Thursday, June 27, 2013

Soulfly Evolves Like Pokemon...

Since the birth of Soulfly from the ashes of Sepultura, I have seen many many changes in musicians, in styles of music, producers and guest vocalists. Each change brought a new flavor to Soulfly and offered many genres of music to various types of fans.
 The first release involved a band member change immediately after recording, when Lucio Maia returned to his Brazilian band, Nazau Zumbi. We enlisted Logan Mader for a few reasons. He had just come off his run with Machinehead and was free at the moment. We were fresh in our grief still, from Dana's passing and it made sense since we met Logan through Dana at the Nailbomb Dynamo Festival a short time before he died. Logan had a dream about Dana a few days before I phoned him and he felt there was a spiritual connection. We were thrilled to enlist him in our growing tribe.
Marcelo Dias and Roy Mayorga completed the early lineup that fans saw on the first tours in 1998. It was exciting to see the songs I watched Max craft at the kitchen table, from pain, from loss, and from the artistic drive born in the core of his very soul...They became reality on the stage!! We had come the full circle!
Many guests were on that first record...Chino Moreno, Fred Durst, Benji, Dino Cazares, Burton C. Bell, Christian Olde Wolbers, Jorge and Gilmar from Nacao Zumbi, DJ Lethal and Mario Caldato, Jr. of the Beastie Boys fame. We had a killer time at recording with the waves of guests stopping by. The track Bleed, with Fred Durst guesting, was chosen as the first single.
Fred Durst with mask on

The 8 followup Soulfly releases have always given us a twist, going this way and then another, as Max designs songs for his many guests. This has kept the music diverse and full of exciting elements. I have accompanied Max on exotic recordings to Cairo, Egypt, Russia, and Istanbul, Turkey. I was there when he said he wanted to record in a castle during Chaos. When he said we were going to record with a tribe in the Amazon, my reply was, "No you are not! You aren't Michael Jackson!" And then, I watched him do it... I saw a professor of music history from the University in Belgrade record with authentic medieval instruments, such as bagpipes made from sheep's stomachs...true instruments. This is found on Prophecy and Dark Ages cds. The Professor walked out and a gypsy troupe from the street walked in and recorded the ancient, March on the River Drina. We were recording in Belgrade at the time. And yes, I was there when Sean Lennon and Max discovered their similarities in their father's deaths and wrote the track, Son Song.

No doubt there will be more twists and turns, new faces and new places, but one thing you can be sure it will be Max Metal made just for you!!!
Max with fans

Class dismissed....

Friday, June 21, 2013


One of the coolest bands I ever toured with was Pantera. Everything about them was cool...the way they treated you, the parties, the shows...everything was BIG, like Texas!!

Pantera always had smiles on their faces, a drink in one hand and a party planned for later!! I was fortunate enough o have 3 of my acts on many Pantera tours, Sacred Reich, Sepultura, and Soulfly. Pantera was never scared to have the Brazilians in front of them, like a few other bands, whose names I won't mention. Walter O'Brian was the manager and a good friend. He never charged bands to play. He was a stand-up guy. Music and shows were about fun, about music, and about brotherhood, a trait sorely lacking today.
One of the most memorable Pantera shows was Pantera with Sepultura at Red Rock Ampitheater in Colorado. The entire day was fun, a big musical thrill from start to finish. The drum jam was one of the rocking-est jams in history! With the tall red rocks holding the stage in the palm of its hands, the crowd swooping up to the top of the rocks, the drums carried throughout the mountaintops.
Drum Jam!

Dime was starting to wear camo in the age of "Max-camo pants sweeping the globe era." One day he gave Max a gift of a new camo he had picked up for him. Max still has the pants in his man cave, a reminder of a day long past.

The Pantera crew was as much a part of the Pantera family as Vinnie and Dime's parents! Guy Sykes at the reigns, frightening all in his path-until you got to know the dude; Big Val in charge of security; Wires at front of house; Sunny lighting up the stage; and of course the wild stage crew...Grady, Kat, Bobby and wouldn't be a Pantera show without them!!

The last time I saw Dime was in El Paso, Texas at the Fox Theater. Vinnie and Dime came to the Soulfly show to hang out and got mobbed by the fans. Damageplan was starting their tour and they were excited to get the show on the road.

