Soulfly: You’ve Got Nail.

9 December 2002 | 1:00 am | Paul Rankin
Originally Appeared In

Pretty Fly For A Soul Guy.

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Soulfly play the Arena on Friday.

“I gotta tell you the truth – I fucking love playing fast shit,” enthuses Max Cavalera as he talks about Soulfly’s recent US tour supporting metal veterans Slayer.

“The shows were awesome. It was a really cool idea to play with Slayer.” Max continues talking about the tour, which also featured In Flames and downthesun. During his time with Sepultura, not once did they get the chance to play with Slayer. It was seen as an opportunity for the audience to be exposed to what he is doing now with Soulfly, as well as an opportunity to both satisfy old school Sepultura fans and expose others to his former band. When asked if the crowd were responsive to the inclusion of Sepultura and also Nailbomb (Max’s project with Alex Newport, ex Fudge Tunnel) songs, Max explained. “I think the crowd really dig that. There was the new fans that had never heard of Sepultura, and they were like ‘Wow! What is this shit?’ There was also the old fans that were like ‘Right on! He’s playing some of his old stuff. I was hoping he was gonna play that’.”

It was a successful formula for creating both an artist pleasing and crowd-pleasing setlist. The rest of the members of Soulfly had no problems at all with the inclusion of these songs as they were long time fans of Sepultura.

“Actually, I was the one that had more trouble ‘cause I couldn’t remember some of the lyrics. I had to go back to the CDs and go read some of my own lyrics that I haven’t sung in years,” laughs Max.

Since that tour ended, Max had recently returned home from a tour of a different kind. For the second time, he was asked to take part in the Crossing Border festival at Melkweg, Amsterdam. The three-day festival is a mix of spoken word, poetry, music and lectures amongst other things.

“It was really cool. I was surprised, and it was packed. I was very honoured,” he says in a somewhat humbled sounding Brazilian accent.

Speaking for approximately a half an hour, a spoken word performance by Max Cavalera is very different in many ways to that which Henry Rollins or Jello Biafra would do. “I just talked about everything… my music, why I’m here, what my music does to me, why do I do what I do, and some of the experiences in my life. It was a half an hour of just telling the people things that they never knew about me,” he describes.

Also unlike the spoken word of others such as Rollins, it’s something that Max doesn’t want to do a lot of and certainly something that he won’t be doing very often

“I enjoy doing them and I will do them from time to time, you know, one here, one there.” admits Max as he went on to say that he did miss his guitar and the noise and chaos of being in the band on stage.

Soulfly’s first Australian tour had them playing on the main stage of the Big Day Out festival back in January 1999.

“I had a great time. I think Soulfly was one of those things that people didn’t expect, and most of the people didn’t know who we were,” Max remembers. Playing early in the afternoon somewhere around 2pm, he was amazed at the reaction from the crowd. “It was real, real early in the day, but the crowd then, there was an intensity and this awesome energy from the crowd. It went down like a hurricane,” he continues. “It’s not supposed to be that crazy in the middle of the day. It’s supposed to be like that later on. I was very happy that the Australian fans showed up so early to see Soulfly. That was great and something I really respect.”

Finally returning to Australia for what will probably be the last metal tour for us this year, Soulfly are ready to show us what they did and learned from the Slayer tour and their own tour that followed it earlier this year. What started out as disappointment for Max and crew in not being able to tour here on the release of their previous album Primitive, is now being seen by him as motivation for the upcoming shows.

“I think it’s gonna be awesome. There’s this space from 1999 until now that people haven’t seen us. I think that’s gonna create an amazing atmosphere for the concerts and we are prepared to make the best out of it when we play to the Australian audience.”