Album: System Of A Down (1998)
Play Video


  • This "Sugar" is anything but sweet. It's a manic track with a largely inscrutable lyric; lead singer Serj Tankian, who wrote the words, was influenced by writers like Charles Bukowski, who would favor the unconventional. We hear about "kombucha mushroom people," and get these startling lines:

    I play Russian roulette everyday, a man's sport,
    With a bullet called life

    One of many interpretations: It could be about a person dealing with the disease AIDS. It also might be about drugs.
  • "Sugar" was System Of A Down's first single. Formed in 1995, they built an ardent following in Los Angeles but had trouble convincing a record company to take a chance on a politically charged Armenian metal band. By 1997, they were too big to ignore, and offers came in. They went with American Recordings, Rick Rubin's label. Rubin produced the band, letting them be their oddball selves. Even he thought they would be a niche artist, but the band became one of the biggest in America from 1999-2005, when they released their last album, Hypnotize.
  • The video, directed by Nathan "Karma" Cox, starts with a vignette of a newscaster going off script, warning viewers that he is feeding them falsehoods. "Nobody is opening their eyes," he screams. "Our global economy is depleting the world of our lives and natural resources." The band is then seen performing the song in front of an American flag that is sometimes overlayed with flames.

    For many, this was their first look at the band, which appears unhinged, frantic, and determined. With shots of riot police, interrogations, guns, and strippers, it previews many of the themes the band would hit on many of their songs and makes it clear they have something important to say.
  • The album was out for a year before the song got any substantial airplay. System proved their worth touring on Ozzfest and with Slayer, giving their label incentive to commission a high-quality video that hit MTV late in 1999. The song reached an apex in December 1999 when it hit #28 on the Mainstream Rock chart; the album was certified Gold in February 2000.

    The band didn't release their next album Toxicity, until September 2001. By then, they had a substantial fanbase that helped it debut at #1 in America.
  • This was one of the first music videos directed by Nathan "Karma" Cox. He went on to make vids for Linkin Park ("In The End"), Monster Magnet ("Gods and Punks"), Marilyn Manson ("Personal Jesus"), and many others.
  • The video makes reference to the artificial sweetener Aspartame, which was rumored to cause uncontrollable homicidal tendencies and brain tumors. In the video, the words "Aspartame kills" pop up briefly, possibly relating to the lyric, "My girlfriend she lashes out sometimes and then I just f--king kick her then baby, she's OK."

