The mid 1990s were hard days for Max Cavalera. Following the breakthrough success of Chaos A.D. and Roots earlier in the decade, the Brazilian thrash legend split from Sepultura under acrimonious conditions. Cavalera was planning to step away from music altogether, until an earnest conversation with Ozzy Osbourne set him straight.
While discussing his memories of Soulfly’s first single “Eye For An Eye” with Metal Hammer in 2021 as part of their “My Life In 10 Songs” column, Max was candid about just how close he was to quitting the music business before the Prince Of Darkness talked him down.
“That song saved my life, pretty much,” says Cavalera. “Dealing with [Max’s stepson] Dana’s death and splitting with Sepultura, I was done with music – I was heartbroken, angry, there had been too many disappointments. [Max’s wife and manager] Gloria was trying to lift me up, put me back in the right frame of mind and get me writing again.”
As hard as Gloria tried, she wasn’t able to crack Max’s exterior. It took a conversation with one of heavy metal’s most important figures and a man who understands pain, Ozzy Osbourne, to rekindle the frontman’s thirst to make music.
“I remember we had a dinner at Ozzy’s house,” says Cavalera, “and he was telling me that when he got kicked out of Black Sabbath, he was very, very discouraged, but it was up to him to get back on his own feet.”
“Coming from Ozzy, that was mind-blowing – like, ‘I have to do it.’ So I grabbed my guitar and Eye For An Eye just came out of it.”
“It’s an important song to me as well because it’s one of the songs that got Soulfly signed,” he recalls. “We went to New York and met with [Roadrunner Records A&R director] Monte Connor, and we played this and another song for him and he signed Soulfly on the spot. It’s one of those songs that I will never be able to write again.”