Thorsten Zahn, chief editor of Germany's Metal Hammer magazine (web site), recently conducted an exclusive interview with SEPULTURA guitarist Andreas Kisser about the persistent rumors of a reunion with the band's former frontman, Max Cavalera. What follows is a transcript of the interview in its entirety (English-language translation provided to BLABBERMOUTH.NET by Thorsten Zahn):
Metal Hammer: In January 2006 Igor Cavalera [drums] denied the rumors that he was going to leave the band. In June he made his departure official because he wanted to stay more time in Brazil and take care of his family. Was this the real reason he left SEPULTURA?
Andreas: It's hard for me to say, because he should answer this question. From our point of view, it was okay that he didn't want to leave the country to tour. But we needed a drummer, because we had a new album out. When Max left the band ten years ago it was a shock to us, because we had to rebuild our whole career. We did not only lose Max, we lost everything with him — the manager and the confidence of the record label. It took a while to renew everything, but we did it. With Igor we talked for the last two or three years. He was tired being on the road and was also separating from his wife, whom he has three kids with and was living together with for the last 15 years. It is difficult for every man to deal with that. At the same time he got a new wife and a new baby was born, so he decided to stay in Brazil. This was the reason he left the band and we were prepared that this would happen. Our intention was really to keep him in the band and play the "Dante XXI" tour with him. Then, at the end of the cycle he would have been able to decide what to do. But he had different plans and needed to leave SEPULTURA to start something new.
Metal Hammer: Igor recently got in contact with his brother Max again, and he is now talking about touring again in several interviews. Did he lie to you and to the fans?
Andreas: The Cavaleras are very difficult. (laughs) I cannot say if Igor has lied. I think he is very confused. I can feel that, because I see what stuff he is saying in the press. First of all, Max never wanted to talk to us again and now he is talking about a reunion. The stuff he says is very contradictory. But what can I say? We keep going. We will go on tour in the U.S. with SWORN ENEMY in November and then we will hopefully be on tour with KREATOR in Europe in February of 2007. We always chose not to be a part of this type of discussion in the press, because it turns out to be the same as ten years ago when Max left SEPULTURA. He was saying so many different things to different magazines and we told our side of the story just once. The Cavaleras can say whatever they want, but this reunion shit is really disturbing, because it has been going on now for six or seven months. The rumors started when Max left the band in 1996 and are getting stronger these days because Igor left.
Metal Hammer: Igor also shared the stage with his brother at the D-Low Memorial Festival on August 17, 2006 at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe, Arizona when they played "Attitude" and "Roots" together.
Andreas: I think it is great that they are talking to each other again. The situation was ridiculous for him and Max. But just because they are in touch with each other again is no reason for me to play with them again.
Metal Hammer: Why is Max talking about the SEPULTURA reunion all the time these days?
Andreas: I have no idea, man. He is forcing the situation, but that is not the way to do it. He should really approach it a little bit more professionally. First of all, we all have to talk to each other again and then we can try to do something good and decent for the fans. So far there is nothing going on regarding a reunion — these are all rumors. We wanted to stay quiet about this, but it is starting to hurt the work me, Paulo [Xisto], Derrick [Green] and Jean [Dolabella] are doing. This is the reason why I'm giving this interview. People are more interested in a possible reunion than in our upcoming "Dante XXI" tour. I just wanted to make clear to our fans that there is no reunion going on next year. That's for sure. With SEPULTURA it was always like that: you will get our answer on stage. I can say thousands of words here today to you, but what counts happens on stage. It is important for us to go out and play live and after that people can judge for themselves.
Metal Hammer: What about the statement from Igor that you have to give the name, the trademark SEPULTURA, back after you finish the "Dante XXI" tour, because you do not have the rights to use it?
Andreas: I don't know what he is talking about. He left the band and neither he nor Max have any rights to the name. Max gets his royalties for all the records he played on, that's it. We did not kick Igor out. We wanted to keep him and finish the cycle. The name SEPULTURA is with us — me Paulo and Derrick — and Igor knows that. Anyone who says anything different is lying.
Metal Hammer: It sounds like you have a disturbed relationship with Igor these days. Or how would you describe it?
Andreas: It is fine, we still talk. Last week it was the birthday of my third kid and his children came to party with us. Me and Igor have a very long relationship that includes family and friendship. We don't talk as much as we used to, but there are no hard feelings. There is no fight going on.
Metal Hammer: And between you and Max?
