|Born on: 04.08.1969
Massimiliano Antonio "Max" Cavalera (born August 4, 1969) is a Brazilian singer, guitarist, and songwriter. He was the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the metal band Sepultura, before forming Soulfly in the late 1990s. Cavalera was also involved in a short-lived side project, Nailbomb, and is currently performing with Soulfly and another project, Cavalera Conspiracy.
His father, Graziano Cavalera, was the Italian Ambassador to Brazil; he and his family stayed in Brazil after his tenure as ambassador ended. Graziano is buried in Belo Horizonte; Max was only 9 when his father died. Max also speaks Italian.
Max's family were in a state of financial crisis and family turbulence when he formed Sepultura with Jairo Guedes, Paulo Pinto, and his younger brother Igor Cavalera.
In the early 1990s he relocated to Phoenix, Arizona. He did not begin to make "spiritual" music until after he quit Sepultura. His earlier lyrics for Soulfly were influenced by religion and spirituality, though he is very critical of religion. His later albums, starting with Dark Ages, began to incoporate lyrical themes of violence, warfare, anger, and hatred. His albums have all been dedicated to God, and he has often been depicted by the press as a man of religion, especially in America, something that Cavalera himself says he does not understand. As he himself put it:
"I do hate a lot of 'religion' but people like Christ - yeah they inspire me. I mean if you look at Christ, He was hanging around with the lowlifes, prostitutes and the losers you know, not going around with those high society motherfuckers you see trying to sell Jesus today!"
When asked in an interview whether he was a Christian and whether Soulfly was a Christian band, he said:
"No. I mean, if I was a Christian I would wear all these different kinds of omens. Because Christian people are so close minded. A priest would not accept that. So I don't like the concept of Christianity in terms of being so close minded. It is the same with music. Sometimes I compare preachers to close minded musicians or close minded listeners, who only like one kind of music. Some preachers are the same. And they don't tolerate Hindus, Buddhists or whatever. Only them. It's bullshit. So Soulfly is not a Christian band at all. Very much opposite. But we are very spiritual. Spiritual has nothing to do with Christianity anyway. It has been here since the beginning of time."
He also stated that he does believe in God, "But it might be different than the God the preacher preaches about."
Of enduring influence to his music is the untimely death of Dana Wells, his stepson, who was killed after the release of Roots in 1996. The songs "Bleed," "First Commandment," "Pain," and "Tree Of Pain" are tributes to Wells, as well as Deftones' song "Headup", in which Cavalera co-wrote and was featured.
He has reunited with his brother Igor, in their band Cavalera Conspiracy, and wrote and performed on Soulfly's Conquer, which was released in 2008.
With Sepultura, Cavalera played a B.C. Rich Warlock, and now plays a custom ESP 6 String signature guitar. Designed to his specifications and based on the Viper design, the guitar features a Seymour Duncan SH6 Distortion pickup. A budget version (with a stock pickup) is sold under the LTD moniker. Another signature guitar produced by ESP, based on the AX model, is white with a Soulfly logo inlays. He also used a series of Gibson SG guitars during his later years in Sepultura and on the first two Soulfly albums and the tours that supported them.
Cavalera's own guitar is only strung with four strings, as he has claimed that he never used the highest two strings. Besides the guitar, he also plays a berimbau, a Brazilian one-string instrument (cordophone family), a sitar and sometimes percussion on stage and studio recordings.
Cavalera has collaborated with many different artists while in Sepultura and Soulfly. In 2003 he joined forces with former Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters' frontman Dave Grohl to produce "Red War" for the self-titled release of Dave Grohl's metal project, Probot.
Cavalera appeared in The Scorpion King in an off-camera role, providing the guttural screams for Dwayne Johnson. He also appears in the video game Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned as a DJ for the radio channel LCHC.
Cavalera, a dedicated soccer fan, still lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife Gloria and his 4 children, Zyon, Igor, Richie, and Roxanne.