Let's all raise a toast to Pantera!! They were true champions of music, caring for their fans, caring for their Metal brothers and sisters. The tragedy that ended the dream was unnecessary and undeserved. It changed music forever and gave every musician who puts his foot on a stage a second thought. Support the bands that evolved from Pantera...they are the light that came from the darkness...
Class dismissed....

Friday, June 14, 2013


This week's class is more of a lesson in pit vigilance, than a fun story of the past. I was on the Pantera/Sepultura Tour in the early 90's, as we all pulled into Baltimore one morning. It was a normal day. The venue was a big, outdoor facility, completely stuffed with Metal-dom...even the air reeked of Metal!!
Dime and Max
I was on stage right , the band was beginning to spark and the crowd was on the edge of a major eruption. I noticed a young, tatted and head shaved man standing in the front row. His tatts got my attention, but only briefly. What I began to focus on was the chatter between this young fan and the security dude in front of him. I could see there was a thread of irritation in the fan's face as he went back and forth with the security.

The band came on and I noticed the kid floating, having a good time and not coming over the barricade. Security Dude was not concerned with doing his job. He reached into the crowd and pulled Floater into the barricaded pit area and hauled him off. This set off a red alert in my brain and I asked my production manager, Bobby Thompson, to check on the young man and make sure the thug wasn't being unruly. When Bobby returned, much to my horror, he told me the security dude threw the boy down so hard, he didn't seem able to move. I ran and found Pantera's head of security, Big Val, and told him what I had seen. I can still recall the security dude because of his bowl-shaped haircut.

I never heard or saw anything more that day, and most likely assumed someone helped the fan and he was on his road back to every day Life. I was surprised when Paul Booth arrived in the morning looking for me. He explained he knew the fan and he had heard that I witnessed the event between security and his friend. When I said yes I watched the bull go down, Paul told me the boy had suffered a spinal injury and was paralyzed from the neck down! I was speechless. I felt guilty I had not gone myself to help.

Some months later, I testified over the phone on behalf of the fan and accused the security of abusive behavior, resulting in a man being paralyzed....FOREVER!!! A dude having fun in the pit and a jock being offended.... how many times had I stood on the side of the stage, scanning the crowd for trouble?? Many, many times, my students. When you see me on the stage, staring intently, that is exactly what I am doing...watching over my children in the pit and the tribe on stage.

I heard the sercurity got jail time and the young man received a settlement and moved to Florida. I really don't know what became of either of them. I know I never saw the fan in a tattoo mag again; he maybe never went to a show even for a minute, and most likely, never got to achieve his dreams. AND THAT IS NOT RIGHT!!

The moral?? Help your brothers and sisters in the pit. Be vigilant when you see abuse by security. Tell someone with the band or their crew if you see harmful behavior from the pit thugs. Security are hired to protect everyone. They are not hired to thump kids!! And not be afraid to speak up! Justice deserves attention and sometimes doesn't come easily. I will be there watching for you!

Class dismissed...

Friday, June 7, 2013

Stick It Up Your Fudge Tunnel...

One of the tours I produced in the early 90's was Sepultura, Fear Factory, Clutch and Fudge Tunnel. We were all great friends before the tour started, so I knew it would be the same climate as The New Titans On The Bloc had been...a frikken riot!

Dino, Iggor and Max in mask

Dan from Clutch, Max, and Christian from Fear Factory

Fudge Tunnel was from Nottingham England. We had just done a tour in Europe prior to the North American leg with them. Christina was married to Alex and she was also on the road selling merch for the tour. I had heard a Fudge Tunnel cassette and called Max, who was in Brazil at the time, and asked if it was cool if I added them to the Euro tour as Sepultura's support. He had just discovered them too and was up for the idea.

Alex singing

Alex And Neil (Clutch singer) 
Clutch had just released their A Shogun Named Marcus classic and Sepultura jammed to it all tour long. It made sense to add them. They were full of energy and exotic to me...a bit greaser, a bit rocker, a bit dangerous. If I could do a shot of Clutch, I would!

Fear Factory completed the bill as main support. It was the original lineup with a full tank of gas! Max had helped them get their deal at Roadrunner Records, with Monte Conner signing them. This bill assured me there would be kickass Metal, blistering the headbanging eardrums in the pit at high tide!! Maybe some of you were lucky enough to be there!! Zyon was!!!

Fear Factory
Neil and baby Zyon

On the last shown Iggor painted new backdrops for Fudge Tunnel. He painted two rocket size d#@%ks on white sheets and hung them on each side of the stage! It was a moment to remember...

Class dismissed......