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Max Cavalera talks Korn, moonshine and black metal in updated autobiography My Bloody Roots

Max
(Image credit: Mariano Regidor/Redferns)

A fully revised and updated 2022 edition of Max Cavalera's acclaimed autobiography My Bloody Roots: From Sepultura To Soulfly And Beyond, is now in bookshops worldwide.

When the book was originally published in 2013, Metal Hammer described it as a “a unique story that mixes tales of excess with personal exorcism.”

The publication of the new edition is scheduled ahead of the release on August 5 of the new Soulfly album, Totem. Co-written by renowned music journalist and acclaimed author Joel McIver, traces Cavalera’s career to the present day, covering the formation of his new band Go Ahead And Die as well as the supergroup Killer Be Killed

It also includes a brand new afterword, penned by Lamb Of God frontman Randy Blythe.

Blythe writes: “On March 4, 1994, I drove from Richmond, VA down to my old stomping grounds of Norfolk. I was fucking stoked – Sepultura, Fear Factory, Fudge Tunnel, and Clutch were playing at The Boathouse. Eighteen years later, I met Max Cavalera for the first time at a benefit we were both singing at. He walked up to me with a big grin and said “Hey Randy! How you doing, man?” Holy shit, I thought, that’s Max Cavalera – he actually knows who I am.

That 23 year-old kid in the parking lot of The Boathouse wouldn’t have believed that story if you had told it to him. He also wouldn’t have believed that he would go on tour in Australia with one of Max’s bands, be asked to sing on one of Max’s records, or be asked to write an afterword to Max’s book...sometimes the really good stuff takes a while to arrive.”

In this exclusive excerpt from the book, available only to Metal Hammer readers, classic black metal crops up side-by-side with classic rock ’n' roll behaviour... 

“In 2014, we were told that Korn were going to be playing hockey arenas to Russia for 20,000 people at each show, and that they’d love to have Soulfly as support. We were going to fly on Korn’s private plane, too, which sounded great. 

“The tour was awesome. We took the back of the plane and they took the front. The back of the plane was the party area, where everybody was going nuts. I wasn’t drinking, but I was involved with all the craziness. We were like the fucking pirates in the back of the plane, while Korn was all trying to sleep. Their keyboard player was like, ‘Man, you guys are still keeping it real’.

“I remember there was a bomb threat in one of the airports when we were there. They stopped all the flights, and it was a tense atmosphere. Everybody was freaking out in the airport. Nothing happened, but it was the kind of very scary situation that sometimes happens on tour. Shit gets real very quick.

“When we were in the back of the plane, the promoter drank some moonshine that they got from a fan, which is never a good idea. It was the kind of shit that you drink and you go blind for a few days – that’s how bad this shit was. He got in a fight with his girlfriend, broke up with her and then fired three of the people that worked with him. At one point after we landed, one of our crew went to check on him on his room and he opened the door – and he tried to stab him with the blunt end of a plastic spoon. 

“The next day, he looked like total fucking hell. I said, ‘How are you doing?’ He said, ‘Oh God, I gotta make up with my girlfriend. I gotta rehire the people I fired last night. It’s all your fault!’ He was blaming us for his drinking. I said, ‘Hey, you came to the back of the plane. You shouldn’t party with us if you’re gonna do all that!’ That was one evil night.

“Talking of evil, I always thought that one day it would be cool to do some kind of tribal black metal. I could add heavy, Neurosis-type percussion to that creepy Norwegian black metal style, with the forests and all that shit. It would be very stripped-down, old-school black metal with massive tribal drums on top of it. 

“Back in the Morbid Visions days, we were totally into black metal. We were huge Bathory fans. Between me and Iggor and Jairo, all there was on the boombox all day long was Venom, Bathory, Hellhammer, Mercyful Fate and a bit of early Sodom and Kreator. If you listen to the song Morbid Visions, you can hear that it’s heavily influenced by the Kreator song Pleasure To Kill. The riffs are totally similar.

“I was also writing letters to Euronymous from Mayhem. We were sending records to all these different bands, and he was one of my pen pals. When I heard he died, I wished I had kept his letters. I’ll find them sometime. I was writing to Mille Petrozza from Kreator, Trey Azagthoth from Morbid Angel and Chuck Schuldiner from Death too. They actually found one of my letters to Chuck and they put it on a special edition of Death’s Scream Bloody Gore album, because Chuck was a big fan.

“As for Euronymous, he loved the Brazilian underground with us, Mutilator and Sarcófago. There was something about Brazilian black metal that felt different to him, I think. There was an element of danger. It was more fucked-up than European black metal because it had the Third World influence. So maybe this tribal black metal idea is something that I might try, because it goes back to the original idea of what we were trying to do in the very early days of Sepultura.”

Max book

(Image credit: Max Cavalera / Joel McIver)
Paul Brannigan
Paul Brannigan

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.