Massimiliano Antonio "Max" Cavalera is a Brazilian singer, guitarist and songwriter of Italian heritage from Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He was the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the metal band Sepultura, before forming Soulfly in the late 1990s. Cavalera was also involved in a short-lived side project Nailbomb. Cavalera is currently performing with Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy.
His father Graziano Cavalera was the Italian Ambassador to Brazil, Graziano and his family stayed in Brazil after his tenure as ambassador ended and Graziano is buried in Belo Horizonte. Max was only 9 when his father passed away.
In the early 1990s he relocated to Phoenix, Arizona U.S.A., with his American wife and manager Gloria, and is now a U.S. citizen. He has two children, Zyon and Igor (named after Max's brother). He did not begin to make "spiritual" music until after he quit Sepultura. His lyrics are influenced by religion and spirituality as a whole, though he is critical of many religions. His albums have all been dedicated to God, and he has often been depicted by the press as a man of religion, especially in America; something that Cavalera himself cannot understand. As he himself put it:
I do hate a lot of 'religion' but people like Christ - yeah they inspire me. I mean if you look at Christ, He was hanging around with the lowlifes, prostitutes and the losers you know, not going around with those high society motherfuckers you see trying to sell Jesus today!
When asked in an interview if he is a Christian/if Soulfly is a Christian band, he said:
No. I mean, if I was a Christian I would wear all these different kinds of omens. Because Christian people are so close minded. A priest would not accept that. So I don't like the concept of Christianity in terms of being so close minded. It is the same with music. Sometimes I compare preachers to close minded musicians or close minded listeners, who only like one kind of music. Some preachers are the same. And they don't tolerate Hindus, Buddhists or whatever. Only them. It's bullshit. So Soulfly is not a Christian band at all. Very much opposite. But we are very spiritual. Spiritual has nothing to do with Christianity anyway. It has been here since the beginning of time.He also stated that he does believe in God, "But it might be different than the God the preacher preaches about."
Max has recently stated that he has reunited with his brother Igor, in their new band Cavalera Conspiracy. Cavalera Conspiracy features Max Cavalera on vocals and rhythm guitar, Igor Cavalera on drums, Soulfly guitarist Marc Rizzo and Joe Duplantier from Gojira on bass. Cavalera Conspiracy's debut record Inflikted was released by Roadrunner Records on March 24, 2008. Rex Brown from Pantera and Down cameos on bass on one track, and another track features a collaboration with Max, Joe and Richie Cavalera (Incite) on vocals. Recording for Inflikted took place this past July at Undercity Studios in Los Angeles, with Logan Mader (ex-Machine Head and ex-Soulfly guitarist) of the Dirty Icon Production team, and mixing at Undercity has just finished. Among the 11 songs set to appear are: "Inflikted", "Bloodbrawl", "Terrorize", "The Doom Of All Fires", "Ultra-Violent", and "Sanctuary". A B-side cover of the Possessed song called The Exorcist.
When asked about Soulfly's new album Conquer Max Cavalera told www.thegauntlet.com,
In 2008, it was announced that Max would be co-producing Dimmu Borgir's next studio album.
Cavalera plays an ESP 6 String signature guitar, and in the past with Sepultura, A B.C. Rich Warlock. Designed to his specifications and based on the Viper design, the guitar features a Seymour Duncan SH6 Distortion pickup, and is adorned with his signature Brazilian flag graphic. A budget version is sold under the LTD moniker, which has a stock pickup and lacks the flag design. There is another signature guitar produced by ESP. This white guitar features Soulfly logo inlays and is based on the AX model.
While his signature guitars are shipped fully strung with six strings, Cavalera's own guitar is only strung with four, as he has claimed that he never used the top two strings. He also used a series of Gibson SG guitars during his later years in Sepultura and on the first two Soulfly albums and the tours that supported them.
BandsCavalera has collaborated with the following bands: