Former SOULFLY guitarist Marc Rizzo has opened up about his departure from the band, saying that his last decade with the Max Cavalera-fronted outfit has "not been very good."
Although Rizzo's exit from SOULFLY wasn't officially announced until Saturday (August 7), it was widely speculated that he was out of the group two days earlier when it was revealed that FEAR FACTORY's Dino Cazares will play guitar for SOULFLY on the band's upcoming U.S. tour, which kicks off on August 20 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Rizzo addressed his departure from SOULFLY in a new interview with Pierre Gutiérrez of Rock Talks. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "This has been a very difficult year. I got no support from SOULFLY. There was no sort of loans that were taken out for the bandmembers or the crew. This is just the honest thing of what happened. I had to go back and get a day job. I was doing home renovations, working very hard, 10 hours a day. A [SOULFLY] live record came out [last year]. I never saw a dime off that. So, basically, within the [first] six months, seven months of COVID, I just said, 'You know, man, I don't want this anymore. I gave you guys 18 years of my life.' And it was a great time. Back in the good years, it was great. But the last I'd say eight to 10 years have not been very good. [I was] away from my family. Scheduling is crazy. It was impossible to have a personal life, see my family, make plans with my family. So, basically, six months into COVID, it was just, like, I don't even wanna do this anymore. I'd rather just concentrate on my solo project and spend time with my family where I'm happy, where I get my credit for everything I do.
"I put 18 years in," he continued. "It's a long, long time to be in the band. When COVID hit, I felt like, what have I been doing these last 18 years? Normally, you work a day job, you get support during a pandemic like COVID. And I was working very hard. I was doing plumbing, electric. Finally, my very good friend Nic Bell at Godsize Booking, he was, like, 'Listen, dude, I can get you back on the road to the states in America that are open.' So he got me to Montana, Texas, Florida, doing my solo project. And I was able to quit my job and get back on track playing music for a living and making money. Big props to Nic Bell, 'cause he was one of the few people that supported me during the pandemic and helped me to get back on the road. Again, I got no support whatsoever from anyone else. So, it's a good thing. Again, I'm very excited about the future."
Asked if it's fair to say that his decision to exit SOULFLY was based on a financial issue, Marc said: "I would say that was one of [the issues] — for this year, yes. There were years that were good financially, but this year — again, there was no loans, there was no, 'Hey, let's do a live video to make money for the bandmembers or maybe let's do a special merch deal.' A lot of my friends, they were doing special merchandise deals. I mean, if you look online, SOULFLY didn't do anything for the bandmembers or the crew. It's just not right to do that to people during a time like this.
"So, whatever, man," he added. "They have the right to run their business however they want to, and I have the right to do I want to do. So, again, I'm very excited to do my solo project. That's what got me through COVID, back to being on the road and doing what I love to do as a living. And then this spawned Tony [Campos, STATIC-X, FEAR FACTORY] and me finally getting together to do a project that we've always talked about. So we're excited with HAIL THE HORNS — we're very, very excited to get that going. I've got my death metal project REVENGE BEAST. And these were guys that called me. They were, like, 'Hey, what's up, man? How are you? How are you doing?' I never got a phone call from anybody in the SOULFLY camp during COVID. It just opened up my eyes this year about what I should be doing in 2021."
Rizzo also confirmed that he hasn't had a conversation with Max since they last saw each at the final pre-pandemic SOULFLY show nearly a year and a half ago. "I haven't talked to Max since [March] 2020 when we played the Hell & Heaven festival in Mexico," he said. "I had no contact with him. I don't think he has a phone, so it's not like I can call him."
Max addressed Rizzo's departure during the latest episode of "Max Trax", a twice-weekly Internet video series in which he discusses the inspiration for many of the songs spanning his nearly 40-year music career. He said: "[Marc] did not leave the band. We decided to part ways with him due to personal reasons. I wish Marc the best on his career. I wanna thank Marc for the 18 years with SOULFLY."
Rizzo joined SOULFLY in 2004, and has since appeared on all of the band's subsequent records, including "Prophecy" (2004), "Dark Ages" (2005), "Conquer" (2008), "Omen" (2010), "Enslaved" (2012), "Savages" (2013), "Archangel" (2015) and "Ritual" (2018). In 2007, Rizzo became a member of CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, the side project of SEPULTURA co-founders, brothers Max and Igor Cavalera, and has performed on all CAVALERA CONSPIRACY releases including "Inflikted", "Blunt Force Trauma", "Pandemonium" and the critically acclaimed 2017 LP "Psychosis".
Back in 2018, Max praised Rizzo, telling "The Classic Metal Show": "He loves what he does; he loves playing in SOULFLY; he loves working with me. We are totally connected. He gives 150 percent every show, no matter if there's ten people or ten thousand, which is rare. Sometimes when there's not a lot of people, it's hard to go out there and still be excited and he does it. I do believe he's underrated big-time, but I'm kind of happy about that because if he gets too big, then he will go away. He will join a big band. I'll be out looking for another guitar player and it would suck. It would really suck to lose Marc. I'm kind of happy. It's almost like a secret thing that we have, this treasure that we have. He's fantastic. He's an amazing guitar player. I sit sometimes around the dressing room just to hear him play. Just go in the dressing room to hang out while he's practicing just to hear him playing some of the flamenco sections in the dressing room or when he's just shredding. He's killer. He is a true, true guitar hero."
Rizzo was originally a member of New Jersey Latin metal favorites ILL NIÑO, appearing on their classic 2001 Roadrunner release "Revolution Revolucion" and the 2003 follow-up "Confession".