The Gospel According To Max Cavalera
Don’t hold your breath for a Sepultura reunion – Max is happy hanging with his bro and writing about ancient religions…
WE DIDN'T HAVE MONEY GROWING UP, BUT WE HAD MUSIC.
“When we were young, we were very poor; in fact, our first instruments had to be either stolen from other bands or borrowed. [My brother] Igor didn’t even have a drumkit until [1989’s] Beneath The Remains. We were flat broke, but there was a lot of passion involved and so we tape-traded. I used to tape-trade with Chuck [Schuldiner] from Death, Trey [Azagthoth] from Morbid Angel, the guys from Dark Angel and Possessed, and Mille [Petrozza] from Kreator. Now you have the internet, it’s a whole other demon. You go online and there are a million bands – it’s almost too much information.”
IGOR AND I WERE ALWAYS CLOSE.
“Our mother forced us to hang out a lot when we were young, which drove me crazy, because I had a girlfriend and I had to take him on our dates. He’d be sitting right there next to us, and it was like, ‘Really?’, but my mother was really insistent on that. Then we had the band and the band did good, but after I quit Sepultura there was this 10-year period when we didn’t talk to each other. That was very hard on my mother and hard on us, too. So when we got back together with Cavalera Conspiracy, it was a big relief, and now it’s really good – we have a good friendship and brotherhood and I love making music with him.”
BRAZIL COULD BE A DANGEROUS PLACE FOR METALHEADS.
“We had a couple of close encounters with skinheads. One time Igor got chased by 10 of them – he managed to escape, otherwise he would have got his ass kicked. Sepultura once played a free show at a soccer stadium in São Paulo and one of our fans got killed by a skinhead with an axe – like, walking around with a fucking axe, that was the mentality. I remember we played a show with [legendary Brazilian crossover band] Ratos de Porão – it was a venue for 1,000 people and only 60 showed up, because everyone was so scared. And the promoter, he had a gun, and he’s holding it backstage saying, ‘Any skinheads come, they’re going to get a surprise from me.’ We felt protected by this guy but it was pretty heavy.”
WHEN SEPULTURA BECAME BIG, I STRUGGLED TO DEAL WITH FAME.
“When Roots came out [in 1996], we got really big, especially in Brazil. I got annoyed because 70% of the people weren’t fans; it was just a craze. It was cool to like Sepultura. I’d go to a mall and get mobbed by 40 people, and half of them would be teenage girls who weren’t metal fans. I didn’t enjoy that period. I drank a lot, did a lot of drugs, just to escape. So when I started over with Soulfly, it felt more comfortable, playing small clubs. I felt, ‘This is where I belong.’ I prefer my life now, being able to do things on my own terms, play the music I like. I’m not a massive name, but I have my roots and a good name in music, and that’s more important than being super-famous.”
SEEING SEPULTURA CONTINUE TODAY IS VERY HARD.
“I know that the name goes down and down and down, and that’s sad. To hear that people don’t like it, that is strange and hurtful. I think Sepultura were such a special band in the 90s; we opened up the doors for South American metal, the Ministry guys liked us, hardcore people liked us, Lemmy from Motörhead liked us, so to see what it’s turned into now, where people don’t talk about it and it’s almost like a joke, it kind of sucks.”