Max Cavalera behöver ingen närmare presentation. Inför hans framträdande på något kaosartade Metal All Stars i Stockholm fick Rocksverige tillfälle att ställa några frågor till den brasilianske strängbändaren. Givetvis blev det lite snack om hans kommande självbiografi ”My bloody roots: From Sepultura to Soulfly and beyond”, men även om det färska projektet Killer be Killed och kommande albumet med Cavalera Conspiracy.
What did it feel like when you finally sat down and read your book?
I finally finished it last week. You can read it in a day if you take the time for it, but I read a chapter here and a chapter there. I still go back and read some chapters. It´s pretty cool! It´s fun to remember some of that stuff, like with Mike Patton (Faith No More) and I and our adventures in Brazil with voodoo and taking him to voodoo rituals. Stuff that people don´t know about. That´s a good read. Then the introduction that Dave Grohl wrote is the best one ever. I think it´s one of the best intros in any book. How his speakers were blowing up when he listened to “Roots”. $50.000 down the tubes because of my music. So metal!
Could you ever see yourself working with Dave Grohl again?
I did the “Probot” thing, but yeah, it could happen. He´s a great guy and he´s a big person in music these days. He´s up there with Paul McCartney and I´m still down here, but he´s a great guy! He accepted the invitation to write for the book just like that. Joel McIver (author) called him and said “Max wants you to do the introduction for the book?” and he just said “Fuck yeah, I´ll do it!”. Shows that he´s still a reasonable guy.
Are you happy with McIver´s version of your life?
I am. I think it deals with a lot of great issues like the Sepultura split and some tragedies and what´s make me do what I do. People can understand that now and when they read the book, they will understand more why I do what I do. Why metal means so much to me and how it´s been my eternal salvation. I totally believe that metal is my salvation. Some of the alternatives back in Brazil were pretty bad – drugs, crime, jail or death. Sounds like a song. (laughs)
What about the band Killer be Killed then? Any plans at all about touring or just playing a couple of gigs?
Yeah, I hope so. First of all we have to figure out how to play some of the songs. Some of them have two tunings on them. At the time in the studio I wasn´t thinking about it, I just wanted to make the songs as cool as they could be. So some songs are in D and then at the very end of the song, we changed it to A. I remember Troy (Sanders) saying “I don´t know about this. How are we gonna do this live?” and I was more like “Who cares? We´ll figure it out when we have to play live.” Four of the songs have this tuning issue, which is really cool. I´d like to make a whole record of songs that start with one tuning and then ends with another. It´s a great idea. In the beginning of the song it´s heavy, but then at the end it´s twice as heavy. When you thought it couldn´t get any heavier, boom, it gets twice as heavy. We´ve all been talking about it, but we´re all gonna be on tour soon. I´m doing Soulfly with Korn in Russia and Mastodon are out playing, so we have to wait until September. Either that or something next year. It´s totally cool if we do some festivals next year.
Last time I talked to you, you mentioned a title called “A throat full of broken glass”, but it didn´t end up on the album.
There were a lot of titles that didn´t make it, like “99 Scalps”, which was the name I wanted for the band. Greg´s (Puciato) name for the band was Negative Fucks. I love that name! It´s so punk rock, but it didn´t cut it either so we ended up with Killer be killed. It´s a great name too. It´s catchy, simple and has a serial killer vibe. Anything with kill is good, man!
Who´s on the album cover? It kinda looks like Tommy Aldridge?
