Max Cavalera shares the importance of family, being a student of metal, and sticking to your guns in the Electric Theater
The incomparable Max Cavalera sat in fo a conversation with the clown on the latest episode of the Electric Theater and the discussion was as legendary as metal fans might expect.
Less like an interview and more like a backstage conversation capture on film, the guys started way back in 1999 when Max fist met clown at a Slipknot show that Max attended as a fan. From there the exchange branched out into collection of cool stories from two industry veterans and the guys even managed to discuss Max's latest project he started with his son as a result of Covid in Go Ahead and Die.
Spending a healthy amount of time discussing the importance of family and how that looks like for a touring musician, the guys shared a sincere mutual respect for one another that really seems obvious as the conversation progressed. Both are family men, both are respected contributors to the culture of metal music at large, and both have a profound love for their craft such that they have made it their life's work. The parallels make for a compelling conversation that makes the hour long podcast fly by.
Stream the latest episode of The Electric Theater with Max Cavalera below.
:36 - clown and Max recall first meeting at the Celebrity Theatre in Arizona back in 1999. Max gave clown a keepsake and it's something that clown still has to this day.
2:45 - Max shares the significance of personal gifts and explains that when Dana Wells passed, Ozzy actually gave him a crucifix. He said that teenage Max could never imagine one day Ozzy would be giving him a crucifix.
3:25 Taking a scene from the film Amadeus, Max recalls that fateful night he met clown and watched Slipknot back in 1999. He said it was the perfect day. He had finished recording early ("Jumpdafuckup" with Corey Taylor) and he was able to just watch Slipknot play without having the worry to get ready for his own set.
5:00 - Another thing that stood out about that day back in 99' to clown was the fact that Max brought his entire family to the show to see Slipknot. Admiring the family man aspect of Max, clown confided that he loved seeing one of his mentors making music such a familial event. clown goes on to discuss how pursuing the dream of rock n roll often requires sacrifice and leaving those most important to you for months at a time. It's a sacrifice that he has made to achieve his team but loves the idea of now being able to share it with his family.
8:05 - Max explains that integrating his family into his creative space was a conscious decision he made early on. He wanted to show that it was completely doable to be both a gnarly metalhead and still maintain close family ties so that everyone shared in the culture. Max shares that from a very early age he and the guys always brought their kids on tour and as a result there are some funny stories from the road.
10:00 - Echoing that same sentiment, clown shared that even early on in his career the focus from him was that of the music and his family. He talked about proudly showing his wedding ring for an early cover of Metal Hammer Magazine and defying the cliche of rock n roll debauchery. Max explained that for some musicians the idea of being a family man is something they feel will hurt their career, however for guys like Max and clown, that balance of family and life as a touring musician is not only important but obviously feasible.
11:45 - clown discussed that he was happy to see that Max and his brother Igor had connected again. Emphasizing that aspect of family once again, Max confided that he and Igor went 10 years without speaking. Referring to the distance as a learning experience, albeit a traumatic one, Max says that at this point in his career he just wants to do things that he finds fulfillment in like his various sides projects like Killer Be Killed, Cavalera Conspiracy, and Go Ahead and Die.
13:35 - The guys got into the Max's latest project with his son Igor Amadeus in Go Ahead and Die. Max revealed that the bond with his son is especially strong because he is diabetic. He talked about literally having to come offstage to give his son insulin injections in the middle of his set and because of that, the two bonded from the start. He shared that when Covid hit, he told his son to meet him at their house in Arizona and from there, the two started jamming organically and as a result, Max unexpectedly had a new project and a new record on his hands.
17:30 - Recalling another proud dad moment, Max revisited a show Sepultura played in Brazil. He explained that he had his son Zyon Cavalera onstage with him and someone tossed them a Brazilian flag with the Sepultura S on it. Max displayed it to the crowd and five minutes later, found himself arrested for defacing a Brazilian flag. He recalled the the highest of the high, being onstage with his son, to the lowest of the low, spending time in a Brazilian jail for something he didn't do.
21:15 - The guys discuss which member of Slipknot was a member of the Sepultura fan club. Trying to figure out whether it was Paul of Joey, clown remembers that it was Paul that introduced him to Sepultura's music way back when. clown went on to credit Paul with being such an influence and truly introducing the bigger picture of metal to him.