Comments: 101

  • Meatables from Da ErfI just wanna know who Sato is....
  • Uproar84 from North TonawandaToadstool from Australia is spot on! Right in front of your face, you know with some creative metaphorical artistic expression. I like this song even more now!
  • Toadstool from AustraliaSometimes the answer is quite literal and right in your face...The songs title, literally tells you the meaning. It’s about Sugar, and the degradation of society from consuming vast amounts of sugar like we do in the western world. And how we use even deadlier products to deal with these issues, the film clip subliminaly flashes aspartame kills, over the last 20 years it has been found that sugar is a root cause to a lot of societal problems, and so we replaced it with, (artificial sweeteners, and or other even more toxic Solutions) sugar also Has an affect on our mental health (Creating a need for a greater consumption of pharmaceuticals) Our brains feed off either fat or sugar molecules, fats are healthy for you and sugars are not as they cause all sorts of behavioural issues, such as brain fog (not being there... insane) confusion (not knowing how to feel or what to say) being docile and subjective to news and media, watch the film clip to get a better understanding of the context. also mood swings and anger... lashing out at others, then basically needing to be kicked to snap the f--k out of it, and then forgetting what we were even lashing out about) a small cute gun fits right in your pocket (a candy bar or sugary treat) Just you try to avoid sugar it’s like Russian roulette as 5 in six products we consume now contain sugars, I saw a doco on YouTube recently Of a guy giving American candy to African tribes, they had never had sugar only honey and they all worked together as a whole unit of society and they shared this one candy bar generously amongst themselves, and it made me think if he had given a candy bar to a kid in the western world the rest of the group would all be fighting over it. As for the kombucha mushroom people, he’s literally talking about the fermentation of our brains And how we consume sugar just as a kombucha scoby (A bacteria yeastlike mush that feeds and survives off only sugar) Also kombucha is best brewed in a desolate room with no lights eg a dark cupboard... also sugar causes lethargy, sitting around all day/lazy and submissive no will to challenge or even be bothered to do something about injustice in the world, other than to respond with anger or protest, But then again, WHO can believe me...;) let your mother pray...
  • Mango from Sao Joao Nepomuceno, BrazilI honestly think it's about how the news manipulates people. "The Kombucha Mushroom People sitting around all day" "who believe you who believe you" could be about drugs also. "what do i feel what do i say f--k you all it goes away" it has to be about crack at this point I think this has multiple meanings. Those are the 3 I think it's about.
  • Mushroom Person from FloridaMusic is subjective, it’ll mean whatever you want it to mean depending on your personal experiences you’ve had as a human. “The kombucha mushroom people, sitting around all day”, I interpreted this as people who’ve had ego dissolution and have seen the “true” reality of our existence. When he says “let your mother pray” he’s saying let your loved ones believe whatever they need to believe to help them get through their life, don’t try and sway them to your understanding of the universe, for “who can believe you, who can believe you”. He goes on to say how’s he’s “not there all the time”, which I assume is him saying he’s not always living in the present, and people think he’s insane, nobody understands his perspective. “I play Russian roulette everyday a mans sport, with a bullet called life”, life is dangerous and for the most part nobody knows when they’re living in their last day. “I got a gun the other day from Sako, it’s cute it’s small, it fits right in my pocket”. Guns aren’t suppose to be cute, they were invented to take lives, period. and the fact we can get them so small and out of sight is truly scary. When he talks about his girl lashing out at him and him kicking her I believe he’s just saying even a person he loves and wants to be with still has different feelings about different things sometimes so they fight as humans do. “People always chasing me down” “were all they really want to do, is suck out my motherf--king brains” I think he’s talking about how people are always asking him questions and it’s exhausting, whether it be someone trying to gossip or a loved one asking about how he’s doing, it’s exhausting. Yet this song is such an uplifting banger of a song is because even know the world is chaotic and Unpredictable and it only gets harder, you hear a voice in the background after the main singer rants saying “sugar”, life itself is sweet, to be alive is not common in this universe considering if you were to collect all matter from the universe and compare the sentient matter from the non-sentient matter, and we should cherish it for you only get one life to live. The last 47seconds of the song is him explaining no matter how we feel or what we say in any circumstance, once we die all things disappear as if they never existed.
  • David from Weed CentralThe Kombucha mushroom people, sitting around all day... Back when I first listened to this song when I was a teenager I imagined actual mushroom people. Now in present day, I imagine people who make Kombucha tea, since the tea itself is made from a fermenting fungi (mushroom). Typically these might be hippies or people who are prohealth/earth. The sitting around all day, I interpret as ...well, literally these people sit around all day and might complain online, but war doesnt really mean anything to them.
  • Kat from Florida I’m not even going to attempt a full breakdown of this song. I will say fast forwarding to 2021 this song has even more of a meaning. We should have turned off the news when they warned us to.
  • Sammy (anonymous Name) from SomewhereI think it's about someone who is a bad person in general. "The kombucha mushroom people" is talking about drugs, like Ben from Alabama said, kombucha tea is used to heal people. The person was on drugs and used the tea to help them. "who can believe you?" shows that the person is telling the victim of anything they've done that nobody will believe them. "let your mother pray" is saying that only someone who the victim is close to. "I play russian roulette, a man's sport, with a bullet called life" In the other possible meanings, it says about the person's own life. But it could also mean another person's life; "I just f**k*ng kick her" and one line says about how the person gets a gun. The russian roulette line is saying about how the person is putting everyone's life in danger because they got a gun and they are on drugs.
  • Im Not from AnywhereI think it's about the crack epidemic of the 80's. The news reporter says that they need to wake up and Serj references drugs several times. this could be referencing that because the news was influenced by the government to portray the black community as a menace.
  • Ben from AlabamaI think it's about getting better from cocaine, since Kombucha tea is used to heal people from sickness, and sugar is in it. And sugar can be mistaken for cocaine.
  • Fin from The Corner Of Bedlam And SqualorI think this song is mostly about politics. they talk about the need (or want, depending on your point of view) for gun control, with the lines "I bought a gun the other day from sako, it's cute, small, it fits right in my pocket" and "I've killed everyone, I'm away forever, but I'm feeling better", and the lines "How do I feel, What do I say, F--k you, It all goes away" may refer to mental illness And/or drug abuse, or perhaps pseudo-therapeutic murder. but I definitely can hear references to the Serbians and the Croatians, etc.
  • Tom from Cros-lex Mi.I purchased this c.d. when it first was released. I still feel like when i listen to the lyrics the song influences me to want to lead a different life, a better me more less. Regardless of what system intends in this particular song, its clear to my personal interpretation their telling us to wake up. More so now than ever!
  • Jared from Pennsylvaniai think that this song is about acid
  • Drew from Ontario, CanadaAlex from Nevads, Sugar is also an active ingredient in the fermenting process in Kambucha Tea. Metaphorically, I couldn't tell ya what it's meaning is in the song.
  • Zack from Bargo AustraliaI think it references drug use abd to back me up on that are the lyrics "mushroom people" which may be referencing extensive use of LSD or other drugs
  • Mathew from Australia I feel like it means something different, that it makes more reference to war, particularly to the war in ex-Yugoslavia. Mainly because at the intro it immediately makes reference to ‘NATO forces bombed Serbia and Kosovo’ and then also in the music video it has lots of pictures of military and whole kombucha mushroom people part refers to how Serbia got bombed. (As in mushroom clouds after a bomb) The use of the Word ‘sugar’ may refer to how Serbs sugar coated everything and tried to cover their crimes with propaganda. The let your mother pray but may also be related to tension in ex-Yugoslavia, how Serbs alienated and discriminated Catholics and Muslim’s.
  • Savi from Pomona I am 14 and I love this song. I really wanted to know exactly what it was about and now I have a decent idea. You guys have a lot of interesting ideas on the songs by System of a Down.
  • Alex from NevadaI think a lot of you have interesting ideas about what the song is about, but I feel that people think the metaphors are pointing to political issues when I think they are much simpler. I know they are a political band, but they have their fair share of lyrics that aren't political as well. Here is my opinion of what the song means:

    This song is simply about living the lifestyle of a hippie and being addicted to drugs and having trouble kicking them. Kombucha mushroom people are basically fellow hippies who drink kombucha teas because they are apparently really healthy and they sit around all day with no job and do drugs. Society doesn't trust in or believe these people because they are hippies and do drugs. Their parents or guardians are praying for them to get better from their drug problem. Sugar is a code word for not just one drug but it could be any drug most likely an addictive one in this case. Sugar itself is addictive so this is why I believe it symbolises drugs.

    People think these hippies are insane because they aren't quite there all the time because of being high. Russian roulette is a metaphor for the struggle to get by in life each day with this drug problem. Every time the character in these lyrics tries to kick drugs and take their life to a new place they aren't able to because it's not what they truly want. They are already where they want to be in life which is on drugs and relaxing all day not stressing about work or anything. The small gun symbolises either a lighter or drugs that can fit in a pocket but are deadly and can kill you or the lighter would be used to do a drug that isn't good for you. My girl is a metaphor for his drug addiction lashing out at him and he caves in and does more drugs and then he is OK and not fighting withdrawal symptoms. People in his life are worried and trying to get them help in quitting their drug problem by making them feel like s--t and putting them down and trying to brainwash them into kicking the drug habit. (Or in other words - eat his brains)

    The song ends with the character secluding themself in their room with lights off and no sound while high on drugs. They have killed everyone is maybe a metaphor for them ignoring the worries of those who love them and they just sit in their room angry and keep on getting high. In the end everything goes away for maybe 2 reasons. 1. The character has shot down the worries of those around who are trying to help and the anger goes away. Or. 2. The drugs relieve the character of all negative emotions and the all rational thought goes away as they lay in their room high as f--k.

    The lyrics could mean anything but I believe this song is directly about drugs and isn't as political as some of their other songs. They have plenty of songs about sex, drugs, music, whores, friends who have died, and of course political issues. Political issues is the central theme of SOAD, but they don't give a f--k and aren't afraid to sing about threesomes and getting high as f--k.
  • Joan from BarcelonaRelating the video to the news reporter, I think Carrie from Pittsburgh, Pa is right: this song is about TV's manipulation, definitely not about AIDS. I would like to add that I think the musically soft parts of the song (talking about guns, violence and so) are a parody of what the TV does to reality: that part of the song deals with violence, guns and playing with your life as a funny thing (My girl, you know, she lashes out at me sometimes, And I just kick her, and then she's O.K.; or the gun, which fits right in his pocket). It's imitating how the TV systems doesn't give enough importance and seriousness to very serious issues. I recommend people reading Carrie's comment and then mine's, that 's probably the best interpretation to such a complicated but deep song.
  • Eftychios Kaimakkamis from Nicosia, CyprusI think this song deals with different issues at the same time: Kombucha mushroom issue in 1995, AIDS, murders, human abuse (beating his wife/girlfriend), racism (others want to beat him) and all of them are presented censored and mildly... So sugar coated.
  • Sup Dogg from Portland, Bangladeshim not sure why people think this song is about aids, but in the music video its a guy on the news talking about how f--king stupid we are for beliving what ever he says. so i think the song is more about how the news will sugar coat everything and we eat it up (like a kombucha mushroom culture) like people have said before me.