Andreas: The last time I talked to him was in London, when we did the last show for the "Roots" tour. This was in December 1996. I have seen SOULFLY twice — once in Los Angeles, six or seven years ago and this year in New York. I was just there to see the gig, we did not talk. Unfortunately me and Max have no connection. We also never had the chance to play together on the road with SOULFLY and SEPULTURA, so there was no conversation within the last ten years.
Metal Hammer: You say that there definetely will be no reunion next year. What if the Cavalera brothers just do it?
Andreas: Well, then this won't be a reunion. (laughs)
Metal Hammer: They say that SEPULTURA nowadays with you, Derrick, Paulo and Jean is not SEPULTURA.
Andreas: They can say whatever they want. They are free to have their own opinion, but I don't care what they think about the band I play in these days. SEPULTURA is what we are today, we have the support of thousands of fans. We still represent the message of SEPULTURA and keep our integrity and our spirit. This is the reason why we are still here. In the end we still love what we are doing and that is what matters.
Metal Hammer: Aren't you just pissed that Igor and Max did not ask you to reunite with them yet?
Andreas: No. I don't see a reunion as a step forward. People act like nothing happened after 1996 — that is stupid. If we really decide to play together again in future, it should be a chance to start something new. Max had experiences with SOULFLY, we had ours with SEPULTURA. This should be a positive basis to create something positive and not only to copy the "Roots" tour like nothing happened [in the last 10 years]. I can see it happening soon, but we have to talk to each other first. We did the best stuff in our career when we discussed ideas and talked to each other. We did crazy stuff and always had a good time. That is the way it should be. I don't wanna be a slave to a name, like Max and Igor are trying to be. That is kind of weak. I'm not pissed — they can do whatever they want — but they shouldn't stand in our way. We respected that they left SEPULTURA, now they should give some respect back that we still are in the band.
Metal Hammer: Max and Igor are doing good promotion for a possible reunion, because when it happens there will be loads of money involved — that both of them want to have.
Andreas: Don't get me wrong, I want to have the money, too. But to come to a state like that the situation has to be cleared up. There are a lot of people and egos involved, [and] that will take time. This is what all reunions have in common. Take BLACK SABBATH, MÖTLEY CRÜE or ANTHRAX: They all had to overcome difficulties before they could get back together again. But we haven't even started talking, so there is nothing going on right now.
Metal Hammer: To make this clear: If the conditions were acceptable, you wouldn't say no to a SEPULTURA reunion?
Andreas: It must be something different. I don't want to put the band back together again, go on stage and collect my paycheck. That is one of the reasons I don't see this happening within the next year. People would be disappointed, because it would be crap. If we do it the right way, have everybody involved and talk to each other, it would be possible — but not that soon. It will take at least a year to prepare a big thing like this.
Metal Hammer: Who would manage the band? Gloria [Cavalera, Max's wife/manager] was one of the reasons why Max left SEPULTURA.
Andreas: Yeah, that is right, and she is still around. That is the point — we need to start talking again and have a conversation like grown-up people.
Metal Hammer: It is also direspectful to the work you did with Derrick. He is nearly as long in the band as Max.
Andreas: This is another side of the story. We cannot say, "Thanks a lot, see you later" to Derrick. He is a part of it and one of the reasons why we are still strong today. He came into the band, brought his talent and ideas and we created something new together. We have to be careful not to destroy what we built. It is direspectful, not only to him, also to our fans all around the globe.
Metal Hammer: Does Derrick have the same standing for the fans like Max had years ago?
Andreas: That is difficult to compare, because the time is different. Ten years ago the world was different, and not only in the metal scene. Both of them, Derrick and Max, created a style around the SEPULTURA music. That makes the two very special compared to other metal singers.
Metal Hammer: You stated that the rumors affect your work these days. Did you talk about the situation within the band?
Andreas: Of course, the stuff is on the Internet, and we talked about it. But we try to stay away from this media panic. There is nothing official that says "SEPULTURA reunites again." All is based on rumors. SEPULTURA today is Andreas Kisser, Paulo Xisto, Derrick Green and Jean Dolabella. We want to tour as much as we can in the next year and if we start talking again, there might be something possible for 2008 or 2009. Now it seems to be a dream, nothing real. But it is possible, because we are all still alive. But not now and not next year.
Metal Hammer: Could you also think about recording a new record with Igor, Max and Paulo?
Andreas: I don't know. Only time will tell.
(Thanks: Thorsten Zahn / www.metal-hammer.de)