Max Cavalera has accused Jonathan Davis of "being childish" by claiming that SEPULTURA's 1996 album "Roots" was a "blatant KORN rip-off."
Davis made his comment during a recent interview with TeamRock in which he spoke about the bands KORN has inspired over its 23-year career. He said: "One that I thought was a big compliment, but I also thought was fucked up, was SEPULTURA's 'Roots' album. That was just a blatant KORN rip-off, and I had it out with producer Ross Robinson about that, because he just took our sound and gave it to SEPULTURA." He added: "My young brain couldn't handle it. But they were one of our biggest influences, so I guess they get a pass. And that's a classic album, so it's all good."
During a recent interview with the "Démentièllement Vôtre" show on Québec City's CKRL 89.1 FM radio station, Max and his brother Igor, who played drums for SEPULTURA for more than two decades, were asked to respond to Davis's claims. Igor said (hear audio below): "I don't see it like that. I think especially the sound of KORN, in my opinion, with the bass, is horrible. We didn't have that; we had a lot of low end and things that the KORN album didn't have. So I don't see why he would be pissed off, because I don't see that much of a [similarity] between the two of them."
Added Max: "Plus, KORN wasn't the only reason we wanted to work with Ross. He had done a FEAR FACTORY demo that I really liked and had a really raw sound. And he had done a DEFTONES song on the 'Adrenaline' album that I really liked."
He continued: "Saying that is like saying SEPULTURA should be pissed off at CANNIBAL CORPSE because they used [producer] Scott Burns. I'm not pissed off at CANNIBAL CORPSE; I think they're great. 'Cause we were one of the first that used Scott Burns, we should be mad at all the bands that use Scott Burns? That's childish. So he's just really being childish. And I really don't give a shit about KORN or anybody.
"We [were] very different from [KORN]; we have own way of playing and the songs are different. Everything is different. It's just the same guy that recorded [both albums]; that's the only similarity."
Max went on to say that he is "proud" of "Roots" because it was "a very influential record." He said: "Even some of the KORN guys said somewhere else that they were influenced by [SEPULTURA's] 'Chaos A.D.' when they were making their music, so it's kind of weird to hear that.
"But, yeah, I'm proud of the record. I think it's a great record. It's stood the test of time. It has a great low-end, raw sound. And [mixer] Andy Wallace, on top of it, made it sound completely amazing. And, yeah, I wouldn't change anything. I think it was the right record to make. The tribe stuff was great. The ideas of the album were fantastic. So it was a very pioneering kind of record, because I think it influenced a lot of people in other areas, like in Norway, with a lot of bands like IMMORTAL and ENSLAVED going back to their own original roots of Norwegian Vikings. I think that's all kind of [them] looking at 'Roots' and going, 'Okay, they did that with Brazil. We can do that with our own country.' So I think it's great that we have an album that actually did that. So I look more at 'Roots' like that."
Davis was featured as a guest on the "Roots" track "Lookaway" — along with Mike Patton of FAITH NO MORE.
Speaking to Live-Metal.net in 2009, Max admitted that he drew inspiration from some of the so-called early "nu metal" bands during the songwriting process for "Roots". He explained: "SEPULTURA did [take] a little bit of an influence from KORN and DEFTONES in some areas. And the funny thing is that we influenced those bands from when they started out. I talked to the KORN guys and they said they listened to 'Chaos A.D.' religiously when they started — it was like one of their favorite records. So it's kind of a 360 degrees kind of influence — back and forth."
During an interview with ARTISTdirect, Max recalled working with Davis on the "Lookaway" sessions. He said: "Mike Patton was on the song, and Jonathan's a huge FAITH NO MORE fan. He was actually freaking out that Patton was there. He was really nervous, which was actually kind of funny. He kept chewing on his hair the whole time he was in the studio. Ross Robinson teased him at one point and told him to calm down. [Laughs]"
He continued: "'Lookaway' came out of a jam. It's a really heavy riff. Patton started singing this Indian chant, and it gave me goosebumps in the studio when he did that. It was so intense. He showed up in the studio with a Samsonite briefcase. I was like, 'Mike, what's up with the briefcase?' He said, 'It's what I need to record.' It had an echo pedal inside for his voice and a bottle of wine. He opened the wine and we drank it. At one point, the three of us were on the floor of the studio going crazy and making weird noises and sounds! Jonathan took it to another level. He's singing about people with a fear of pussy, which is a crazy concept. It came out as a really cool, obscure song on 'Roots'."
"Roots" was certified gold in 2005 by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) for U.S. shipments in excess of 500,000 copies.