    how do i feel/what should i say. f--k you it all goes away = dont let people(or media) tell you how you should think or feel or what you can or cant say because your a monkey on a floating speck of dust suspended in a sun beam and you and everyone/thing you know is going to die and tun to dust so dont live you life following all the directions that are there to control you.
  • Audio from London, United KingdomI think this song has more meaning to it than people think. "The Kombucha, mushroom people...", could also be spelt "Kampuchea, mushroom people".
    The Kampuchea is basically Cambodia/The Kingdom of Cambodia, as stated on Wikipedia. The "Mushroom people" could be referring to the bombs set off in Cambodia during Vietnam war times, and the people who had to experience it are the mushroom people of Cambodia (kampuchea).
  • Daniel from Fresno, Cabout time their back. ROCK ON SOAD!!!
  • Milad from Mashhad, IranWe should treat people with aids kindly so they wont become insane?
    Get it?:D
  • Milad from Mashhad, Iranthis song's main idea is about people with aids and how bad they are treated by others and how insane they might become because of that.
    Sugar might also refer to drugs but i dont think so very much.
    I also think the whole thing means we should treat people with aids better!
  • Milad from Mashhad, IranThis song is about people who have AIDS and how they are treated by others and how insane they might become.
    Sugar might also refer to drugs but I think the song's main idea is about Aids and we should treat people with aids more kindly.
  • Julia from Philadelphia, Pathe government's lying to us... we have what we need in life and life is good but they tell us we need more that's why everytime we try to go where we really want to be is already where we are
  • Julia from Philadelphia, Paokay. i'm stoned now... this is about all the things that are goin on in the world... violence is everywhere and it's driving people insane and making them ide in their homes and they can't enjoy the world the part where he beats his girlfriend is about someone on meth n they get angry bcus his gf is prob telling him to stop doing that drug... soad would also like to point out that no one takes in the world and were goin to let people (the government) take away our resources through poisioning our minds with what they want us to hear not with what we need to hear
  • Julia from Philadelphia, PaThis song isn't about Aspartame because Aspartame does not have all those effects, and it's not about cocaine either. I think it's about advertising and how the public feeds us news about things that are unimportant and only have to do with us. American news rarely displays world news, so if we don't see it everyday, it will go away. This song also talks about all the other problems in the world. "Sugar" might refer to the drug crystal meth because that's a street name for it, and it makes you hyper and usually when going through withdrawal, you "lash out". I think it's mainly discussing violence and how it is everywhere, but we try not to notice it and ignore it... like the Armenian Genocide for example.... just a few ideas. I'm gonna listen to it when I'm high, then maybe I'll get a better idea of the meaning
  • Larry from Ertyhrty, BahrainThis song's about shrooms, among other things. You sit around all day, trip out, no one trips like you, and your mom dont like what you do.
  • Joe from El Paso, TxIf you look closely, in the album Toxicity, remove the front cover that has all the lyrics and look at the special thanks section. Shavo, Serj, and John all mention a Hawaiian man named Sako who helped them all out.
  • Joe from El Paso, TxWait, maybe the meaning isn't as complicated as it seems, let's think just about the sugar part. Sugar makes you hyper. What if the character in the song actuall got high off of sugar? Just imagine what that can do to someone. If you eat sugar by itself, you have headaches, blurry vision, mood swings and sometimes even anger... just by eating a small packet of sugar, too much sugar can have a serious effect on the body in unknown ways. If you eat sugar, you get hyper, if you eat a lot of sugar, you start getting a little crazy, psycho, insane, then homicidal and violent.
  • Joe from El Paso, TxOk now. I've read every single one of your theories and they all seem possible. After trying to figure this out for hours, I think that petrified monkey has a good point. Every single part of this song links to all the others in a different way... aspartame... kombucha mushrooms... sugar... gun...insanity... etc. But I still haven't found out a completely logical theory... does anyone know how to contact any of the SOAD members (excluding John, he might not know) and ask them? I MUST know this song's true meaning.

