Loudwire reports that Machine Gun Kelly has taken to The Howard Stern Show to offer a live cover of the legendary heavy metal band System of a Down’s 2001 song “Aerials.”
Before the performance, Kelly and Stern take a moment to pay homage to System of a Down, as Stern says to Kelly that “When you choose something to cover, it’s gotta be a band you respect, and today you’re gonna do a cover of a band that I love — System of a Down. I played their music in the ’90s when I was at KROQ and all that shit. That’s a great band, right?” Kelly agrees with Stern’s remark, calling them a “Great band,” going on to describe how his experience touring with the band affected him: “Yeah, we toured with them for a summer, doing these festivals in Europe. They blew our mind every night; we were like, whoa.”
Kelly goes on to note that “We’ve never done ‘Aerials’ at all. I’m here to just jam it and see what happens.” He goes on to caution that his vocal performance does not intend to emulate the original performance of Serj Tankian: “Serj’s voice is so untouchable. I’m just here to jam and have some fun. You asked for a cover so we were like let’s do this.”
Instrumentally, the cover offered by Kelly and his band shows off a softer take on the song, scrapping the hard drums for the original track in favor of a lighter touch including making use of held shakers. While an electric guitar is used as the lead, the cover’s sound is dominated by the sound of acoustic rhythm guitars. As promised, Kelly’s vocal performance does not resemble Tankian, but attempts to create hype and energy in its own way. While Kelly seems to falter at times in the low range, his moments in the higher range feel stronger and more energized, but ultimately do not demonstrate the range displayed in Tankian’s original rendition. The response from fans regarding the performance has been primarily negative in terms of Kelly’s singing, but many fans have found a lot to appreciate in the cover, especially in the unique instrumental laid out by Kelly’s backing band. Stern himself was clearly pleased with the performance, telling Kelly “Holy shit! You gotta do that in concert — that worked!”
Watch Machine Gun Kelly and his band cover “Aerials” via YouTube below.
Machine Gun Kelly has recently been announced as a headliner at the annual Lollapalooza, scheduled to take place on July 28-31. Kelly will also be performing at the 15th anniversary Osheaga Music and Arts Festival, scheduled for July 29-31.
Photo Credit: Boston Lynn Schulz