The veteran metal frontman has kept active with a number of bands over the years, but during the chat he reveals what’s special to him about Go Ahead and Die. He tells Jackie that the spirit of the music they’re making and the approach they’re taking has given him a renewed sense of “teenage energy,” noting that, “It’s like almost like an inner sense of innocence that you had from your early days that I’m allowed to do with Go Ahead and Die.”
He also credits his son Igor with taking the lead on their second album and is just thrilled to be part of the experience.
Within the chat, Max also shares his feelings on the current state of metal and why he will always be a metalhead. And he also lays out the coolest things he’s seen from the concert stage and drops some insight on his plans for the remainder of 2024. Check out more of the chat below:
It’s Full Metal Jackie, bringing you two full hours of metal and this week, we’ve got the man of many bands, Max Cavalera. This time we’re talking about Go Ahead and Die and this awesome tour. Max, you’ve spoken about this band, being inspired by the aggression and the sweat of the mosh pit. What were some of your own mosh pit experiences over the years as a music fan and what are some of the craziest things you’ve seen from the stage as pits erupt?
Oh, yeah, there’s a lot of good ones through the years. I remember one time, there was Soulfly in Europe and there was a huge circle pit and then I see this guy, they’re holding a wheelchair up with the guy on it and then they’re doing the circle pit with him. That guy, there’s like a huge muscley guy. He’s holding the wheelchair on his head and he’s running full sprint. I was like wanting to stop playing just to watch that. It looks like it was insane. It was like one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. It was such a cool moment.
Then I also love a couple times when you see like somebody get down, trip, fall down and then people help them up, that’s always cool. I like to see the camaraderie between the metalheads, helping each other and just be like, it’s aggressive and all but we’re not there to hurt people. You were there just to let the aggressions out, you know? There’s a difference between those two things.
Max, Go Ahead and Die gives you a chance to work with your son Igor Amadeus Cavalera and the Unhealthy Mechanisms album takes on a darker perspective. Igor has stated that it’s a journey through the dark and madness of declining mental health. First off, how did this become a recurring theme for that record? And secondly, can you talk about getting in the right mindset to portray that and get that across?
Right. So, this album was more like the project started with just me wanting to have fun playing with my son. We’re very connected to metal, to the music that we like. We both like a lot of the heavier side of metal, the extreme side of stuff and then it started during COVID and we connected on a great level. When it was time to do the second record, I told him I was half joking. But I said, hey man, I done records my whole life. I’m kind of tired of having to come up with subjects for 40 albums. Can you come up with one for this one and kind of save me here? And he’s like, yeah, of course I’ll do that.
It’s great because Igor took over on this record. He produced the album. He wrote, the majority of the lyrics, wrote a lot of the riffs. So, he was really, really, really, involved and this is more of his album than mine. I just love being part of it. I’m just enjoying be connected to him, but the whole mental health thing that all came up with him.
He writes a lot of books like Stephen King kind of novels. The first one was called “Killing my Insomnia” and he’s really smart with all that stuff and so he just went did a deep dive into all those subjects that a lot of those are taboo. People are scared to talk about what I think we need to talk about to have a more healthy society if you will. There’s nothing wrong with when people need to ask for help, you know? We have lost a lot of great people because of this stigma because of the problems that people have with mental health and so I was really curious to do songs that deal with that kind of stuff.
There was a deep aggression with the music. It was like it was perfect, but this is really Igor’s. The main focus on the record was Igor and I just love being part of it.
Go Ahead and Die, “Desert Carnage”
Max this band feels like one of those where you really have to experience the live show. There’s such great energy here. Simple question, but what do you love the most about the live concert experience and is your appreciation for it the same as it was when you first started or has it evolved to something different over time?
Yes. For this tour, we’re super excited because, first of all, Go Ahead and Die, I’ve never played live. We played live once in Phoenix, but that was a like a 30-minute set. So, that doesn’t count. We’ve never been on tour with this band.
To me, I’d never get tired of touring. I just am always excited for touring. I don’t know how that works with me. But the more I tour, the more I like it. It’s crazy. Other people get burned out, they don’t want to do it anymore and I’m just like, the total opposite. I want to go on tour. I want to be in different cities every night meeting different people. I love the whole process.
There’s a couple of new things for me on this band. We had Jackie [Cruz] playing bass, so this is the first band I’m in that I have a female player with us. That’s cool and I’ve never been on a stage with a female person playing with us. That’s really, really cool and I think there’s those two records that we have, they’re perfect for this kind of setting like smaller shows, smaller venues, crowded, sweaty, full of energy.
