Former SEPULTURA and current SOULFLY frontman Max Cavalera says that he didn't expect his decision to cut off his trademark mono-dreadlock to "cause such a shitstorm."
The Brazilian-born musician permanently got rid of his dreadlock earlier this month. On October 19, Gloria Cavalera, who also manages Max, took to her Instagram to share a photo of her holding Max's hair, with her newly shorn husband standing next to her. She wrote in an accompanying caption: "It must be snowing in hell today!"
Max discussed the response to his decision to part with the dreadlock during a new interview with Dave "Higgo" Higgins of Australia's MMM Hard N Heavy radio station. He said (hear audio below): "It was kind of crazy. I wasn't expecting that reaction. In fact, when I decided to cut it, it was kind of out of the blue. I woke up one day and I told my wife, 'I think I wanna cut my dreads.' And she was very surprised, 'cause it's been with me for 23 years. She [was, like], 'Really? Seriously?' And I was, like, 'Yeah, it's bugging me. It's very heavy. I kind of feel like I need something new, something fresh in my life.' So we just did it.
"It was a Sunday afternoon at my house," he continued. "We were having a family dinner. I just went in the backyard and she had a pair of scissors, and [I said], 'Cut it off. Just cut it off. Let's not make a big deal.' But she took a picture and posted the picture. And that was a problem. That was where the shit hit the fan. [Laughs]"
Cavalera went on to say that he was taken by surprise by the strong response to his new look.
"I didn't expect that, man," he reiterated. "My son called me. He was, like, 'You're number one on Google News.' I don't even know what that is. I was, like, 'What the fuck is that?'
"I think [Gloria] wants to frame it and put it on the wall in the house and then do something with it eventually in the future. Those are manager things that I don't get involved with, manager decisions. [Laughs]
"I tell you what, man — it feels great not having that thing around," he explained. "It was good, but it had its time. It was time to go; it was time to move on. I feel like I've been liberated from the dread. It was very heavy, man, and it was really long — it was all the way to my ass.
"Everybody was, like, '2020 doesn't get more weird than this. Even Max is cutting his dreads.' Which I didn't even think about it until later, that I did it. I was, like, 'Yeah, it actually is in 2020 that I cut my dreads off.'
"It's just one of those things," Max added. "Like I said, it was a spur-of-the-moment decision. I just woke up one day, and I was, like, 'I think I'm done with this. I think it's time to cut it off.' And I just did it. And it's finally done. But I didn't know it was gonna cause such a shitstorm. [Laughs]"
The so-called mono-dreadlock has been criticized in some circles, with the Sick Chirpse web site famously describing it in a 2015 article as "solid chunk of bedraggled, matted and minging hair [which] seems to go hand in hand with personal neglect and crushing laziness."
Max discussed his hair in a 2011 interview with MyTicket. Asked what the secret was to having "the most famous dreadlocks in the history of metal," Cavalera said: "Just leave it there, and it grows, and leave it alone. I wash it. It's clean. I did find food one time. I opened one of them up and found some macaroni or cheese or rice. I think my wife was going through the dreads and [she said], 'There's some food in here, right?' A stash from tour.
"But, yeah, I just let it grow," he explained. "I've been growing it since 1997. That's when I started. I never stopped. There's been rumors that I cut it off. Sometimes fans come to me and say, 'Hey, man, let me see your dreads. Oh, they're still there. I heard that you cut it off.'"
Max started growing his dreadlocks a year after SEPULTURA's classic lineup fell apart when the rest of the band split with Gloria as their manager. His brother, drummer Igor Cavalera, stuck around with the group for another 10 years before also leaving SEPULTURA and re-teaming with Max in CAVALERA CONSPIRACY.