SOULFLY's MAX CAVALERA: Making Music Is Like 'A Never-Ending Quest'

December 24, 2005

Jake McGee of recently conducted an interview with SOULFLY mainman Max Cavalera (ex-SEPULTURA). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow: Do you ever look at stuff like [SEPULTURA's] "Chaos A.D." or anything you've done with SOULFLY, and get a little amazed that you're a part of that?

Max: "Yeah. Actually, sometimes, I'll hear something being played, and I'll go, 'Ooh, who's that?' And somebody will say, 'That's your shit, man.' [laughs] The last time was two weeks ago. I went to England to do something for Kerrang!, and when I walk on the stage to receive the award, they played the song 'We Who Are Not As Others' from 'Chaos A.D.' I totally forgot about the song by that time. And when I came back home, my son got that on the Internet. And he's watching, and he goes, 'Cool! They're playing 'We Who Are',' and I go, 'What?' I had him rewind that, and then I went and listened to 'Chaos A.D.', and it was like, 'Yeah, I remember this song now.' [laughs] But that's the thing — I forget things I've done. It comes at me again, after so many years, it hits me like that. When I went back to listen to that, I was like, 'This is a cool fucking song.' It was weird — it had nothing to do with the scene. It's not even what metal was going on at that time. We were in a totally different planet. And I like that; that's cool. And it will happen more, even with SOULFLY stuff." Yeah, each album is its own thing...

Max: "That's what I like about making music the way I do, 'cause it's like a never-ending search and quest, and I don't go back. My state of mind in music is forward, forward, forward, all the time. I'm so into the future, just going and searching. It's like an obsession; I'm an obsessed person with music, never really looking back. I very, very rarely listen to my own records. If I have to, it usually has something to do with a job, like learning a song to play live. I would not put my own old CD on my own CD player, I don't do that. It might be silly; it may be stupid. I don't know, but I just never did. Even after making 'Roots', with people tripping over that. I was already thinking about making the next SEPULTURA album — which I eventually didn't do, 'cause we broke up. But from what I heard on 'Soulfly', the next SEPULTURA album would have been some pretty wild shit. [laughs]" Do you trust the police, and the government in general?

Max: "No, nobody should [laughs]. I mean, that's the way I see it. There's good people and bad people everywhere. I also think that the shit that you do, if you do something bad and fuck some people over, it will catch up to you somehow. Maybe not now, but later. As for the government and the police, my experience with them has been both worlds. I was in jail in Brazil, and the police were the biggest fuckin' assholes I ever met. But then I have fans that are S.W.A.T. team people, and they're great people. I met one guy, and he brought five or six of his friends, and they were all cops, and we had a great time. They're big fans of SOULFLY. So there's both, but there's a little of that with everything, right?" Absolutely.

Max: "Within life, you become less naïve, and more aware of who you're dealing with. You should be aware of that. People can be really cool, but they can also be very fucked up, so you need to be on the guard all the time." Is it hard to constantly — at least once on every SOULFLY album — do songs about Dana [Wells, Max's stepson, who died in a car crash in 1996], or is it cathartic?

Max: "Well, they've been different all the time, and I think that 'Bleed' is very different from 'Tree of Pain'. I also think there is a therapy and catharsis involved, and in some songs like 'Staystrong', it's for me kind of a closing chapter. It feels that I can move on now; it feels more complete than it did before..." Did those guys ever get busted, or is the situation still open?

Max: "No man, no. It's still open, and now I doubt anything will ever happen. It's so out of our control. On the other hand, me as a person, I don't worry about that, because these guys are gonna get a judgment much more harsh and painful in the afterlife. That's my theory, at least, in what I believe. Anything that we can do to them in this world, is nothing compared to what's waiting for them in the next world. So, I don't even hold that hate. It would have been better to see justice be done, because we like to think society does work in a certain way, and when you do something like that, you should be punished. But it doesn't really work like that, with all the people with their schemes and lies and other things. But these people gotta live with that, every day. And that's a torment itself, even if they don't talk to anybody about it. Your inner voice, inside of you, when you know you killed somebody, you were involved in somebody's death, and you're hiding or whatever. It must be like this just fucked up, horrible state of mind, at all times. Shit, I feel bad when I get drunk and act like an asshole. I go and apologize to everybody, 'cause I can't live with that. I've done that a lot; I used to drink a lot [laughs], and I did fucked up shit. And I'd apologize. But something like this, they killed somebody. How do you go on with life knowing that you're very involved, and actually a big part of the cover-up? So, I tend to be not even really harsh at those people, 'cause they already get it mentally, and they're gonna get it even more after they leave this earth, so I don't have to worry about it. They will deal with what they've done, I will deal with what I've done, you will deal with what you've done. I actually stopped drinking. It was getting in the way of my music..."

Read the entire interview at

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