red lights

Livewire's One on One


Soulfly's Max Cavalero

March 31, 2005
The music on Soulfly's previous albums Soulfly, Primitive, and 3, is fluid, experimental, and unpredictable, and it embraces and seeks change. For its fourth album, the blood-boiling, self-produced Prophecy, Soulfly and its leader Max Cavalera, the metal legend/visionary who cut his teeth as founding guitarist/vocalist for the groundbreaking band Sepultura, decided to change gears yet again. Backed by a completely new cast of musicians, Prophecy represents a fresher, newer, revitalized Soulfly. (From

by Karen Bondowski

Max: It's crazy weather here! (laughs)

Livewire: Yeah, I saw about four accidents on the way up here to see you.

Max: Oh, really? That sucks. Our driver was a little bit worried last night when we left Minneapolis but he did good. I could tell he was worried about the weather though.

Livewire: Well, Minneapolis had to be even worse then here.

Max: Feels the same. It's just cold!! (laughs)

Livewire: Where are you from again?

Max: Brazil.

Livewire: So, that must be a lot different out here for you then?

Max: Yeah, but I've been out here for a really long time. More then 10 years and I travel a lot, you know? A big part of my work is actually touring. Six months out of the year I don't even live in a house, I just tour. But I'm originally from Brazil.

Livewire: How's the tour going so far?

Max: It's going very good! I feel that now people know Soulfly stuff better then when I first started. Even the new album.. It's called Prophecy, they know it better then like two months ago. A few months ago, I could tell that people were not familiar with the songs and they are now. The whole crowd knows the lyrics. Yeah, it's been a really good tour. There's been a lot of people at the shows. All the shows have been packed. I think it's a good deal with Morbid Angel too cause it's exotic, you know? They build up this like World of the worlds, you know good and evil type shit? (laughs)

Livewire: Are you personally a fan of Morbid Angel?

Max: Yeah, we're friends. I know those guys. I wore their shirt in 1987 on my Sepultra tour. I was probably the first guy in Brazil to wear their shirt. So we don't see each other a lot. Just touring. But yeah, I'm happy twenty years after that, they're still doing it, I'm still doing it. (laughs) I mean it's a good tour. It's drawing a lot of people.

Livewire: I read in a past interview that you were really hard into drugs and had then been clean, are you still?

Max: Yeah, I know it was a phase in Brazil. Which in Brazil is kind of normal. Well, it's not normal but you kind of hear more about it. (dog barks) There's a lot of poverty and a lot of people doing it are into drugs, a soccer player or a musician. A musician even at that time was really not an option. I was young, you know like 14, 15 years old. I lost my dad when I was 9. I don't regret, but I'm glad I didn't die. I was supposed to be dead I think for all the shit I did, you know?

Livewire: Have you ever had a close encounter?

Max: No, I just mesmerized myself. The shit I did that didn't kill me. I'm very grateful. Not just the drugs but the action too. The drugs was like half of it. And they are.. They're... Have you ever seen the movie, "City of God?"

Livewire: (shakes head left-to-right)

Max: It's violent! I was around a lot of violent people and people who knew where they were going in more then one way. But music saved me so it's cool, you know? But I like to tell people that I had that phase. Cause if they're strong, don't get into that shit. It's not worth it. I encourage people not to do it. I don't smoke pot, but I think that pots ok. It's different. I don't think it's a real bad drug.

Livewire: I was actually just about to ask if you thought pot should be legal.

Max: Umm.. Yeah. I play in Holland a lot and it seems like they don't really have a big problem there. Most of the people from Holland don't even smoke pot. Just cause you know, it's legal there. I've never seen nobody get compltely nuts on weed as people do with alcohol. So, I don't smoke pot but I don't think it's a big deal. I think they should make it legal.

Livewire: What's it like being a rockstar AND a family man at the same time? You have five kids, right?

Max: Yeah, and five dogs too. It's cool. I think the family is like the edge that keeps me human. Cause as you know in this business, sometimes by mistake you start believing what people are really saying. Like if you hear a 100 times a day that you're great, that you're good, you start getting some kind of wierd idea about like somethings wrong in the world. Why do people think you're so good. And you start believing that you're really that good. That's the problem. Cause I think that everybodys the same. My kids keep it real cause they scream at me and they don't treat me like Max from Soulfly, just Max the dad. I think they're one of the reason why I'm still going. Cause on one side I have the edge off from them so I don't really need to burn people. Like rockstars burn a lot of bridges, I think. They forget that the people they mistreat on the way up, they're going to meet them again on the way down. So, I'm glad I don't have that kind of stuff with me at all.

Livewire: Yeah, it's kind of sad when that happens and they forget. It's the fans that made you where you are today.

Max: Yeah.. But then again.. Yeah, some people are just assholes by nature, you know? (laughs) I think a little bit of that should do with when you don't like have anyone to ground you, keep you rooted. You really start believing all that shit. Then you start thinking that you're some kind of God or some bullshit like that. It happens. It sucks.
(Max's dog runs into the room to see what's going on)

Max: Hey Puppers, want to do an interview?

Livewire: What is your take on the tragedy that happened to Dimebag Darrell?

Max: First, I think that everybody's just shocked. But at the same time, we kind of knew that... The society has that kind of advantage. All the way back to John Lennon and even before. It's really sad. He was a great guy, really cool. A very friendly person. I had the pleasure of working with him, touring with him three or four times and I thought and it's not because he died or anything, but out of the four Pantera guys, he was the most friendly. Him and Vinnie, the drummer. Phil and Rex kind of kept it to themselves, which is cool, I respect that. Darrell was just funny. He loved to drink and he would get everyone in Sepultra to drink. It's crazy how we even survived that tour. There was a LOT of drinking. (laughs) But yeah, I was really sad about what happened to him. I'm not really worried about my own security like some people are. I'm not worried about that. But it's just sad. It sucks that happened. I think it was a real tragedy. And I had one the day after that, my grandson died in Serbia. So, that's two in a row for me. I call it "Black December." Cause December was a really bad month. So I pray to the end of the year so we can start a new year positive. And we did. I think things are better.

Livewire: Are you guys getting a lot of support and donations for your grandson?

Max: Yeah, a lot. It's really cool and awesome to see so many people to come forth with that. It's really cool.

Livewire: Do you support President Bush?

Max: No, I hate politics. I think politics is like which lie am I going to believe. I think that's what it's all about. Everybody's lying and you kind of pick the one that you believe is going to lie a little less then the other one.

Livewire: What road will Soulfly be walking down in five years?

Max: The same, but we don't actually feel the change. It changes a little every year, but it's not drastic. You can feel it. We're just going to be playing, trying to create some new sounds. I was put on this planet to play. Play music. I'll do that forever. Plus, I don't want to do anything else, cause I don't know how to do anything else! (laughs)

For more information on Soulfly, please visit their homepage:

Following below, is how you can help Max and his family. (taken from Soulflys website)

In honor of our darling little Moses, our family is going to adopt an orphanage in Belgrade (city in Serbia where Moses was born). If you are able to, we would appreciate used clothing and/or used toys. Please send donations to the address below and we will forward them to the orphanage:

Oasis Management
3010 East Bloomfield Rd,
Phoenix, Arizona 85032

From the bottom of our hearts we would like to thank everyone who sent their condolences and who have prayed and continue to pray for Moses and our family.
More Soulfly
Concert review - Chicago, IL Feb. 12, 2002
Concert review - Chicago, IL Feb. 9, 2001
Interview with Max - Nov. 10, 2000

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