Tankian's own emancipation from the group that defined his aesthetic for so long will soon have a temporary reprieve: this summer will see System of a Down playing a string of European festivals, their first shows in five years. Tankian is jovially tight-lipped about the reunion, citing a band agreement to only speak of their activity through their Web site. However, it's clear that he doesn't plan on packing up his solo ambitions to throw in with System of a Down as before. "Basically," he says, "I'm going to go, musically, to as many different places as I am allowed to go — I need to not repeat myself." For Prometheus Bound, this has meant crafting a strange mix of rock, jazz, classical, and just plain weird music - and it hasn't been easy, even for this master of so many moods. "I'll tell you this: the first time I had to present this music, at a workshop a while back, I was far more nervous than I've ever been on a stage myself - and I've been on some big stages!" Tankian professes a need to challenge himself - at least as much, if not more, than he has consistently challenged his listeners over the years. "Yeah, I suppose I always need to do things in a . . . different way," he says, laughing. You can't help but believe him.
The American Repertory Theatre presents Prometheus Bound | Oberon, 2 Arrow St, Cambridge | February 25-April 2 | $25-$35 | 617.547.8300 or americanrepertorytheater.org.
, Serj Tankian, Serj Tankian, System of a Down, More