Heavy rockers System Of A Down have dismissed reports they are seeking to replace frontman Serj Tankian after bassist Shavo Odadjian went public with his frustrations over the singer's solo career. The Chop Suey! hitmakers have been on a recording hiatus since the release of 2005's Mezmerize/Hypnotize album and Tankian has since embarked on a successful solo career, releasing four projects in the past eight years.
It appears bandmate Odadjian is far from happy about the frontman's alternative career after he sparked rumours of discord in the group on Monday (20May13), when he responded to fans' questions about album plans by claiming that the vocalist was the only one refusing to commit to recording sessions with guitarist Daron Malakian, drummer John Dolmayan and himself.
Taking to his Facebook.com page, he raged, "OK, I'll come clean. It's not us. Its Serj, who doesn't want to do a new album! So please stop harassing us about it!...We are just waiting for Serj.
"Now, he might hate me for exposing the truth but I had to. Sorry folks! We're trying to get a new album out, it's just not passing Serj's rules! Kinda funny, since we started the band and now he's holding us back!"
Odadjian then stated he was prepared to hire a new frontman to record and perform songs with the other members of the band, because he's sick of having to "beg" Tankian to stay with the group.
He added, "Just remember, he's been holding us back for seven years so far. Wanna wait another five years? Or shall we release a record without Serj? You tell us... I'm furious that he let us down like this, but we gotta do something to keep this great band alive! agreed?"
The Facebook post was removed shortly afterwards, and a statement from the whole group was released to address Odadjian's comments.
The statement reads: "Earlier today, Shavo posted a few statements on his personal Facebook page that do not reflect the sentiments of System Of A Down as a collective band. These were misleading statements that were made during a temporary state of bad judgment on his part alone.
"To be clear, the full band lineup of Serj, Daron, Shavo and John will be performing all scheduled tour dates. With respect to new SOAD music, although we have not agreed on a timetable for a new album, we all believe that having the four of us do it together is the way to be true to the band and our fans."
Top Story: Gandolfini, HBO Play Nice
Both actor James Gandolfini and cable network HBO have decided to let things cool down by dropping their lawsuits against one another, Reuters reports. Gandolfini dismissed his suit Monday so he could begin negotiations for a fifth season of The Sopranos, while HBO officials said they were willing to step back from their $100 million countersuit filed after the actor refused to come back to work unless his salary was hiked to $16 million for a 13-episode season. "The only thing I can say...is that temperatures are taken down and there is an optimism in the air," Gandolfini's spokesman Dan Klores told Reuters early on Monday. Bert Fields, an attorney for HBO, said the cable network was still awaiting formal notice from a Los Angeles court that Gandolfini had withdrawn his lawsuit. Sources close to the negotiations told Reuters Gandolfini also would be required to sign a sworn statement agreeing to the terms of his original contract before new salary negotiations could resume.
Studios Move Ahead With Movie Releases Despite War
Despite the imminent threat of war against Iraq, Hollywood studios are forging ahead with plans to release their top movies over the next few weekends, Variety reports. "Once you start your campaign and sink money into it, it becomes counterproductive to move," MGM distribution head Erik Lomis explained to Variety, whose film Assassination Tango with Robert Duvall opens March 28. Opening this weekend is Artisan's Boat Trip, Buena Vista's animated Piglet's Big Movie, Miramax's View From the Top and Warner Bros.' Dreamcatcher.
Martin Sheen Continues Antiwar Diatribe
In an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times published Monday, Martin Sheen defended the rights of Hollywood antiwar activists to express their views, The Associated Press reports, and criticized those who belittle celebrities' opinions "solely due to our celebrity status." Sheen admitted celebrity activists do carry a responsibility since their comments would likely receive coverage. "As a result, we are often called to give voice to the voiceless and a presence to the marginalized," wrote Sheen.
System of a Down Makes Antiwar Video
Hardcore rock band System of a Down wants the video to their song "BOOM!" to help change the way people think about war, AP reports. "We want to make the idea of dropping bombs, of waging war seem as antiquated and ridiculous as it is today for an Afro-American to have to sit at the back of the bus," guitarist Daron Malakian told AP. The video depicts antiwar rallies across the world and features satirical animation of several leaders including President Bush, Saddam Hussein and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Celebrities To Arrive at Oscars in Alternative Fuel Vehicles
Instead of showing up in fancy stretch limos, celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams will be arriving at the Academy Awards ceremony in fuel-efficient gas-electric hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius, a Global Green USA press release stated Tuesday. "Improving fuel efficiency and conserving energy is a critical part of creating a more peaceful and sustainable world," Sarandon said in a statement. "Collectively, we have the power to make a shift, to make a difference, today."
Bets Closed on Chicago
After being inundated with customers betting on the musical Chicago to win the Oscar for Best Picture, a London betting company, Ladbrokes Ltd., is now declining any more wagers in the Best Picture category, Reuters reports. It is still, however, taking bets on many of the other categories.
Meryl Streep Laments Oscar Campaigns
Oscar-winning Meryl Streep reiterated her complaint that the whole idea of Oscar campaigning comes down to money, rather than on the merit of the work of those nominated, to Reuters Monday. "The biggest campaign could be rewarded, and as a result, more money will be thrown at these things," Streep said. "It's a business, you know. You can see why they all do it. But in a way, it kind of destroys the integrity of the Academy Awards that they do that."
Morgan Freeman Gets Star
Veteran actor Morgan Freeman, who is starring in the upcoming Dreamcatcher, will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Tuesday, making his the 2,220th star to grace the famous star-lined Hollywood Boulevard.
Dire Straits Knopfler Injured in Motorcycle Accident
Mark Knopfler, former frontman of rock band Dire Straits, was rushed to a hospital Monday after being injured in a motorcycle accident, Reuters reports. The 53-year-old singer suffered a broken collarbone and six broken ribs when his bike collided with a car in on a London street. A spokeswoman told Reuters Knopfler was in stable condition and had been released from the hospital.