Yesterday we kicked off our SOULFLY discography series with a a chat with Max Cavalera about the bands debut self titled release. Below, we continue the walk through the band’s career as Max talks about Primitive, an album he describes as a ‘creative record’ and all the guest appearances on the record.
‘Primitive’ was a guest album! I still don’t know how I pulled all these people together. We had so many people on that one album, and they all flew in for it.
Sean Lennon stayed at my house for five days to record one song. We went out to the desert – he’d never been in the desert before – and went off-road driving with him. We wrote the beginning of the song (‘Son Song’) in the middle of the desert with acoustic guitars, his part was more like a rock part. We did our parts in the studio.
The album was recorded in Mesa, which is a fucked-up suburb of Phoenix. It’s a ‘white-power’ place, everyone is either a redneck or a recovering drug addict- that’s the vibe of the place. We had a motorhome parked in front of the studio, that was where we hung out the whole time. On the song ‘Mulambo’ – which has about a hundred people singing the chorus – we had so many friends come down we had to record in a parking lot behind the studio!
Tom Araya from Slayer came down twice. He came down the first time and didn’t finish his vocals, he wasn’t ready with the lyrics, so he flew back the next week and finished off ‘Terrorist’, then we had Chino again with Grady from Will Haven for the song ‘Pain’.
We also had Corey from Slipknot doing ‘Jumpdafuckup’. That was one of the coolest days, because Slipknot were playing in Phoenix that day – that’s how we got to do that recording – we called Roadrunner and said we wanted Corey on the album. At that time because of the masks no-one knew what they looked like, so I went with my friend in the car and we kidnapped him from his soundcheck, he told the Slipknot guys he’d be back later. He stayed four hours with us and we recorded that song. Then that night we went to see Slipknot for the first time and they blew me away, it was intense. That was a great time.
There was also a hip hop band on there too, an underground Phoenix band called Cutthroat Logic, who played on the track ‘In Memory Of…’ which was about Dana. They were really cool, straight-up, ghetto, hip hop guys. Really rough but really nice guys, you wouldn’t want to fuck with them though! The producer was watching his back the whole time in the studio!
The album was produced by Toby Wright, who’s more famous for doing stuff with Alice in Chains and Metallica – he did ‘…And Justice For All’. He’s very professional, and everybody really enjoyed working with him.
A lot of people criticised that record, they didn’t get the guest appearances. The press murdered the album, they didn’t understand why we had all the guests. I think it’s a very creative record and I’m proud of it, and it took balls to record with Sean Lennon and Tom Araya, I guess that was pretty extreme!