System of a Down are well known for being the masters of weirdness, but one song stands unchallenged as the most odd track SOAD have ever released: ‘I-E-A-I-A-I-O.’ The various meanings of its lyrics, credited to Serj Tankian, have been debated upon for over a decade, but during an interview with drummer John Dolmayan, we got the exclusive on a story which inspired part of the song.
System fans have correctly credited the show ‘Night Rider’ as an inspiration for ‘I-E-A-I-A-I-O’ due to the track’s resemblance to the show’s theme. The song was also reportedly titled ‘KITT’ originally. Beyond the actual sound of ‘I-E-A-I-A-I-O’, ‘Knight Rider’ star David Hasselhoff was also a lyrical inspiration for the bizarre System track.
When Loudwire told John Dolmayan about its 10 Weirdest System of a Down Lyrics list, along with ‘I-E-A-I-A-I-O’ in its entirety being declared No. 1, the drummer laughed before sharing this detail:
"That was inspired by ‘Night Rider.’ When I was a kid, I ran into David Hasselhoff at a liquor store in L.A. He was getting a drink, not an alcoholic beverage, a soda or something. He was walking out and I couldn’t believe it! Here was Night Rider in front of me! And I said, “Night Rider!” I must have been 12. He looked at me and he goes, “Hey kid,” and he kind of pointed the finger [at me] cowboy style. I told Serj the story, so the lyrics, “Meeting John Dale’s Jr. / Winked an eye and point a finger.” ‘Dale’s Jr.’ was the liquor store. There’s a little insight. That was a fun thing. The band was laughing when I told them that story, because it was one of those moments you have. When are you going to run into Night Rider?! Could you imagine?! That was a big moment for me. If I ran into Night Rider today it’d be a big moment. I love Night Rider!"
John Dolmayan is currently working on his These Grey Men project, which is currently being funded by fans via Kickstarter