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Max Cavalera Interview

He's not about to rejoin Sepultura at the moment, his most embarrassing record might actually get him killed and he's keen for you to know that he's never taken a shit on the Brazilian flag. Cardinal Gill applies the thumbscrews.

Who's your most famous friend?
Laura Palmer, London

Cavalera: "Er... Probably the invisible guy that lives in my head."
Hammer: Eh?
Cavalera: "He's always with me so to me he's more famous than anybody else I can think of."
Hammer: ...Erm, right.

Max, what was with the Kappa tracksuit?
Figurehead, message board

Cavalera: "It's not that I'm endorsed by anyone - I just like Soccer stuff. It's just an Italian track suit - a soccer thing."

The Soulfly debut features an appearance from one Fred Durst. quick question: why?
Sam Przyborowski, message board

Cavalera: "That was mostly [producer who has worked with many bands including Machine Head and Slipknot] Ross Robinson's idea, who was working with Limp Bizkit at the time. I didn't know Fred that much, but I heard the Limp Bizkit demo that he brought into the studio. He was like, 'I'm going to try something out in this song ['Bleed']' and it sounded cool, so we recorded with him."

Max, why are you so quick to piss on the fine work done by the boys of the Brazilian police force?
Jase, message board

Cavalera: "What? I piss on Brazilian cops?"
Hammer: I think they're referring to your run-in with the police in 1992. Ring any bells? Cavalera: "Oh yeah! I did a concert and we had a Brazilian flag onstage and the cops invented a story that I stamped on the flag. I got arrested for committing an act of terrorism against Brazil because I stepped on the flag. It got to the point that I received a phone call from someone... somebody from Nirvana, maybe Dave Grohl, who said, 'Why did you shit on the flag?' It escalated from stepping to spitting to pissing to shitting on the flag. None of that actually happened, but I did get to spend a few hours in custody."
Hammer: How did the police treat you?
Cavalera: "They were alright. I wasn't really behind bars. It was just a little office. I couldn't go anywhere for four hours, mainly because of the media involvement. Then I had my grandmother calling me to find out what's wrong with me, saying, 'What's the matter with you? You need to be spanked!' I was like, 'Grandma, I didn't do it! Honest to God, I didn't piss or shit on the flag! It was a police invention.' It might have something to do with the fact that in one of the songs we played I made 100,000 people sing, 'Fuck the police!' It was just out of boredom, I was just having some punk rock fun.

Do you regret getting your neck tattooed?
Tim Westcountry, message board

Cavalera: "No. Actually I need to get it finished. I need to get the Soulfly symbol here [points to his neck]... what do you guys call this?"
Hammer: Your Adam's apple.
Cavalera: "Right. I've talked to some people who have had it tattooed and they say they didn't like it, so I'm just waiting for a pissed-up day to do it."

I saw you at Ozzfest '98, it was one of the best gigs ever - do you agree?

Who's your most famous friend?
Laura Palmer, London

Cavalera: "Er... Probably the invisible guy that lives in my head."
Hammer: Eh?
Cavalera: "He's always with me so to me he's more famous than anybody else I can think of."
Hammer: ...Erm, right.

Max, what was with the Kappa tracksuit?
Figurehead, message board

Cavalera: "It's not that I'm endorsed by anyone - I just like Soccer stuff. It's just an Italian track suit - a soccer thing."

The Soulfly debut features an appearance from one Fred Durst. quick question: why?
Sam Przyborowski, message board

Cavalera: "That was mostly [producer who has worked with many bands including Machine Head and Slipknot] Ross Robinson's idea, who was working with Limp Bizkit at the time. I didn't know Fred that much, but I heard the Limp Bizkit demo that he brought into the studio. He was like, 'I'm going to try something out in this song ['Bleed']' and it sounded cool, so we recorded with him."

Max, why are you so quick to piss on the fine work done by the boys of the Brazilian police force?
Jase, message board

Cavalera: "What? I piss on Brazilian cops?"
Hammer: I think they're referring to your run-in with the police in 1992. Ring any bells? Cavalera: "Oh yeah! I did a concert and we had a Brazilian flag onstage and the cops invented a story that I stamped on the flag. I got arrested for committing an act of terrorism against Brazil because I stepped on the flag. It got to the point that I received a phone call from someone... somebody from Nirvana, maybe Dave Grohl, who said, 'Why did you shit on the flag?' It escalated from stepping to spitting to pissing to shitting on the flag. None of that actually happened, but I did get to spend a few hours in custody."
Hammer: How did the police treat you?
Cavalera: "They were alright. I wasn't really behind bars. It was just a little office. I couldn't go anywhere for four hours, mainly because of the media involvement. Then I had my grandmother calling me to find out what's wrong with me, saying, 'What's the matter with you? You need to be spanked!' I was like, 'Grandma, I didn't do it! Honest to God, I didn't piss or shit on the flag! It was a police invention.' It might have something to do with the fact that in one of the songs we played I made 100,000 people sing, 'Fuck the police!' It was just out of boredom, I was just having some punk rock fun.

