B.Y.O.B. (song)

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Single by System of a Down
from the album Mezmerize
Released March 29, 2005
Format 12", CD, Airplay
Recorded 2004
The Mansion
Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, California
Akademie Mathematique of Philosophical Sound Research
Los Angeles, California
Genre Alternative metal, heavy metal
Length 4:15 (album version)
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Daron Malakian, Serj Tankian
Producer(s) Rick Rubin, Daron Malakian
Certification Platinum (RIAA)
System of a Down singles chronology
Mezmerize track listing
"Soldier Side - Intro"
Music video
"B.Y.O.B." on YouTube

"B.Y.O.B." ("Bring Your Own Bombs") is the first single released from Armenian American rock band System of a Down's fourth album Mezmerize. Like their earlier song "Boom!", it was written in protest against the Iraq War.[1] B.Y.O.B. means "Bring Your Own Bombs", as opposed to the common interpretation "Bring Your Own Booze", referring to the Iraq War as a party for the United States. It is also a playable track in the music video game Guitar Hero World Tour and a downloadable track in Rocksmith 2014.


Music video[edit]

The video for "B.Y.O.B." was directed by Jake Nava.

The music video shows an army of soldiers marching through the streets, wearing gas masks with television screens projecting words like "DIE", "TRUTH", "OBEY", "BUY" or "GOD", with the members of System of a Down playing in the middle of the street. During the chorus, the band is shown playing inside a night club. Midway through the video, Daron is shown screaming the words "Blast off! It's party time! And we don't live in a fascist nation! Blast off! It's party time! And where the fuck are you?!", when the soldiers storm the night club and force everyone to put on the drone masks, during which the masks show images of television shows and war. At the end of the video, the members of System of a Down are shown wearing the drone masks, which are playing static.

The music video was censored for air-play reasons.

The song itself was featured in the fourth installment of the Guitar Hero series in 2008, Guitar Hero World Tour. It is regarded as one of the most difficult songs to be performed in vocals, predominantly due to the recurrent screams of Daron Malakian, as well as in both drums and guitar. It is also the hardest song in the game to play for the bass and for the band as a whole (2 or more instruments), as it is feature as the final encore for the bass and band careers.

Live performance[edit]

Live, Daron Malakian switches to a reggae-style offbeat riff when singing during the chorus.

B.Y.O.B has been played in every single concert after the end of the 6-year hiatus in 2011, and Daron often lets the audience sing the Why do they always send the poor? line after the bridge.

The song was performed on May 7, 2005 on Saturday Night Live, 10 days before the release of the album Mezmerize. During this performance, towards the end of the song (during the downward guitar slide, following the line "Why do they always send the poor?"), guitarist Daron Malakian screamed, "Fuck yeah!". This was missed by television censors, and it became a controversial matter for a few days thereafter. However, the rest of the song was able to be censored on time without any trouble.[3]

The band also performed the song at the 2005 MTV Europe Music Awards, after winning the award for Best Alternative Act. The performance was criticized for the sloppiness and apparent lack of interest of the band members, although SOAD fans have speculated this is probably due to System of a Down's dislike of MTV. In addition, Daron Malakian changed the lyrics during the breakdown to "Blast off! It's party time! And this ain't no bullshit political punk rock!" instead of singing "Blast off! It's party time! And we don't live in a fascist nation", in a direct reference to MTV, which had categorized the group as "political punk rock" on an earlier review.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "B.Y.O.B." (Explicit Album Version) S. Tankian, D. Malakian D. Malakian 4:15
2. "Forest" (Explicit Live Version) S. Tankian, D. Malakian D. Malakian 5:12
3. "Prison Song" (Explicit Live Version) S. Tankian, D. Malakian D. Malakian 3:32
4. "Sugar" (Explicit Live Version) S. Tankian S. Odadjian, D. Malakian 4:00
  • The live tracks were recorded at the Big Day Out 2005 festival.
Digital download [1st version]
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "B.Y.O.B."   S. Tankian, D. Malakian D. Malakian 4:15
7" single • Digital download [2nd version]
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "B.Y.O.B."   S. Tankian, D. Malakian D. Malakian 4:15
2. "Cigaro"   S. Tankian, D. Malakian D. Malakian 2:11


  • "B.Y.O.B." was written by Daron Malakian for his own band, Scars on Broadway in 2003, and it featured Casey Chaos on vocals. The demo version still can be heard on Ghetto Blaster Rehearsals.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]