System of a Down’s John Dolmayan Reveals Lyrical Inspiration for ‘I-E-A-I-A-I-O’
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 ‘Knight 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 we told John Dolmayan about our 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 very exclusive gem:
That was inspired by ‘Knight 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 Knight Rider in front of me! And I said, “Knight 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 Knight Rider?! Could you imagine?! That was a big moment for me. If I ran into Knight Rider today it’d be a big moment. I love Knight Rider!
John Dolmayan is currently working on his These Grey Men project, which is currently being funded by fans via Kickstarter. For more info on These Grey Men, check out our exclusive chat with Dolmayan about the project.
See System of a Down Members + More in These Metal Musician Yearbook Photos:
Subscribe to The Basin’s Real Rock 99.9 K-Bat on