Max no one is ever gonna mistake this as anything but aggressive. But there’s definitely some more punk energy to this music. I know you grew up listening to punk and was wondering if you listened to anything for inspiration, or just naturally tapped into the vibe of stuff you love from your youth while recording this new record?
We are always inspired by stuff, that’s the natural order of a musician. But I think for this album, I think we just were trying just to do a more focused record than the first one. I have nothing against the first record, but I think we felt like we could do better that we could go deeper, get sharper, tighter, but it still has a ton of for sure a ton of hardcore punk influences and that’s from mostly from me.
And Igor, the stuff that we listen to and it’s funny because I listen to a lot of stuff growing up from my days of Brazil, hardcore, you know, a lot of English punk, Scandinavian punk and hardcore Brazilian punk and Igor, he hasn’t. He likes different stuff. A lot of bands that are newer, I discovered through him so it’s a cool mix.
I think when we were writing the record a lot of times early in the day we will just jam the stuff that we like just to get inspired and then we get into the jam room and then just jam and that’s cool. I love that. It’s almost like it’s like a high school mentality being you know. I’m a professional musician, but that doesn’t mean that I can go back to making music the same way I did when I was 14 and that’s exactly how I go and it brings this vibe to me.
It feels a lot like my teenage years of making metal which is also like listening to a lot of stuff that gets you pumped up, get inspired, get fired up and then go in a garage and just bring them to life just make songs and turn them into real music. But always with that kind of feeling like that teenage energy and that’s something that is really cool. It’s like almost like an inner sense of innocence that you had from your early days that I’m allowed to do with Go Ahead and Die and the cool thing about Go Ahead and Die is that it’s so underground. It’s so low key. There’s no expectations. We’re not trying to win a Grammy with this record. We don’t give a damn about any of those things. So, we just do what we love, just do what we want. It’s really a liberating kind of a record to make.
Go Ahead and Die, “Drug-O-Cop”
Max you recently commented in an interview that you’ve never lost touch with being a fan of music. Metal first inspired you back in the day and you’ve been able to make a living at it through many changes and eras in the industry. You have several different bands that allow you multiple outlets to channel what you love. What is your take on where metal music is today? Like do you still find new things that are inspiring you and do you see metal music having a bright future?
Yeah, I do. I think metal is one of those types of music that sometimes gets more popular, sometimes less popular, but never goes away. It’s always here. It’s cool. I love that and I also like the thing about being a metalhead, it’s really about the commitment that you’re making with yourself once you become a metalhead. This is for life, it’s almost like joining a mafia. You know, once you get in, you can’t get out, you’re in. There’s no way out of this thing.
It’s one of the things I did with myself to remind me that I am no longer or will never be a regular type person of society. I always will kind of feel like a little bit of an outcast or an outsider and we’re proud of that. I’m still very connected with the underground. That’s why we’re bring in Bodybox on tour with us along with a couple of other bands. I love the underground. I love where metal is at and there’s a lot of really cool stuff going on in very different types of metal, all across the board.
It’s still great to see all the old veterans still doing it like Maiden and Priest still inspiring us to keep going because we’re getting up there ourselves. But yeah, I’m a fan first, musician second and I live and breathe metal. It’s intense with me. It’s almost to the point that it annoys other people. They think I like metal too much, but I don’t give a damn.
Max, Go Ahead and Die touring is front and center for you at the moment. But what does the remainder of 2024 hold in store for you with all of your projects.
It’s gonna be a busy year, a lot of touring. Soulfly is doing a couple of festivals here in the U.S. – Rockville and another one I can’t remember right now. We also doing the Lamb of God boat in October. I believe we’re doing a bunch of festivals in Europe. I’m doing a both of my bands. I’m doing with Soulfly and with my brother, Igor, with Cavalera playing the old stuff, Morbid Visions.
Mostly also, I’m gonna use the year to write a new Soulfly record because it’s about time to get that star forming through the riffs and the ideas, the arrangements and all that. It’ll be a busy year full of touring and writing, which to me is kind of like the perfect mix when I can do both. So I’ll use my time on both things touring and writing.
We don’t have nothing confirmed yet, but you know, hopefully we also get to go to South America and Australia before the end of the year. So it’ll be a lot of writing and touring. I love that. I feel really good about 2024.
I don’t know. I have a really strong feeling. I know it’s called the Year of the Dragon. That’s metal as hell and when I heard that I was like, yeah, this is going to be a metal year for sure. So, I’m very excited for this year.
Thanks to Max Cavalera for the interview. You can get the band’s new ‘Unhealthy Mechanisms’ album here. And be sure to follow the band on Facebook, X, Instagram and YouTube. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio show here.
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