scallon gave us a cello version, but Emil & Dariel double down, with a pair a cellos firing away on all cylinders, plus we’ve got backing instrumentation and a music video. Rosin up those bows, flip that hair and bang your heads, Emil & Dariel deliver on this instrumental cover.

  • The Stylophone Version by Maromaro

    Maromaro has gained popularity online by using the stylophone, his instrument of choice. The miniature, stylus-operated keyboard rocks by closing the circuits between printed circuit board and stylus. This version finds Maromaro attempting to recreate bass, kick and snare drums, hi hat, acoustic guitar and electric guitar. It’s certain to give you a charge.

  • The Christian Kids Version by O’Keefe Foundation

    Kids, they are the future. The O’Keefe Music Foundation has given a platform to young musicians to explore their love of music and here we have a group of youngsters ranging from an 8-year-old singer to 16-year-old bass and guitar players taking on “Chop Suey!” If you’re worried that the themes might be a little much for an 8-year-old, some of the lyrics have been changed, giving the song a Christian-based makeover for the vocalist.

  • The Church Version by Gud Nuse

    We take you from a kid-based Christian-leaning cover to “Chop Suey!” being taken on in a church. Gud Nuse is the performer here, giving the song a classical interpretation. Why in a church? Where else would you go when you feel forsaken while crying over angels?

  • The Folk Version by Waxx Featuring Siobhan Wilson

    If System of a Down’s “Chop Suey!” is considered chaotic and rapid fire in its approach, then let’s give it up to Waxx featuring Siobhan Wilson for finding the exact opposite interpretation. This pair turn “Chop Suey!” into a Civil Wars-ish folk rendition, relying upon Wilson’s breathy delivery to still bring the emotional weight to the song. Though the pair start off simplistic enough strumming acoustic guitars, they show their musicianship incorporating xylophone, keyboards, cello, drums and electric guitar into the mix.

  • The Orchestra Version by Metamorphestra

    Given Serj Tankian’s orchestra pursuits, you get the idea that the System of a Down singer might appreciate this cover. Nick Proch writes, “I was fortunate enough to be invited to Capitol Records in Hollywood to record with The Lyra Chamber Orchestra, an extremely talented ensemble of musicians based in Los Angeles.” While initially intending to record “Chop Suey!” later, he took advantage of the opportunity in a world class studio to lay down this version.

  • The Even Heavier Version by The Animal in Me

    Is it possible for “Chop Suey!” to get even heavier? If so, The Animal in Me give it their best shot. Fire up the guitars, add a little more distortion and infuse a more guttural approach on some of the vocals and you’ve got the makings of something pretty heavy. The three-piece band, with both male and female vocals, still keep in the spirit of the original, with the two vocalists pulling back to nail the melodic parts as well.

  • The Classical Piano Version by Gamazda

    There are a lot of things going on in System of a Down’s “Chop Suey!” but all of it lends itself well to the piano. Gamazda has built a fan base on YouTube for her translations of popular rock songs and there’s no denying the passion with which she approaches “Chop Suey!” The camerawork as she bounds around the keys gives you an idea of just how chaotic the instrumentation is.

  • The Tiny Drums Version by Miniature Drums

    Just when you think you’ve seen everything, we present you with System of a Down’s “Chop Suey!” played on a miniature drum kit. Yes, the shower set up is a little scary, but props to the player for managing to keep on top of everything within such a small playing space. There are no missteps here.

  • The Really Intense Vocal Cover Version by Dan Vasc

    If you’re going to cover “Chop Suey!,” it requires a certain sense of intensity. With that said, we give you Dan Vasc, who certainly has the power vocal scream and fierce steely-eyed stare at the camera while giving us his take on the System classic.

  • The Version We Can’t Explain by Tongo

    Not all of our covers on this list wow you for their musical prowess. This one from Tongo widely circulated back in 2016 for the sheer oddity of it all. The over the top graphics, his incredible yell, a variety of costumes, an almost reggae breakdown … It’s just so … well Tongo. At present, over 17 million have viewed the clip on YouTube.

  • The Hilarious Karaoke Version by Bev and Bob Style Music

    Have you ever done a karaoke version of “Chop Suey!”? Bev and Bob Style Music have made an art form out of it, utilizing cheesy backdrops and perhaps not always hitting their notes on time or finding their stride. “Chop Suey!” was a request, and while they initially feel the beat, it’s clear they’re just awaiting that moment to let loose and … well … just watch.

  • The Actual Real Version by System of a Down

    We’d be remiss in a list of System of a Down covers if we didn’t at least bring you the original. Released in August 2001 from the Toxicity album, “Chop Suey!” hit No. 7 on the Alternative Airplay chart, No. 12 on the Mainstream Rock chart and No. 76 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song has been certified gold in the U.S.

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