Do you regret getting your neck tattooed?
Tim Westcountry, message board

Cavalera: "No. Actually I need to get it finished. I need to get the Soulfly symbol here [points to his neck]... what do you guys call this?"
Hammer: Your Adam's apple.
Cavalera: "Right. I've talked to some people who have had it tattooed and they say they didn't like it, so I'm just waiting for a pissed-up day to do it."

I saw you at Ozzfest '98, it was one of the best gigs ever - do you agree?Anon, message board

Cavalera: "His favourite gig and my favourite gig are probably two different ones but that was a very, very cool concert. I think in general the whole of Ozzfest '98 was great - it had a great vibe that year."

What's the most embarrassing record you own?
Anon, message board

Cavalera: "The stuff from Brazil shouldn't count, that stuff sounds like a third rate Frank Sinatra. Probably ['80s synth horrors] Sigue Sigue Sputnik... but in Brazil if you're a metal head and you like them you could probably actually get killed. They were a full-on new wave band, and metal and new wave were rivals so I listen to Sigue Sigue Sputnik in the dark when no friends are around."

When was the last time you spoke to your brother?
Joe North, message board

Cavalera: "On my birthday, August 4th. There are a lot of birthdays in August. My son's is in August, so is mine, and Marc (Rizzo) the guitar player has his two days before mine."

New Sepultura, do you like it?
Insineratehymn, message board

Cavalera: "I haven't heard it."

Having spent so long in the music business, has there ever been a point where you have thought about giving up?
Phill Bolton, Oxfordshire

Cavalera: "No, because for me music is the weapon, it is the fuel. If I give up music, I won't have the fuel any more. No matter how ugly the music industry gets, you still have the music itself to fight it with."
Hammer: So you'd never retire and do something else?
Cavalera: "I always say, I'll rest when I die. I find a way to connect my free time with my job. Very often I'll go on tour and I'll be wandering around weird neighbourhoods in Poland with the feeling that I'm actually not working, which is cool. So, no, I will never retire."

You toured with morbid angel this year. shouldn't you be touring with devildriver or someone like that?
Tim Westcountry, message board

Cavalera: "No, man. The tour with Morbid Angel was an awesome tour. I've known Morbid Angel for a very long time; they're actually pen pals of mine from back before I even left Brazil. They're excellent guys regardless of what their beliefs are about. I don't necessarily want to play with people who sound just like Soulfly."

Is your kid rebelling and listening to Coldplay and the Vengaboys?
Punchb0wl, message board

Cavalera: "They don't know what Coldplay is! Which is good."
Hammer: What are they listening to?
Cavalera: "They're actually into heavy stuff: Motörhead, Slayer, Terror and Black Sabbath. Actually we just toured with Sabbath, doing 10 shows in Europe, and the best thing for my kids was getting to watch Sabbath live on stage. Sabbath was one of the first bands I listened to when I was 13, and now the next generation love them - that's fucking awesome. But it wouldn't bother me if they liked some different type of music. It's the same with sports: they actually don't like soccer, they prefer to skateboard. I'm open minded, but for me - being Brazilian - that's a bummer."

What was it like meeting Paul Di'Anno?
Dr Benway, message board

Cavalera: "I met Paul Di'Anno for the first time in Serbia, at one of his gigs. He asked me from onstage to join him, so I got up there and sang 'Killers' with him. That was just the most amazing thing for me to do. Iron Maiden was my favourite band as a kid so it was always my dream to sing with Iron Maiden. It was absolutely amazing."
Hammer: Have you seen them on tour recently?
Cavalera: "No, but I know they're touring the first three albums at the moment [actually it's the first four albums - Pedantic Ed]. It would have been really cool to have Bruce and Paul touring. I love Bruce Dickinson, but I think the old stuff is much better. It's Paul's voice, it just has so much personality - I think they should have involved him."

How many times a day do you get asked when you're rejoining Sepultura?
Zoe Olive, Eaton

Cavalera: "Not a lot. Actually, less than people might think."

Dear Max, Sepultura have been shit since roots. when will you get back with them?
Figurehead, message board

Cavalera: "[Laughs] Well that's the first time today."
Hammer: Really?
Cavalera: "Yeah. My answer would be never say never - never say die. But at the moment I'm not thinking about a reunion."
Hammer: Why not?
Cavalera: "Because I'm not a big reunion fan. There's only a few that I've thought were necessary - most aren't and they actually ruin the original beauty of bands that should never be reunited. The Queen reunion wasn't good; to replace Freddie is pretty absurd."
Hammer: Don't you think Ozzy's retirement from Ozzfest hasn't come a moment too soon, and that Black Sabbath's recent performances have been a little disappointing?
Cavalera: "People always say, 'I only like old Black Sabbath.' Well you get to see old Black Sabbath right now. It doesn't get much cooler than this. Old Black Sabbath playing old Black Sabbath songs."
Hammer: So when are you going to have a Sepultura reunion?
Cavalera: "Things are going well with Soulfly so there's no point looking at a reunion.That's all I can say about that for now, Sorry!"