    Oh, and by the way, I think when. Serj says "a man's sport" that he means that in a sarcastic way.
  • Maria Castaneda from Montclair, CaMy FAVORITE System Of A Down song.
  • Dale from New Orleans, LaThis is pretty interesting. Read that article under Health Claims. It may give you all some insight to what this song is really about.
  • Hunter from South West, Mihere is what I get from the song. It is about event that happened in serj's life (born 1961 he was 37 when the song was released))that the media "sugar coated". The earliest was the use of sensory deprivation that the uk used in 1972 This appears at the end of the song the "No lights" part. The next is The part about the "brains" I think this is just for fun Its about the dawn of the dead movie that came out in 1978. The Next is in the same year this is about "russian roulette" this game was made famous in the 1978 movie "The Deer Hunter". The next is Aspartame Being legalized(1981) this part is only shown in the video . Then there is the case of deaths by the Kombunch mushrooms in 1995. Other things I found interesting was the SAKO brand of guns.
  • Hunter from South West, MiThis song is about how the media briefly went over the Aspartame issue. the anger is probly a guy who is helpless because of a brain tumor that makes it so he cant listen to music
  • Carrie from Pittsburgh, PaRUSSIAN ROULETTE IS NOT ABOUT SEX!! Why must everyone think it's a bout sex? It's like some gun thing
  • Robbie from North Beach, MdWell I think that a song could have many meanings. It also depends on how you perceive it. It's just like a poem you never really know exactly what the person was thinking when they wrote it. You may have a really good idea of what the person was thinking but almost never would you know what every last word was supposed to mean. So this is how I perceive this song. "The Kumbucha Mushroom people sitting around all day, who can believe you, let your mother pray." The Kumbucha Mushroom is a microorganism that feeds off of sugar. He might using symbolism to say that the media sugar coats what they tell people and that there are these people sitting around all day accepting this because even if they realized that this wasn't the full truth they wouldn't accept the full truth because that might not be a pleasant thing to try to accept which makes them ignorant. He can't believe that people could be so ignorant and he thinks somebody should pray for them. "Well I'm not there all the time, some people call it insane." This could mean that he isn't there all the time with these ignorant people doing the same thing, but when he is there people might ask him and/or he might try to explain why he thinks this is bulls--t and they think he's crazy because they don't understand. "I play Russian Roulette everyday, a man's sport, with a bullet called life." He might be using more symbolism to refer to the destructive life styles that so many people live. And then some of them think that it makes them cool or more of a man to live like that. Like people who call themselves thugs and get involved in gangs and stuff like that. "You know every time I try to go where I really want to be, is already where I am, cause I'm already there." This could mean that he's always wanted to do something about all of this and he realizes that he's already in a band trying to do something about it by writing songs about it. "I got a gun the other day from sako, it's cute, small, fits right in my pocket." He could be talking about all the violent crime that goes on. "My girl you know she lashes out at me sometimes, then I just kick her, Then she's ok." He might be talking about abusive relationships. "People are always trying to push me down, trying to push my face to the ground, where all they really wanna do is suck out my motherf--king brains." He could be saying that the people who don't want other people to realize what he is trying to tell us always try to put him down and make him look bad but if they could get away with it they would just simply kill him and get him out of the way. "I sit, in my desolate room, no lights , no music, just anger, iv killed everyone, I'm away forever, but I'm feeling better, how do I feel, what do I say, f--k you it all goes away, in the end it all goes away." He could be saying it pisses him off to see the world the way it is and that if he killed everyone he be away from them forever and he would feel better but then again how would he suppose to feel about killing everyone but then again f--k it it all goes away anyways and there is an end to everything." So throughout the whole song he could just be telling us how deceived, ignorant, corrupted, etc. this world is. Also the aspertame kills thing in the movie could be another example of how whoever controls things feeds us bulls--t to bring us down in order for them be able to control. That's just what the song meant to me.
  • Steve from Lala Vile, Inthsi song is about the media brainwashing people by there stories and its true fox even emited to us they do
  • Jay from Cary, NcI think this song is generally about homicide. During the break, Serj says, "I sit. In my desolate room. No lights. No music! Just anger! I've just killed everyone. I'm away forever. But I'm feeling better!". The song makes various references to guns and once to violence. And the title could be talking about Aspertame. Or it could be about AIDS. Whatever their songs are about, SOAD ROCKS!
  • Random from Where Are You From?, Arthe truth is. this song is about a friend of the band. this friend did drugs(coccaine).A friend made him quit. When this was done he went crazy because of deprivasion of coccaine. He "bought a gun the other day it's cute fits right in my pock". well he put one between his eyes.
  • Jeff from Chicago, IlFor anyone who is interested, the clips that they show of people marching are from a German movie called Metropolis. It has nothing to do with the video, but that's what it's from...
  • Cooldy from Delphos, OhPetrified monkeys got it. He has aids and/or addicting to coke or some drug the cops chase his ass hes high he thinks there zombies or something and he is all fliping out. THE END ROCKS
  • David from Kennesaw, GaTo make this short, I think this song is about the lies the Gov tells you. Sugar is usued to represent this as we have tons of artificial sweeteners now, and we don't know what is really sugar or not anymore. We don't know if the gov is trying to kill us or not. This makes the people paranoid. The paranoid go out and kill people.