Yeah! (laughs) I don´t know who that is. I´m not too crazy about the artwork. It´s not one of my favorites. It´s the only weak link on this album. Greg had a picture of a tank with missiles and it looked fucking killer. I told them to use that, but maybe my opinion wasn´t heard? (laughs) They liked the Polish face or whatever the fuck that is? I like how it says Killer be Killed on the side of the cover. It reminds me of Discharge and that´s my favorite part of the cover. The faces I couldn´t care less about. I tried to get them to change it, I really did, but nobody heard me. I wasn´t as involved. I was involved in the music. I wrote 90% of the riffs and I recorded 90% of the guitars. I´ve never done so much guitar in my life, as I did on Killer be Killed, which is awesome. As a guitar player it was a lot of fun to do that. There´s a lot of cool riffs that sound really good. I like to hear my riffs when somebody else is singing. When I hear a riff of mine with Troy singing, ah yes! That´s really cool.
You´ve lived in the US for quite some time now. Do you in any way feel American?
Well, I learned to like American football. I´ve become a fan of that. It´s quite different from soccer, but quite addictive once you get to know it. I didn´t like it at first because the game stops too much. I used to hate it when I first moved to America. I was so against it and I couldn´t even watch it. It´s hard with baseball too and I still hate baseball. Baseball sucks! And golf? Golf is so boring. There was this big baseball player, Randy Johnson, and he came to see Sepultura on the Roots tour. He was very famous and very tall and he actually won the 2001 series with the Diamondbacks. The week they won, Soulfly was playing and he came to the soon to get autographs and so on. A nice guy, but I still don´t like baseball and I told him that. I said “It´s great meeting you and I´m honored, but I hate baseball.” And he just said “It´s all good, man! I don´t care.” In a way I´m kinda Americanized. A lot of stuff in America is cool, like water parks and Vegas. Vegas is so crazy and wild. It´s a beautiful country, it really is. We live in the south west and there´s mountains and then you have California and the ocean. We´ve toured a lot in the States, so we´ve gotten to know the country quite good. I like Colorado too. It´s probably one of my favorite places. I´m still Brazilian though.
When you go to Brazil, do you say you go home?
Well, it´s kinda hard, you know. It´s changed a lot, but I think for the better. It´s a lot more modern now and the World Cup should be good for Brazil. I do go back there quite a lot. I was there twice last year and we did a really nice tour of 10 shows and we did 3 shows in the rainforest with 20.000 people and a festival in Brasilia, the capital, and there was another 20.000 people there. We played in Rio with Suicidal Tendencies which was very nice and I love that band! It´s good to go back, but it doesn´t feel like home anymore. Home is actually Phoenix. That´s where I feel at home.
And family is of course very important to you.
It was like that when we grew up. An Italian family and we were pretty united and pretty close with big dinners on Sundays with the whole family and 20 people around the table eating pasta. Everybody screaming and being very loud. Italians are very loud. Then having my brother in the band and now I´m back playing with him again, which is great and also having my son playing drums with Soulfly. I´m proud of our family and it´s a metal family that lives for metal, which is great and I´ve always wanted a family that was involved in my activities. I wouldn´t mind if they weren´t involved and if my son was a doctor or a lawyer, but I kinda like it better that they´re not. (laughs) Actually, our daughter is studying to become a lawyer, which is good. We need a lawyer for all the lawsuits. (laughs)
Tell us about the next Cavalera Conspiracy album? You´ve said that it´s gonna be really heavy.
Yeah, grindcore! I say grindcore, but it´s not exactly like that. It´s still Cavalera, but heavily influenced by Nails, Trap Them, Entombed… all those great bands. We have Nate (Newton) from Converge playing bass and he did a great job. I love Converge and he´s got that nasty, distorted sound. It was funny, because during the recording, Igor kept trying to go into a groove and I would stop and say “Fuck the groove!” Every time he got into a groove I said “Get the fuck out of that groove!” It´s 90% fast, but some grooves got in there, it couldn´t be helped, but I managed to get 90% fast stuff out of Igor. A good victory for me.
Is the album all done?
No, I have to re-sing some stuff that I´m not happy with and I´ll do it after this tour (Metal All Stars) and then it has to be mixed and then it comes out on Napalm Records. It´s our first album with Napalm. It´s great that we´ve signed with them.
Av: Niclas Müller-Hansen