Max Cavalera is once again discussing his departure from Sepultura, and perhaps in the most detail he’s given in a while. Max spoke to Heavy 1 / Hard Force Radio and as the conversation led to the Roots era of the legendary metal act, Cavalera detailed how the split began.
Speaking of the Roots cycle, Cavalera said “It is marked by glory and tragedy. At the same time you’re commemorating this big record, there’s a big tragedy right in the middle of the thing, which is Dana’s [Wells, his stepson who died in 1996] death. It’s bitter, man. I don’t think I ever actually fully enjoyed what Roots brought because of that. It was cut in half, because of that. But that’s life, man.”
One longtime rumor was that Cavalera left because of Wells’ death, but Cavalera says the problems started way before. “The situation in the band, it had been going bad [even before that]. It wasn’t the beginning of that, but it added to it.”
“One of the main reasons why it added to it — a lot of people don’t know the story — we were in England, ready to do Donington with Ozzy. And we received the news that Dana died. And my wife was in total despair. And I’m her husband; I have to comfort her. So I [flew] back to America to be with her. And I found out later that Andreas’ [Kisser] wife tried to move the body, tried to steal Dana’s body and tried to get him buried real quick so we could go back on tour.”
“I was, like, ‘Who does that?’ It seriously made me think about the people I’m making music with. Are those my real friends? It was confusing, man,” stated Cavalera.
“Then it got worse because, eventually, they ganged up, including my brother — I cannot put him out of that thing; he was part of it — it was like a mutiny. The three guys against me, and against Gloria. So they wouldn’t talk to her. That last European tour, it was just pure misery; it was miserable. Of course, it [didn’t] show in the music; the music [was] great [and] the shows were great. But the other 23 hours of the day was fucking misery — trying to deal with that.”
Cavalera also disputes that his wife, Gloria, was fired as the band manager, saying her contract ended and she did not renew it. He said Gloria left it up to him if he wanted to continue with the band. “I just couldn’t do it because of things like that. There’s that kind of stuff going on — heavy stuff,” he added.
“They had different ideas. One of the main ideas was to replace Gloria and a lot of our crew and people with very ‘professional,’ big people. And to me, that seems a fucked-up thing to do, where the people that helped you get to that was [these] people, and now that you’re big and successful, now you can hire anybody,” says Cavalera. “You’re just, like, ‘All right. Fuck you. You’re done. Your shit’s done. We’re going with [these] successful people.’ I didn’t agree with that, because I think everything was going good. We were getting all the major festivals.”
When reflecting, Cavalera says things may have ended up differently if they had just hit pause. “Honestly, I think the best thing we could have done would have been to take a whole year off, and everybody should go somewhere, clear their heads and come back a year later, and talk about it, but even with that, there was no remedy. It’s broke — the thing is broke. It’s rotten, man, from the inside. It needed something, and eventually what it needed was separation.”
Ultimately, it all worked out. Max went onto new success with Soulfly, and reunited with his brother in the Cavalera Conspiracy project. Sepultura went on to create a new chapter in the band’s history.
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