SOULFLY/ex-SEPULTURA mainman Max Cavalera told The West Australian that it was an Indonesian tour in the mid-'90s that the Brazilian-born, U.S.-based singer-songwriter and producer rates as his most surreal moment on stage.
"There were 20,000 people at this show and the kids started throwing flip-flops on stage; there was kind of a riot feeling going in the crowd," recalled Cavalera.
"'Chaos A.D.' was the album we were touring and it was a very pissed off, very angry album.
"All of a sudden, the police decided, 'That's enough, we’re going to calm this show down.' They had these huge bamboo sticks and they started beating up the kids in the front row until they made 20,000 people sit down in complete quiet. Like, I mean you could hear a frog.
"In all the cultures I've seen the presence of military force, there was something that quite shocked me. I grabbed my guitar and was like, 'What the f... just happened here?' We just went from complete pandemonium to not even a sound. I've seen many strange things in concert but I'd never seen anything like that in my life.
"I didn't know what to do, if we should keep playing or just go home. I didn't want to get into the politics of the whole thing. You know, I'm a musician — f... that! But these people were so hungry for music. I could've played for 20 hours."
SOULFLY's 2002 album "Soulfly 3" displays a willingness to experiment with tempo, texture and quasi-balladry, evidenced in the track "Tree of Pain", an eight-minute, partly acoustic meditation on grief and loss that surprised a few fans. "It's one of the different songs on 'Soulfly 3', conceived after the album was already done," Cavalera said.
"I felt that album needed something extra, something different, so I divided the song into three vibes; one very mellow and spiritual and delicate; the second more industrial, really intense like PRODIGY; and the third one more of a SOULFLY/SEPULTURA vibe, which is more of a bouncing groove. I took a long time on that song and I was quite happy with result."
While the tribal-thrash of "Roots", Cavalera's swansong album with SEPULTURA, proved highly successful, he's determined to keep pushing musical boundaries and eschewing what he calls "Soulflyby-numbers" records.
"I enjoy new things so that my career doesn’t get stuck," he says. "I did a thing in Holland a while ago, a spoken word thing, and it was a challenge. I was completely nervous before I did it, I was shaking. It was just me with a microphone in front of thousands of people talking about whatever.
"When I reflect upon those things, they are what keep me interested and learning all the time. I put myself in situations where I have to find a way out and it takes a struggle and a lot of hard work. But I like that."
Read the entire interview at www.thewest.com.au.