System Of A Down's Shavo Odadjian on his new brand 22Red, and the duality of hitting no. 1 on 9/11

Shavo discusses being banned from SNL, the effects of 9/11, and his hype new lifestyle brand
Shavo Odadjian of System of a Down
Shavo Odadjian of System of a Down Photo credit Kevin Winter/Getty Images
By , Audacy

Fans know System Of A Down's Shavo Odadjian as the L.A.-based band's high octane bassist and second mic, but he's also the founder of the lifestyle brand 22Red. Audacy's Kevan Kenney got caught up on all things System and Shavo in the KROQ offices on a perfect day for such a conversation -- 2/22/22.

Watch our talk with Shavo Odadjian below, and listen to your favorite music -- curated for fans, by fans -- now on Audacy!


22Red is a lifestyle brand launched to celebrate the creatives of the world, taking pride in providing "badass products across cannabis, music, art, and fashion." According to his mission statement, "We are the trendsetters with uncompromising standards, introducing premium goods to the everyday experience."

Shavo got the project started a few years ago with a friend, and eventually a master grower in Los Angeles, with the aim of stylistically approaching the sale of cannabis-related products that he would feel safe not only consuming but also be able to endorse.

Controlling a business was nothing new to Shavo who, besides writing and performing, served as System Of A Down's manager for the first three years of their career. "It was tough passing that baton to the current manager that's there now, Beno, who's our savior, he's amazing..." Shavo remembers David "Beno" Benveniste, who now takes care of some of the biggest names in Rock, as being a major influence in his life when they discovered each other when was 22-years-old -- a number that has stuck with Shavo throughout his life, and now the namesake of his brand. "it's always been there," he admits. "I'd wear 22 on my jersey on stage my whole life, the whole System Of A Down era, so it was the natural thing to do to call it that. I never wanted to name the brand something with me and kind of benefit off of being a celebrity brand... This is not a celebrity thing, I just happen to be one at times."

Switching gears to System, not exactly a radio-friendly band in the lyrics department, although measures can and have been taken to mask the more salacious lines in their biggest hits. That, unfortunately, is not the case when it comes to live television. Back in 2005, the band was asked to perform their single, "B.Y.O.B," which features the iconic “Where the f*** are you?” refrain, with a five-second delay in order to properly censor the words. All went well, until guitarist Daron Malakian decided to lean into his microphone and scream “f*** yeah!” for the audience in the crowd, and more importantly, at home.

After the incident, "people started moving around... it got weird. It got cold in there," Shavo says. The studio where SNL tapes is "a tiny place," he remembers. "We had Dan Akroyd there watching us bro, because I guess his kid was a fan. Chevy Chase came through. So, there was these legendary people looking at us, and I think Chevy was laughing. Because I think the last time anybody dropped an F-bomb, was him... So yeah we got fined, and the rest is history."

Following the release of new music in 2020 after a prolonged hiatus, SOAD hit the road with Korn for a string of dates. Of course, the pandemic had shelved their plans midway, and again the following year when singer Serj Tankian contracted COVID. They finally made up their L.A. dates at the beginning of February 2022, and for Shavo, "it was amazing. It was epic for me," he says. "We've played so many shows throughout the years but it just felt so great. I love those guys from Korn, we're a great package together, because fans of both bands love each other. So it was like this unity in there... it's kind of bittersweet, I wish we had more."

In 2001, System Of A Down had a number one hit album on their hands with Toxicity, released on September 4 of that year, reaching a pinnacle of their career with only their second commercial effort. Just days later, the world would be forever changed by the events of September 11.

"There's a crazy story about that," Shavo recalls. "Our album dropped the week prior to, so the Soundscan dropped on September 11, in the morning." Sleeping in that day, he remembers his phone ringing off the hook, until he eventually answered a call from his mother. After she told him to turn on the television and he saw the events unfolding, he thought, like so many others, "Is this a movie? Is this real?" Answering a call waiting, it was his manager, Beno, telling him that Toxicity had reached number one on Billboard. "I hear both things in the same five minutes... It was crazy. That's how I remember being told we were number one." The duality of the day had a lasting impact on him to this day. "We had that tour [with Slipknot] coming up, so our crew was at the airport when that was going down," he adds. "They were held up at the airport, our gear got held up. We had to postpone the whole thing for like a month." The first show back he remembers being filled with "tension between people, and a lot of people didn't know what an Armenian was, and we were on tour in the midwest. There was this whole thing with the middle east and thinking we might be that... There was a lot of tension."

That tension carried over into many songs being removed from the radio, not only their own hit single "Chop Suey," but other artists like Drowning Pool and more. "It was a crazy time, it was weird," he says.

Watch the full interview with System Of A Down's Shavo Odadjian above to find out more about his 22Red brand and musical project North Kingsley -- plus, stay tuned for even more conversations with your favorite artists on

Exclusive Station
Listen Now
Now Playing
Now Playing

Listen to more of your favorite music on Audacy's all-new Rockternative, Don't Metal In My Affairs, Venom, Arena Rock, IndustriALT, and ALT Roots stations -- plus check out our talent-hosted Kevan Kenney's Music Discovery, Megan Holiday's My So Called '90s Playlist, and Scott Lowe on the Go's Post Modern Music Box!

LISTEN on the Audacy App
Sign Up and Follow Audacy
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Featured Image Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images