SOULFLY have issued a statement disputing the account offered by a Russian politician regarding an incident in Moscow late last month which caused the group to cancel their concerts in the Russian Far East cities of Vladivostok and Khabarovsk.
MosNews.com had previously reported that SOULFLY were boarding a plane from Moscow to Vladivostok on April 29 when Valery Kan, a local MP in the city of Ussuriisk, attempted to take SOULFLY mainman Max Cavalera's (ex-SEPULTURA) stepdaughter Roxanne to the business class section of the plane, SOULFLY's Russian promoters, FeeLee Management, were quoted by a Vladivostok television company as saying.
He approached Cavalera's wife [manager Gloria Cavalera] and stepdaughter with two bodyguards. Cavalera was already sitting in his seat on the plane with the other musicians. The group's backstage personnel was boarding together with his wife and daughter and tried to intervene but Kan started to threaten them. When the police arrived, Kan showed them his indentity papers, mentioning his immunity as a deputy. The policemen then told the musicians that they were unable to intervene.
Initial reports suggested that Kan was drunk. When Cavalera's wife attempted to stand up for her daughter, Kan reportedly pushed her away shouting obscenities.
Later, Kan was quoted by a journalist of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper as saying he did not harass Roxanne and accused the group members of offending him. He said he did not shout obscenities or push Cavalera's wife. Kan said he was in the airport with a children's taekwondo team that came home from the championship in Italy, and just wanted to have a conversation with the musicians, but they told him to go away. However, he did not want the journalist to mention his deputy status.
The following account of the incident— written by Gloria Cavalera — was filed with the U.S embassy in Moscow:
"We were going through security at Domodedovo airport [in Moscow] near Gate 38. I noticed my daughter, Roxanne Cavalera, was missing. I saw her ahead of me and hurried ahead of the group I was with to reach her. When I approached her, she said, 'The weirdest thing happened. This Korean man asked me to go with him. Somehow he knew I was going to Vladivostok and asked me to go with him. He grabbed my arm trying to make me go with him. I told him no and he left, but then an older Korean man in a suit tried to pull me but I grabbed my arm away.'
"As I stood there, the younger Korean came up again and said to her, 'Come with me' and tried to pull her by her arm. I put my arm around her shoulder and said, 'Please, she's my daughter, I'm her mother, please go.' He shoved me and said, 'Fuck you, you go.' My crew, Jim Chinni, saw this and immediately came up to protect us. The Korean dude put his belongings down and said, 'I know English, fuck you.' He then spoke in Korean. In English he said, 'You don't know who I am, fuck you, you don't know what I can do.' I was desperately trying to make them stop. I was shocked the security, who were two feet away from us, did nothing. The Korean kept in Jim's face. A Russian man walked up. He was dressed in black leather, with gold jewelry and gold teeth. He grabbed the Korean, laughing, and they walked off. I got my group together and we went to the gate. Some of my group went in the plane, we were the next to board, there were about 20 people behind us. The Korean came up, cut ahead of everyone, came to us and pointed at Jim and in Russian said, 'When you get to Vladivostok, you have big problems, you're a dead man!' Our Russian translator heard him. In English, he (the Korean) also said, 'Do not go to Vladivostock.'
"There were three attendants from the airline who saw this but did nothing. We stopped and decided not to board the plane and I asked the attendants to help, but they did nothing. Our Russian friend, Max Filippov, went on the plane and got our friends off. During this, the Korean and the Russian man (we found out later he is a colonel of the Russian militia. My crew, who were on the plane, said he had a gun under his black sweater) boarded the plane. A band member, who was on the plane, noticed the Korean harrassing the stewardess.
"The airport police arrived, asked for a description of the people, went on the plane and brought the two men off. They brought them to us and their attitude was very civil in front of the police. I kept insisting we were not getting on the flight. The police asked one band member, after showing him the Korean's passport photo if it was the same man. It was, he said. (They never brought the guy in the suit — the older Korean — off).
"We were all near the gate, talking. The police walked off to a room with the two people to make copies of their passports. When the door [opened] once, some of our group saw them high-fiving and shaking hands. The police came out and said they could do nothing because the man had a diplomatic passport. When the police talked to the gate attendants, they all said they never saw anything.
"The Korean and Russian colonel boarded the plane and we left. When the gate people discussed what happened with our Russian friend, Max, they told him we were all just paranoid."
Jim Chinni, a member of SOULFLY's road crew, has sent the following statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET regarding the airport incident:
"First I would like to say, [Kan's version of what transpired at the airport is] NOT WHAT HAPPENED! At first he was speaking to Roxanne about going with him to Vladivostok, she told him, 'No, I am here with a group of people.' At that point he left. I was just clearing the security when I saw Roxanne, she said, 'Some guy was messing with her but no big deal, he left.' I said 'OK then.' We then grabbed our bags and were waiting for everyone else to clear security. Gloria cleared security next and Roxanne went over to her; at that time, the Korean man returned by HIMSELF and approached Roxanne and said 'YOU COME WITH ME NOW!' Gloria replied to the guy nicely, 'NO, that's my daughter and she's not going with you.' He then PUSHED Gloria and said, 'NO YOU GO AWAY!' and to Roxanne, 'YOU COME WITH ME!' That's when it was brought to my attention what was going on. Mind you, security wasn't doing anything about what was going on.
"So I approached the guy and said, 'NO, YOU LEAVE NOW!' He dropped his bags and said, 'Fuck you, American, you don't know who I am!' I replied, 'I don't care, you are not taking anyone anywhere or I will knock your teeth out!' At that point we were nose to nose; I didn't know what to do, things were happening very fast. At that time, Gloria got between us and said, 'It is not worth going to prison, just drop it.' His bodyguard came up, grabbed him, waved and left. We stood there like, 'Oh, my God, that sucked!' We were already late for the plane so Gloria got everyone together and said, 'Come on, let's go.' We headed to the gate; we did not see the guy anywhere in the line of approximately 25 people for the flight. All of a sudden, he returns with two guys, he cuts through the line and said, directly to me, in front of the ticket takers, in perfect English, 'DO NOT GO TO Vladivostok!' Our Russian interpreter told us, in Russian, he said, 'IF YOU GO TO Vladivostok, YOU'RE a DEAD MAN!' When Gloria heard this, she said, 'WE ARE NOT GOING TO Vladivostok!' We already boarded three people on the plane, so we got our people off the plane and security finely got the guy off the plane. Security, holding his passport in hand was telling us that 'he is a diplomat and there is nothing we can do about this, he is a very important man in Vladivostok.' NOT A COACH FOR SOME TAEKWONDO CLASS!
"There were no kids ANYWHERE! He really meant to hurt us. I want to say, anyone who has ever been to Russia, TRUST ME, YOU'RE IN THIER COUNTRY! and unless you want to break rocks in Siberia for the next 10 years with only water and bread to subsist, then you best be careful!
"Oh, and by the way, the American Embassy can't help you in Vladivostok; it's tor far away from Moscow — a 10-hour flight!
"So I hope this sheds some light on what really happened. This was no joke!
"As for the fans, we would have been the first band to EVER PLAY THERE."