Despite repeated assurances that their forthcoming "hiatus" is not a break-up, System Of A Down reportedly acted like a band on the brink at the opening day of this summer's Ozzfest last Thursday (June 29) in Auburn, Washington, about 30 miles from Seattle, reports Launch Radio Networks. According to MTV.com, the members of System arrived at the venue in separate tour buses. Guitarist Daron Malakian "seemed to be struggling to keep up with the rest of the band" and improvised lyrics during the first few songs of their performance. During the song "Lonely Day", while looking at vocalist Serj Tankian, Malakian crooned, "Such a lonely day, hanging out with the band/ This motherfucker, I can't stand."
A source at System's record label told Launch not to read all that much into last Thursday's events, adding that the members have traveled on separate buses for a while now. Malakian himself recently said that the group's plans to take an indefinite amount of time off after Ozzfest don't spell the end for System Of A Down. "I think when a band says, 'Hey, you know, we're not gonna shoot out records consistently for a little while,'people are gonna assume that we're breaking up," he said. "But people can call it whatever they want. We know what it is, and we're comfortable with that. If we were breaking up, we wouldn't be able to get onstage together on this tour."
Malakian is currently assembling a new group called Scars On Broadway and plans to record its debut album this fall. System bassist Shavo Odadjian may participate and is also planning a collaboration with the Wu-Tang Clan.
Singer Serj Tankian will most likely continue to sign and develop artists on his own label, Serjical Strike, while drummer John Dolmayan is planning to launch an online comic book company.
System and the rest of the Ozzfest lineup hits Phoenix, Arizona tonight (Friday, July 7).