How Max Cavalera and Deftones Helped Each Other Heal After Tragedy

Via Wikimedia Commons
Published on:

If there is one unifying trait among groundbreaking musicians it is this: They are music fans. Inspiration doesn’t come in a vacuum. Instead, most musicians who are worth their salt are moved by the work of others and use the insights they develop through their own fandom into their own unique work

Max Cavalera is a die hard music fan. From the very beginning of his storied career until right now, the Sepultura founder and mythical frontman of both Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy has championed bands and musicians of all stripes. To this very day, Max remains a champion of the underground.

It is hard to picture it but like most bands, the boundary-shattering juggernauts of Deftones started out by slugging it in the underground. That’s why it was a huge deal when Max Cavalera wore one of their shirts (a play on the classic Dickies logo) in the video for their genre-defining single, “Roots.” 

The appearance of the Deftones shirt was far more than a fluke. As Max told Metal Hammer, not only did Deftones debut album, Adrenaline, serve as a major inspiration for Sepultura’s Roots, but they also share an unbreakable bond through love and family:

“Dana [Wells, Max’s stepson] came home with a Deftones cassette with the song Bored on it one time, and he played it to me and I loved it from the first time I heard it: ‘Man, this is fucking great!’ So when we recorded Roots, I listened to [Deftones’ debut album Adrenaline] morning and night – I was obsessed with that record. They came to play in Phoenix, and I ended up learning Engine No. 9 and jamming onstage with them – there was only 30 people there, nobody knew who they were.

“Dana was one of their best friends, and when he died, Chino [Moreno, Deftones singer] came to the funeral – he was one of the pallbearers. So when I got a phone call from them saying they were going in the studio and they wanted to do a song with me about Dana, I loved the idea. It was the first thing I recorded after the break-up with Sepultura, before even Soulfly, so I went deep into the riff box and get one of the best riffs I could find – it was a real fucking jammer. I went to Seattle, where they were recording, and played it for them, and they were, like, “Fucking love the riff, man, this is killer.”

“I remember recording it, and I was singing with Chino, and he hit his knee on his nose, he got a bloody nose right in the middle of the studio. There was blood everywhere – it was fantastic, like a live show. [Producer] Terry Date was going, “Keep rolling!” and taking pictures of it.

“I love the fact that they put a picture of Dana in the record [parent album Around The Fur], and Zyon too. And I love the fact that they still include ‘Headup’ in their set. I always jam with them if I’m around. I even saw a video of Muse playing it. That blew my mind: that’s how far that riff has gone.”

Max Cavalera's Three Favorite Thrash Metal Albums Are All Underappreciated Classics

Max Cavalera Was Pressured Into Shaving His Head For This Metallica Album

Max Cavalera Says Sepultura's 'Chaos A.D.' 'Broke The Mold' for Metal