Before nu metal really hit in the mid ‘90s, the decade of alternative music was an extremely dark time for metal. Unless your name was Metallica, you didn’t have a prayer of breaking the mainstream in the era of Nirvana, until the likes of Korn, Pantera, and Sepultura finally had their time.
Even when Max Cavalera was starting to gain some steam with some of the heaviest riffs known to man, he still found himself in hot water doing exactly what he was supposed to do.
During some downtime after making the album Chaos A.D., Max went to check out Rage Against the Machine play a concert in Phoenix, when he began to get heckled by a bunch of jocks who showed up in a truck trying to mess with him.
Max tried to diffuse the situation until things got ugly, saying “I screamed ‘F*ck you! And they came back with guns and shot at us.”
Nevermind the fact that Max’s pregnant wife was with him at the time, the frontman thought he was in the clear when the cops showed up, only to be taken in himself. Then again, if you ask Max, the reason for taking him and his wife to jail was pretty flimsy, saying:
“They grabbed my passport and said ‘We’re gonna deport you.’ I explained that these guys shot at us, but it was like talking to a wall. The cops ignored me and came up with their own story.”
All told, Max spent eighteen hours in prison with his wife before being released, absolutely livid about the entire situation. Then again, given the heavy police presence at a Rage Against the Machine, it’s almost ironic that the cops would go after Max for the same reasons why tracks like “Killing in the Name” were written in the first place.
Max did make some good use of his hours, festering his anger, saying “the whole time I was thinking ‘When I get out of here, I’m going to write so much hateful shit.”
Right after this incident, Sepultura’s next move was to go in to make the album Roots, which still stands as a classic in nu metal circles (although don’t say that to Max). You can try to keep metalheads down however you can, but the real pros know how to take that aggression and turn it into fuel.