    Gov lies -> Sugar? -> Gov kills -> insane -> killing
  • Tom from Charleston, ScRussian Roulette is also a vernacular used for having unprotected sex.
  • Faith from Tulsa, OkRussian Roulette is a game, where you spin a revolver with a single bullet in it, and whoever it lands upon, gets shot,
    it has nothing to do with sex.
  • Dan from Scranton, Panah. sako is a guns manufacturer. i think its based somewhere in eastern europe.
  • Mitchell from Tyler, Txit's about sugar(crystal meth) addictions and it's my favorite song chop Suey is 2nd
  • Reilly from Arlington, TxI totally love this song!! Me and my friends rock out to it even though we don't know the lyrics.
  • Cardio Toxin from El Paso, TxSAKO is a friend of the bands. Even on the Scars on Broadway album they give him props. Sako is Sako Shahinian, and that is that.
  • Gina from Orange, CaBut I bet if you asked the band members they'd tell you it means whatever you want it to mean.
  • Gina from Orange, CaI love the song and the video that shows Daron's ass. I honestly did not know what the song was about, and that's why I researched what others believe its meaning is. At first I agreed with one I read that said it was about meth addicts. But, the Aspartame makes more sense coming from the artists who usually sing about crimes against society not against oneself, as is the case with drug addiction. Maybe Sako means sacharin; another sugar immitation that caused neurological problems and cancer.
  • Joshua from Parsons, KsSako , the one they said gave him the gun is probly talking about the drum tech Sako
  • Nick from Westwood, NjI thought this song was about various types of violence from nuclear bombs to the stuff you find in your sugar.
  • Avery from Bucksport, MeRussian Roulette is a agme when you have a revolver with one bullet and i think you spin it and who ever it lands on gets shot it has nothin to do with sex
  • Monteiro from Vila Do Conde, PortugalOne of the best songs of SOAD...
    I can play it on guitar...XD
  • Erik from Knoxville, Tnthis song is pretty heavy...
  • Alexis from Johnson City, TnAlright, this is most likely about a set of cases in Iowa, 1995 where two unexplained severe illness cases were attributed to the consumption of Kombucha mushroom tea. Two cases of unexplained illness and one death occurred in two people who had been drinking the tea for 2 months. The two women had been using the same mushroom for their teas.
  • Rob from New York, Nyi always thought this song was about the drug mushrooms and how it affects peolpe
    and alot of the lyrics kinda back that up
  • Petrified Monkey from Naked Land, Mi"I play Russian Roullete every day, a mans sport. With a bullet called life.": I think this line is very telling. Now, we've all touched on the aids subject, well, this line kind of confirms it. "I play russian roullete everday...with a bullet called life." I think this part is refering to sex. Possibly when then the character in the song contracts AIDs. If thats not it, then I think its talking about the dangers of passing along the virus. AIDs is a virus that is passed along though sperm, so that could explain the "...a mans sport..." part.
  • Mark from Fruitland, IdI thought this song was about the media, and how they feed us lies. The Kamucho mushroom is a mushroom that feeds off of sugar. And the Kamucho Mushroom people, sitting around all day are the viewers beleiving what the media says. The aspertame was said because the media is feeding you false information, sugar coating everything.
  • Cardio Toxin from El Paso, TxIn reference to SAKO from the lyrics. Sako is a real person named Sako Shahinian. He is Armenian aswell. I could only assume that some truth was in the line, by Sako Shahinian actually giving him a gun. People that get guns from people they know, would make me believe that he has something to protect and was received illegally. This song was is an awesome song and by far one of my favorites by SOAD.
  • Andrea from Yourmomshouse, CanadaI just love this song. Its just crazy.. The way it sounds is just.. amazing. =)
  • Jack from Miami, FlLove this song. The msuic and lyrics are very catchy.
  • Blake from Hamilton, OhThis song is saying how certain types of sugar can cause cancer. What's amazing is how this is their first single. It's so weird, it goes from fast, medium, then a little bit slow towards the end. I also love the video, Daron has the green ponytail, Serj wears the makeup, Shavo is goin crazy, and John wears the gas mask. Amazing song!!!
  • Mike from Petersham, MaThis song is awesome. I sing it really good. Not to brag or anything... really gooooooood.
  • Anthony from Howell, NjI thought this song was about cocaine and the effects it has on people; "I got a gun the other day from Sako,It's cute, small, fits right in my pocket" the paranoia caused by cocaine, "I play Russian roulette everyday, a man's sport,With a bullet called life, yeah mama called life," the suicidal tendancies caused by the drug. That's my opinion about its meaning.
  • Zach from Carlsbad, CaTOTALLY AWESOME!!! Does anyone know if the painting on Serj's face in the video have any meaning? i think it looks AWESOME
  • Petrified Monkey from South Park, CoWhen he says that he bought a gun from Sako that means he bought a condom(get it? "protection".. hehehe)
  • Callan from Slymar, Cathey say that the kombucha mushroom people don't signify anything. hard to beleive, but maybe it was just randomness?
  • Petrified Monkey from South Park, CoThis is a crazy idea I just had so bear with me. What if this song is about a dude who contracted AIDS and was given the Kombucha Musroom cure but instead of useing sugar they used aspertame, he went clinicaly insane, and killed some people. Then he and his girlfriend went on the lamb. His girlfriend trys to tell him that hes going to far with all this.He beats her. The people pushing my face in the ground refers to the cops who are chaseing him down. Then one night when he gets home his girlfreind is waiting there with the police to turn him in. He KILLS THEM ALL. and out of a combination of regret and insanity he stays there at his house untill backup forces arive and takes him into custody. Then the video shows him being intaragated and the last part where he is screameing "What do I feel..." is him on trial for the muders, and at the end hes sitting in a white padded room scearming to himself "In the end it all goes away"
  • Petrified Monkey from South Park, CoThe Part where it says "the kombucha mushroom people, sitting around all day". That could refer to the pharmacutical industrys that are reluctent to make a cure for a desease because they dont want to lose money from there sudotreatments. So instead of working on a cure they just sit around all day.
  • Daniel from Chino Hills, CaWell, no matter what this song is about, one thing is certain.....this song is awesome.....
  • Matt from Uniontown , Paalright, so, i was always under the impression that kumbucha mushrooms were those of the psychodelic type...and just a bit of trivia, to my knowledge Sako only makes rifles...those don't quite fit in your pocket.
  • Dennis from Toledo, OhRandy from Lima hit the nail on the head. The theme of aspartame was added to the video but the song is not about aspartame. It has to do with AIDS and the hellish horror that is life once someone finds out they have the disease. Randy's mention of the search for cures is very important to the theme here that this is a terrible, terrible disease. The main ingredient in preparing a Kombucha Mushroom culture is SUGAR. If that doesn't prove the song meaning to you, i don't know what will. ------------ Now exiting fact and entering some of my personal interpretations... I think it has to do more with someone HIV positive, than full blown aids. It sounds like something he's been dealing with for a while, and finally given up on. "Everytime I try to go where I really want to be it's already where I'm at, cause I'm already there", meaning, he only wants to stay at home, in one place anymore (his 'desolate room' with no lights or music). The second verse has him buying a gun, presumably for protection, and mentioning people putting him down, which brings to mind back when gay-bashers hated on anyone with HIV, simply assuming they were homosexual. This guy's clearly straight but still can't take the harassment and impending doom he feels. Apparently his girlfriend can't either because she lashes out at him sometimes. By the end of the song he's truly lost it. I've always heard "I've killed everyone... (they'll) lock me away forever, but now I'm feelin' better!", hinting at a homicidal spree and insanity, and finally despair. Sure as hell makes me want to always use protection.
  • Randy from Lima, OhThe Kombucha Mushroom isn't actually a mushroom. It's actually more of a bacteria that was first thought to contain a possible cure for AIDS. The song is saying that if this possible cure is sitting there, why are you still relying on praying to get better. He's already where he wants to be, alive. He sits in his room angry because he killed everyone. He spread his virus. Eventually it all goes away.
    -Randy, Lima, OH
  • Logan from Ottawa, Ks"Sugar" was released as an EP in 1998 and was taken from their self-titled debut album. The track's intense sound and edgy lyrics typify the group's style. All live tracks featured on this release were recorded in New York.

