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Max Cavalera Talks Go Ahead And Die’s Sophomore Album, Music And Family Ties, More In New Interview

Max Cavalera has, over his decades in the music community, become one of the most well-known and respected figures in the industry’s metal community.  That is thanks to his work as a founding member of Sepultura and the founder of Soulfly.  He has also released music as part of Nailbomb and worked most recently with his brother, Iggor on the pair’s project, Cavalera Conspiracy, and on the pair’s “Return Beneath Arise” tour, as well as with his son Igor (just one less “G” in the name) in his band Go Ahead and Die.  That band released its sophomore album, Unhealthy Mechanisms late last year through Nuclear Blast Records.

The band is touring in support of the record now, with performances planned this weekend at a pair of concerts in Pennsylvania as part of its run.  Ahead of its stop tonight in Mechanicsburg, Max was nice enough to take some time to talk to Mayhem Rockstar Magazine about GAAD’s new album, working with family, his own musical influences and more during the interview.  His conversation with Mayhem Rockstar Magazine is below.

MRM: Hey Max. First things first, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us about this new album and the band’s tour.  I personally am a longtime fan of you and your work.  I’ve been listening to you since your days with Sepultura.  I first came on board in 1996 when Sepultura released Roots and I’ve got all of Soulfly’s records.  So this is a real honor to get to interview you for the first time ever.

MC: (laughs) thanks a lot man. I really appreciate that.

MRM: You’re very welcome.  I want to just jump right in here with this and get to Go Ahead and Die’s new record.  You all are on tour in support of the record, which came out late last year.  How has the tour been and what’s been the fans’ response to the new album?

MC: The response has been great and the tour’s been really cool. Every night has been killer. We’ve got a great mix of Sepultura fans and fans of this band. This whole album is a real “no compromise, no b*******”, all live kind of record.  There are no gimmicks.  There are hints of Sepultura, Slayer and other stuff throughout the album.

MRM: You’ve kept yourself busy over the years with so many bands and with your brother and now your son in this band, so how did this latest project come about?

MC: This band, Go Ahead and Die, is actually his (Igor’s) band.  He actually invited me to be a part of this band.  He also produced the album.  I really like having it this way because I don’t have to be the main man unlike in everything else I’ve done.  He’s in the center. I’m off to the side, so it’s real refreshing.

MRM: To the end, every father wants to be included in his child’s life, whether son or daughter.  So what does it mean to you that you get to stay so close to your son and you guys are working together, too?

MC: It means a lot to me.  It’s really incredible.  Igor first formed the band during the COVID pandemic, and I was already losing my mind looking for something to do.  So getting to be part of this and doing something really musically experimental has been really fun.

MRM: You’ve mentioned in talking about the new album, the different influences in the music, including Slayer.  I noticed in listening through the record, there is a very brief but still powerful guitar solo that immediately throws back to some of Slayer’s best works.  Did that happen naturally or how did that happen?

MC: I actually did all of the solos on this record.  It was my first time doing solos, so it was really killer.  I used a lot of whammy.  That Slayer influence is there.  Actually Slayer’s Show No Mercy era has really been influential for me.

MRM: That is awesome.  You’ve also mentioned a few times, the album’s song, ‘Drug-O-Cop.’  I was reading the lyrics for that song and was hoping you could shed some light on this.  It comes across as being a commentary about police brutality.  So talk to me about that song.

MC: That song is actually a bit of dark humor.  It’s about cops running around, high, looking for trouble. There is a lot of tongue in cheek on that one but there is some seriousness in it.  I actually have some friends who are cops and I talked to them about this song and they said, “Yeah, go ahead and make it.  We like it!”  They were really cool about it.

MRM: Another notable addition to the album, lyrically, is its song, ‘Tumors.’  My understanding is that it’s about those toxic people in our lives who are those, well, cancers in their own way.  Is that the right interpretation?

MC: Yeah, that’s right. It’s also about the whole negativity surrounding social media.  It’s about people going online, making those s***** comments all the time. Social media’s a great tool, but it’s that people use it like that.  It’s like, I’m not a Garth Brooks fan.  I don’t listen to his stuff, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna go online and talk a bunch of s*** about him and his music.  It’s that simple.  That’s how it should be.  If you don’t have anything nice to say…

MRM: What are some of the other lyrical themes that Unhealthy Mechanisms covers that really stand out to you?

MC: Oh there are few.  ‘Most Dangerous Animal’ for instance, is about serial killers.  ‘Chasm’ on the other hand, is sort of an H.P. Lovecraft type of song.  A lot of the album also addresses mental health, lyrically.  Igor developed a lot of the record’s lyrics and I think that touching on mental health is brilliant.  There are a lot of people who suffer from it and are dealing with it, but they are afraid to ask for help.  They should not be afraid to ask for health.  When you look at people like Linkin Park’s front man, and Chris Cornell, from Soundgarden. I love Soundgarden.  When I got the news of him dying it was just like, “how could he do that?”  So we really want, with this record, to help people deal with mental health struggles because there needs to be so much less stigma on it.

MRM: I couldn’t agree more.  I think the metal and rock communities have, in recent years, really stepped up a lot to bring more attention to people’s mental health struggles.  A lot of music I’ve reviewed from across the rock and metal communities seems to increasingly focus on mental health and work to help people fight their battles.

MRM: I want to change things up a little bit and turn the focus to Nuclear Blast Records.  This new album is just the latest that you have released through Nuclear Blast, along with Go Ahead and Die’s debut album and a number of records from Soulfly.  Talk to me about what it is about Nuclear Blast that has had you remaining with them for such a long time.

MC: I’ve been dealing with them [Nuclear Blast Records] a long time.  After Soulfly’s contract was up with Roadrunner Records, we were looking for a label to work with.  Nuclear Blast was the one who really showed interest.  Monte [Conner] helped us a lot with that.  There are a lot of people with Nuclear Blast Records who genuinely love metal and that meant something to me.  A lot of record labels out there just look at you like a number, like ‘can your record sell a billion copies?”  I didn’t want that.

MRM: That is definitely true.  I know you are very busy getting ready for your show tonight and probably have other interviews to do so I’ll cut this short and just ask one last question.  As everybody knows, Sepultura just recently announced it will embark on a farewell tour this year while also celebrating its 40th anniversary.  Will Max Cavalera be part of that tour in any way?

MC: Nah, I can’t say anything there.  Out of respect for them, I’m going to respectably decline to comment.  I’ve got all my own stuff going on right now.  I’m also doing my thing with my brother.  We’ve got more tour dates coming this summer.  Anyone who’s seen our shows knows how much they have to look forward to.

MRM: Understood.  So if the guys in Sepultura were to call you up tomorrow and ask you to be part of even one show, you can’t talk about it?

MC: (laughs) again…I really have no comment.

MRM: Duly noted.  Thanks so much again for your time Max.  All the absolute best this weekend with the rest of the tour.

MC: Very welcome.  It’s been a pleasure talking with you.

Unhealthy Mechanisms is available now through Nuclear Blast Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of Go Ahead and Die’s latest news at https://GoAheadAndDieBand.