This Day in Music 22.04.2016
Shavarsh Odadjian, called Shavo, is an Armenian American songwriter, multi-strumentalist, best known as the bassist and backing vocalist of rock band Sistem Of A Down.
Shavo was born in April 22 in Yerevan, Armenian SSR. He moved to Los Angeles at very young age. In Los Angeles, in an Armenian parochial school he met his future bandmates Daron Malakian and Serj Tankian, although they were not acquainted at the time due to a gap in their ages. In his youth, Shavo used to spend his time skateboarding and listening to punk rock and heavy metal music; his favorites included The Beatles, the Dead Kennedys, Slayer, KISS and Black Sabbath. While working in a bank he started managing the band Soil with Malakian and Tankian in 1993 after meeting them in a recording studio. Odadjian talking about this experience in an early interview said: “I was managing the band and we had no demo [tape], we had no money, but we wanted to play a show.”
Shavo became the permanent bassist of the band. They then named themselves System of a Down after a poem titled Victims of a Down authored by bandmate Daron Malakian. Shavo played bass and also sangs live backing vocalist. His usual style of playing bass is with a pick, although he also has been seen finger picking during certain songs. Odadjian is credited with writing noted System Of A Down songs, among them Toxicity, Sugar, Bounce and Mind. He has directed a majority of the band's music videos, and is responsible for stage design and lighting for each of their live performances.
Physically Odadjian catches the eye through his notoriously scaling, braided beard, and spiked arm bracelet. Particularly Odadjian's beard quickly became a part of his signature look.
Shavo always rejected the label of Sistem Of A Down as a "political band", he stated: “In the world we live today, politics plays a major role in every one of our lives so of course we're going to speak about politics but we also speak about sex, drugs, laughing, crying and sadness and death and life, including politics... But that doesn't make us a political band. That makes us a band that raises awareness about certain issues”.
The band was on hiatus between 2006 and 2010, with group members focusing on outside projects.
Shavo started many other projects such as Achozen, a musical alliance between Odadjian, Wu- Tang Clan founder RZA Kinetic-9 (aka: Beretta 9 from Killarmy), and up-and-comer, the Reverend William Burke from Chicago. Their mantra is “Many shall come, only a few shall be Achozen”.
Odadjian also is a popular Dj in the LA area, taking part in such events as the "Rock/DJ Explosion" on March 2001. He is known to use the name "DJ Tactic." He is also the executive producer for the band Onesidezero.
Shavo teamed up with Hans Zimmer in scoring major motion-picture, summer blockbuster movie Babylon A.D, starring Vin Diesel. Also he first appeared in the 1993 Big Gun video by AC/DC standing alongside Arnold Schwazzenegger in the crowd sporting a backwards baseball cap and a white T-shirt, while Schwarzenegger catches a stick of dynamite. He also made a cameo as Hansel's Posse member in the film Zoolander. Finally Shavo starred in the critically acclaimed film Screamers. The documentary follows Odadjian and the rest of the rock band SOAD as they tour Europe and the US, pointing out the horrors of modern genocide that began in Armenia in 1915 up through Darfur today.