    The song was created before System of a Down were even a band. Daron and Shavo fused two riffs they had created to form a simplistic song. Serj then applied the lyrics which he wrote. This song has been played at every single System of a Down concert thus far.
  • Kyle from San Diego, Caoh and the reason this and just about all of system's earlier songs sounds so angry is because they were pissed off to and extreme cuz they were not being heard hardly anybody even liked them unlti Toxicity (Toxic City) came out then their messahe was being heard and missinterrupted and still is cuz no one bothers to research and listen and read the lyrics a good place to start research is
  • Kyle from San Diego, Caok since once again you people still get it wrong and apparently can never tell waht Serj is saying (yelling) in this song i will giv eyou the lyrics remember this is not about Apartme that is only in the music video These guys love to use symbolism unless they do a cover song or a love song which they have two and the symbolism is really easy to get just read listen research ok here ya go Serj lead Daron says Sugar and has a really weird and awesome hair cut in the music video this song is not about current things happening same with P.L.U.C.K. (Political Unholy Cowardly Killers)
    System of a Down-The kombucha mushroom people,
    Sitting around all day,
    Who can believe you,
    Who can believe you,
    Let your mother pray, (sugar)
    Well I'm not there all the time you know
    Some people, some people, some people,
    Call it insane, yeah they call it insane, (sugar)
    I play Russian roulette everyday, a man's sport,
    With a bullet called life, yeah called life,(sugar)
    You know that every time I try to go
    Where I really want to be,
    It's already where I am,
    Cause I'm already there.(sugar)
    The kombucha mushroom people,
    Sitting around all day,
    Who can believe you,
    Who can believe you,
    Let your mother pray, (sugar)
    I got a gun the other day from Sako,
    It's cute, small, fits right in my pocket,
    Yeah, right in my pocket, (sugar)
    My girl, you know, she lashes out at me sometimes,
    And I just kick her, and then she's O.K. ,she's O.K.(sugar)
    People are always chasing me down,
    Trying to push my face to the ground,
    Where all they really want to do,
    Is suck out my mother f**king brains, my brains (sugar).
    The kombucha mushroom people,
    Sitting around all day,
    Who can believe you,
    Who can believe you,
    Let your mother pray
    I sit, in my desolate room, no lights, no music,
    Just anger,
    I've killed everyone,
    I'm away forever, but I'm feeling better,
    How do I feel,
    What do I say,
    F**k you, it all goes away,
    How do I feel,
    What do I say,
    F**k you, it all goes away,
    How do I feel,
    What do I say,
    In the end it all goes away,
    How do I feel,
    What do I say,
    In the end it all goes away,
    How do I feel,
    What do I say,
    In the end it all goes away,
    How do I feel,
    What do I say,
    In the end it all goes away,
    How do I feel,
    What do I say,
    In the end it all goes away,
    How do I feel,
    What do I say,
    In the end it all goes away,
    In the end it all goes away,
    In the end it all goes away,
    In the end it all goes away,
    In the end it all goes away.
  • Kyle from San Diego, CaThe real "gothic" group people were really chill and just really nice people who like medevil Germany or Germanic especiall their armor which was all black and whats the closest thing to all black armor? weairng black clothes and coats I wear the same things but im not gothic as gothic has become what poser used to be, so the posers became the new and the old became the posers
  • Kyle from San Diego, Caand yeah Aspartme is in the music video it flashes by but no its not actually in the lyrics cept that parts where Daron say's SUGARRRRR!!!! gotta love system
  • Ray from Southold, NyThe song is about pulling people's focus from the real issues by placing fear in insicificant things
  • Scotty from St.peters, Mothis song rocks and maybe soad is just a lil crazy and writes awesome songs no matter what they are supposed to be about
  • Gabriel from San Antonio, TxI didn't think so, but I just read the lyrics again to make sure (did anyone bother to?) and there is no mention of aspartame. I think that Hubert is screwing with you all, and everyone just assumed he was knew what he was talking about. People are so gullible. Also Derrick, it's self-TITLED. Self-intitled would mean more like giving yourself the rights to something (as in: She's entitled to the house according to the settlement), if it was a word (which it isn't), but it wouldn't be hyphenated, and it would be spelled with an E as: self ENtitled. I hope English is like your second language or something.