23:50 - Max shared with clown that Paul actually paid him a surprise visit just to hang and listen to music. Max would go onto explain how Paul's role in Slipknot and Igor's role in Sepultura were similar. Both guys wee the ones that helped the other members discover new music. Max said that having someone like that in your band is incredibly valuable.
25:50 - clown reveals the Slipknot is currently in the process of recording.
29:14 - clown and Max relive the inaugural Kerrang! 'Best Band In the World' presentation and the chaos that happened that night. From broken glass to flipped over tables to napkins being lit on fire, the story is a a fantastic piece of metal music history.
34:05 - Max explains that he hates when bands bad mouth other bands for being successful. He goes on to explain that he feels like Slipknot's success is ultimately good fo metal music and he's proud of Slipknot for achieving such success.
35:00 - clown asked Max to explain why Soulfly buried their tapes while recording with Ross Robinson. Max went onto tell the story of the ceremony and how Chino from Deftones was there to bear witness. The studio (Indigo Ranch) was built on what used to be tribal land so Max decided to bury his art for a day to absorb the spirit that was embedded in the soil.
37:40 - clown recalled that hearing the story of how Soulfly buried their tapes from Ross Robinson and talking about that album offered a little bit of energy that rubbed off on Slipknot while they were working on their self-titled record.
40:43 - Max shared his own story of lingering energy. He said that Sepultura recorded Chaos A.D. at Rockfield Studios in Wales. He said that being in the same place that Bohemian Rhapsody from Queen and legends like Black Sabbath recorded really added something to his record. Both he and Igor got to sleep in the same room Robert Plant of Zeppelin used and that was something that Max will never forget.
42:29 - Going back to Indigo Ranch, clown talked about sleeping in the same isolation booth that Jonathan Davis recorded the lyrics to "Daddy" in. clown described what it was like to be in that space and went on to share a moment of self manifestation. Korn made their own platinum plaque and put it up at Indigo Ranch. clown would share that he went to the grocery store and grabbed a .99 cent frozen pizza to eat. While eating the pizza, he was staring at the platinum plaque that Korn made while recording their debut. clown released that the "plaque" was the same microwavable cardboard that he was eating a pizza off of.
46:15 - Max explained that he feels like they are still student of the art form that actually get to meet their mentors. One person Max does admit that he regrets not being able to meet was Dio.
47:18 - Choosing to keep his focus on the music, Max confides that he tends to stay away from the business aspect of this career path. Citing the purity of the music, Max is weary of how the business of music can really sour the creative process. Though clown keeps his finger on the business pulse of Slipknot, he agrees that it's the part of the gig that is most exhausting.
49:18 - Though he loves interacting with fans, Max shares that he really isn't a big social media guy. In fact, Max doesn't haven't a cell phone. It's something he son makes fun of him for.
50:18 - Both clown and Max talked about how they were excited to connect for this podcast. clown would further explain how these conversations are important to him and how he intends to always keep them personal and not have some kind of agenda. clown loves the idea of being able to connect with his peers and just have a conversation and wants to make sue that is never polluted.
54:13 - Max tuned the tables on clown and asked him about his family and if they are following in their dad's footsteps. clown shared that his oldest daughter is a very talented photographer and that his 17-year old son is moving ahead with his own band which just sold out a 300-person show in Des Moines, IA.
55:32 - clown and max discuss how they both want to help their children succeed as musicians but it's important for them to earn their stripes and learn the process as well.
1:02:59 - Going back to the idea of getting rid of the toxicity in their lives and careers, both clown and Max discuss how they have found ways to use their platform for good in their own respective ways.
1:04:45 - Max reiterates that one of the best compliments he can get, even more important than any award, is to hear someone tell him that his music got them through a rough part of their lives. Knowing that his art meant that much to someone is something that Max values and it's part of what keeps him motivated to make music.
1:06:18 - Discussing the significance of music, Max revealed that U2 was a big inspiration for him. He confided that he ripped off Bono's lyrics fo some of his song titles. He went on to share that 'Roots' took some inspirational cues from reggae and initially, the label hated the idea. Sticking to his guns, Max incorporated a tribal element and now, 27 years later, Gojira is doing something similar and crediting Sepultura for paving the way.