Anon, message boardCavalera: "His favourite gig and my favourite gig are probably two different ones but that was a very, very cool concert. I think in general the whole of Ozzfest '98 was great - it had a great vibe that year."

What's the most embarrassing record you own?
Anon, message board

Cavalera: "The stuff from Brazil shouldn't count, that stuff sounds like a third rate Frank Sinatra. Probably ['80s synth horrors] Sigue Sigue Sputnik... but in Brazil if you're a metal head and you like them you could probably actually get killed. They were a full-on new wave band, and metal and new wave were rivals so I listen to Sigue Sigue Sputnik in the dark when no friends are around."

When was the last time you spoke to your brother?
Joe North, message board

Cavalera: "On my birthday, August 4th. There are a lot of birthdays in August. My son's is in August, so is mine, and Marc (Rizzo) the guitar player has his two days before mine."

New Sepultura, do you like it?
Insineratehymn, message board

Cavalera: "I haven't heard it."

Having spent so long in the music business, has there ever been a point where you have thought about giving up?
Phill Bolton, Oxfordshire

Cavalera: "No, because for me music is the weapon, it is the fuel. If I give up music, I won't have the fuel any more. No matter how ugly the music industry gets, you still have the music itself to fight it with."
Hammer: So you'd never retire and do something else?
Cavalera: "I always say, I'll rest when I die. I find a way to connect my free time with my job. Very often I'll go on tour and I'll be wandering around weird neighbourhoods in Poland with the feeling that I'm actually not working, which is cool. So, no, I will never retire."

You toured with morbid angel this year. shouldn't you be touring with devildriver or someone like that?
Tim Westcountry, message board

Cavalera: "No, man. The tour with Morbid Angel was an awesome tour. I've known Morbid Angel for a very long time; they're actually pen pals of mine from back before I even left Brazil. They're excellent guys regardless of what their beliefs are about. I don't necessarily want to play with people who sound just like Soulfly."

Is your kid rebelling and listening to Coldplay and the Vengaboys?
Punchb0wl, message board

Cavalera: "They don't know what Coldplay is! Which is good."
Hammer: What are they listening to?
Cavalera: "They're actually into heavy stuff: Motörhead, Slayer, Terror and Black Sabbath. Actually we just toured with Sabbath, doing 10 shows in Europe, and the best thing for my kids was getting to watch Sabbath live on stage. Sabbath was one of the first bands I listened to when I was 13, and now the next generation love them - that's fucking awesome. But it wouldn't bother me if they liked some different type of music. It's the same with sports: they actually don't like soccer, they prefer to skateboard. I'm open minded, but for me - being Brazilian - that's a bummer."

What was it like meeting Paul Di'Anno?
Dr Benway, message board

Cavalera: "I met Paul Di'Anno for the first time in Serbia, at one of his gigs. He asked me from onstage to join him, so I got up there and sang 'Killers' with him. That was just the most amazing thing for me to do. Iron Maiden was my favourite band as a kid so it was always my dream to sing with Iron Maiden. It was absolutely amazing."
Hammer: Have you seen them on tour recently?
Cavalera: "No, but I know they're touring the first three albums at the moment [actually it's the first four albums - Pedantic Ed]. It would have been really cool to have Bruce and Paul touring. I love Bruce Dickinson, but I think the old stuff is much better. It's Paul's voice, it just has so much personality - I think they should have involved him."

How many times a day do you get asked when you're rejoining Sepultura?
Zoe Olive, Eaton

Cavalera: "Not a lot. Actually, less than people might think."

Dear Max, Sepultura have been shit since roots. when will you get back with them?
Figurehead, message board

Cavalera: "[Laughs] Well that's the first time today."
Hammer: Really?
Cavalera: "Yeah. My answer would be never say never - never say die. But at the moment I'm not thinking about a reunion."
Hammer: Why not?
Cavalera: "Because I'm not a big reunion fan. There's only a few that I've thought were necessary - most aren't and they actually ruin the original beauty of bands that should never be reunited. The Queen reunion wasn't good; to replace Freddie is pretty absurd."
Hammer: Don't you think Ozzy's retirement from Ozzfest hasn't come a moment too soon, and that Black Sabbath's recent performances have been a little disappointing?
Cavalera: "People always say, 'I only like old Black Sabbath.' Well you get to see old Black Sabbath right now. It doesn't get much cooler than this. Old Black Sabbath playing old Black Sabbath songs."
Hammer: So when are you going to have a Sepultura reunion?
Cavalera: "Things are going well with Soulfly so there's no point looking at a reunion.That's all I can say about that for now, Sorry!"