  • Evan from Nyc, Nywe are the kombucha mushroom people sitting around all day? (goth-like) Who!??!?!? will be leave U? (goth-like) Who!??!?!? will be leave U? Let your mother praay......................... SUGAR!
  • Brit from Jacksonville, FlThe point of SOAD in this song is: Look at what all sugar can be used for or cause! This song is about both Aspartame and AIDS. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener which was banned by the FDA until the director of the FDA changed sometime in the laste 1980s or early 1990s. The new FDA director had not done his research and allowed the sugar-like product to be used, which led to many people becoming homicidal.
    The Kombucha mushroom people is a reference to an artificial AIDS cure using Kombucha "mushrooms" and sugar substance. However, this is only experimental, therefore people who choose this alternate treatment might be risking their lives (or playing Russian Roulette every day).
  • Jose from Tijuana think this song talks about cocaine and violence the kombucha mushroom people are everyone around but in the effect of cocaine
  • Neil from London, EnglandMaybe it's about mood swings in general and Aspartame is just an example of things in the modern world which are contributing to the downfall of hte human race. (a little melo-dramatic, but that is the tone of a lot of SOAD's lyrics)
  • Chris from Tampa Bay, FlI honestly dont know what this song could be about. It would make sense if it was about the artificial sweetener Aspartame but when I listen to the song it sounds like there's more anger in it to be just about that. Also i dont see how the refrence to the kombucha mushroom could be about Aspartame so it could possibly be about HIV or AIDS. Either way i think it's one of Sytem of A Downs greatest songs.
  • Anthony from Hell, Althe first guy who quoted has never hear Sad Statue on Mezmerize(which i happened to get a day before anyone else in the US) i think the song is about
    "blood lust" after killing certain things blood has a scent that causes insanity like the 4 boys who killed 7 people with bat but yeah the thing make you wanna kill kill kill.
  • Max from New York, NyIt's called sugar for a reason. And plus if your SOAD, are you gonna sing about stupid general issues like AIDS and unsafe sex, or are you gonna find a nice political or corporate abuse on the proletariat consumers? I take the latter.
  • Justin from Columbus, MsYes, the lyrics clearly state that this song is about Aspartame because i have seen the video like a million times, and it does flash up there. And the lyrics state it as well.
  • Gabriel Maclean from Toronto, CanadaIts about exactly what they said at the very top of the page, leave it at that, if you want more proof look at the lyrics
    P.S Great song
  • Vince from Philiadelphia, PaI think this song is about PCP- Angel Dust.
  • Adam from Dumfries, ScotlandThere are alternative theories about this song. One I heard (may have been GameFaqs message boards) was that this is about HIV/Aids. It makes sense. Russian Roulette, as referred to, is that every day you could die from AIDS. Gun is the lethality of AIDS (can be passed on, etc) and a common synonym for a penis, etc. The cryptic last section relates to either having succumbed to the virus or having killed off all friends by giving them it. Just a thought. SOAD's songs have many possible interpretations, its about what they mean to you.
  • Derrick from Cross Junction, VaThis is System of a Down's BEST song, dude; without a doubt. Their self-intitled album is also their best. Daron Malakian is an absolute GENIUS!!! This song will rock anyone's ass no matter what their choice of music may be! F*ck you! It all goes away!!!!!
  • Jim from Oxnard, CaThe most telling part of the song is the end, where Serj says "I sit in my desolate room/no lights, no music/JUST ANGER/I've killed everyone/I'm away forever, but I'm feeling better"
  • Kevin from Minneapolis, MnI think this might be about aspertame? Maybe it is just about lots of sugar and pure insanity and violence. IT IS WHAT IT IS! I love this song because of its insanity.
  • Dennis from Toledo, OhIs this a song about aspertame? the chorus talks about "the Kombucha mushroom people" and the video is set in the late 80s and shows people in a subway, walking. Kombucha mushroom is a synthesized medicine with the main claim of helping or curing AIDS and related complications. The main ingredient in making the stuff is sugar. These could easily be the frustrated words of a man dying from aids and contemplating suicide in his own home... after all he bought a gun, and people are always putting him down (possibly for his disease).
  • Scott Baddwin from Edmonton, EnglandThis is the best SOAD song,no questions about it
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