Band of Brothers: Max and Iggor Cavalera Bring Their Return Beneath Arise Tour to Tempe

Max and Iggor Cavalera
Max and Iggor Cavalera Jim Louvau
Your weekend couldn’t possibly get any more metal than the sonic shred fest that takes over the stage at Tempe’s Marquee Theatre on Saturday, June 25.

Formidable heavy metal legends — and brothers — Max and Iggor Cavalera headline a bill that gets going earlier in the day, with doors opening at 4 p.m. The event features a roster of bands primed to blister the eardrums and electrify those coming in hot and ready to rock.

The Cavalera brothers started Sepultura in the '80s, and this show features them performing the songs of two of the band’s biggest records, Beneath the Remains and Arise. While they’re no longer involved with the version of the band that still exists today, the two are excited to deliver the songs from these records that put thrash metal on the map. We got to chat with Max Cavalera about this tour and more.

“We started this celebrating and revisiting old records for a few years now, starting with Sepultura’s Roots. It was awesome — the fans loved it. We decided to do a different one, and focus on another era, so we came up with the idea to do Beneath the Remains and Arise together, and we did that in Europe and South America. We were getting ready to book it in America, and then COVID hit, so it set us back a bit. Then I was touring with Soulfly. I’m glad we are making it happen now,” Cavalera tells Phoenix New Times.

As much as he — like most performers — was bummed about COVID setting things back, Cavalera says he put the time to good use. “I do think COVID gave people a different perspective on their work. It did for us; it gave us a chance to think about how much we love this music, how much we love live shows, and how much we miss them. When we got to do it again, I was like, ‘This is actually happening! This is great,’ and I think it goes both ways — audiences feel the same thing.”

Calavera also used some of that time off to work on a record for Soulfly, the groove-centric, thrash metal band that also includes his son, Zyon. “It was a luxury to have two years to create a record. I figured I’d use the time to write the best record I could. I worked with Zyon — we have a jam pad in south Phoenix and would go there three times a week and just jam hard.”

To not lose connection with the fans during that long break, Cavalera took to the internet. “I did this regular thing called Max Trax on Facebook. I played songs on guitar and interacted with fans. Thousands of people watched those. It was fun and helped save my sanity during the pandemic.”

Even though it was online, Cavalera says it felt like a personal event. “I have all these stories — I’m a storyteller by heart — and I’d be sitting on the couch each week talking, showing people how I write things, and it was like having fans sitting right there in the room with me. It was pretty punk rock, too, with no big production techniques or special equipment. People were popping in from everywhere — Brazil, Russia, New Zealand — it was so cool.”

Cavalera says he loves traveling worldwide to perform, but he is looking forward to the Phoenix show. “Phoenix has been my home for 30 years now. The shows here always have a great vibe.”

The band shows Phoenix some love by donating $1 from each ticket purchased to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. “Our son Igor has diabetes, so we opened a fund in his name to buy medicine for families that can’t afford it,” Cavalera says. “It was my wife Gloria’s idea; she started the fund.” He noted that some of the hospital staff even come to the shows. “The nurses are headbangers at heart (laughs).”

He expects to see plenty of that headbanging happening on Saturday. The live show, he tells us, is not dependent on special effects — just pure unadulterated rock. “It’s all about the music,” he says.” “These records were created around the songs' pure power and raw aggression. To me, special effects would take away from that. It’s just us jamming, no gimmicks. We play a little different night to night, but we give it all at every show, and I like feeling completely exhausted at the end of the night.”

There’s some real personal payoff for Cavalera making music with his brother Iggor. “We had a hard patch and didn’t speak for 10 years, but it is so good to be back with him, hanging out and playing music. There’s a magical genetic thing that happens when we play together. We create raw, primitive music that we get to experience with the audience.”

This show being a family affair doesn’t stop with the Cavalera brothers playing together. “It’s truly a family vibe ‘cause my son Igor's band Healing Magic is also playing, and they’re a really great heavy two-piece.”

“I told my brother the other day, ‘This is success.’ We get to do this surrounded by the people we love. This is what we work and fight for, and it doesn’t get any better than that."

Max and Iggor Cavalera. With Cephalic Carnage, Healing Magic, Necessary Space, Scattered Guts, Ocean Harvest, and Kill Command. 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 25. Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue in Tempe. Tickets are $32.
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Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young