An Interview with Richie Cavalera of Incite: “I’m proud to be a Cavalera”

Incite Band Photo by Glen LaFerman 2

Richie Cavalera is a man on a mission, and that mission is to be a rock star…but he’s not afraid to work hard for it. Where most bands with a background like Incite would rest on their laurels, Richie see’s it as a challenge to be met. Last month saw Incite do their first headline tour in the UK, and our Lisa caught up with Richie in Glasgow (you can read a review of that gig right here if you like).

First of all, tell me, how’s the tour going, how’s it been in the UK?

It’s been quite an experience for us, you know I think we done a couple of US headline tours and we did one or two supports tours over here, with Soulfly. This is a trip, you know, to go to Germany and Switzerland and Poland and Italy; you know it’s really just building a following for the band over here finally. Really hitting the streets and hitting the local scenes and really just trying to get the band out there as much as possible.

A lot of these cities are first times we’ve played there and we’d have nights where it’s 10 people or you know 100 people and that’s what’s so cool. The US started out just like that and now we have solid crowds everywhere and I know every time we come back it’s going to get better and better for us.

Learning a lot, as far as gear goes and you know the way venues work and the way it’s ran over here, it’s just really cool. Really cool.

Do you prefer doing headline shows to doing support slots?

You know they both have their pluses and I think with the headline it’s nice because you know you get the dressing room, you kind of get the catering, and you know have your gear on stage ready to go and you get the sound check. Support’s nice because you don’t feel the pressure of having to have a big crowd every night, you don’t have the pressure of playing an hour and 20 minutes and everybody enjoying it all and it’s really just a balance of both, you know, I like them both a lot, definitely.

So Incite just put out a new record last year, what can you tell us about that?

Oh I think it was, to me it felt like the real release of the band. I think the first two records kind of felt like, they kind of just fell away because the labels weren’t there or the PR wasn’t there for them, because we really worked with the India labels you know, we could have probably came out and been with a giant label and had everything easy but I didn’t think that route was going to be the most fulfilling. So I think we’ve worked hard and paid our dues and with this record it all came together as far as the label, the management, the press, the touring, it just, it really felt amazing to us.

The songs they really brought everything out of us on this record having Matt Hyde was just a dream come true, the guy is, he’s so intense and wants perfect results and I love that, because we never had somebody to sit there and tell us that something sucked or you could do this better. That was just a great feeling to have someone that was that involved with the music as much as we were.

You know from the drums to the vocals, guitars, every aspect of it, we used to like trail the endings of songs and he cut that right away, he was like, “You do not do that shit”, it’s like his worst thing in the world to him. That was great for us to learn a lot of things like that and this record I think people saw a huge growth musically and keeping the core of the band together as far as Dis and myself, the main writers of all the records and adding the new pieces we have really just exploded everything for us in a great direction.

And you’ve started up three new guys in the last couple of years.

Yes it’s been interesting. I’ve had a lot of trouble with members. I ask a lot of people, not as being a dick but just as being a touring band we’re a metal band and it’s not easy to get the things that mainstream or commercial music gets so we always have to work harder and do things to the extra and I think people thing they’re just going to join a band and be rich and famous and have all the success and everything right away. I think I finally found all the members where everybody’s on the same page and it took a lot of learning a lot of learning from dealing with assholes and crazy people and everything to get where we are now.

I think everybody that’s in the band is here for the same reason, the same cause and the same drive to make the band succeed and I couldn’t ask for better people to be playing every day with. You know sleeping in a tight van, it’s just fun we have a great time and that’s good to feel again after all these years.

You have to get along with if you’re going to be in a small environment with people for long periods of time.

You would think, you know, sometimes you just, you feel good when you’re jamming in the rehearsal room and when you hang out at home and then yes, you know, when you’re thrown in to a van and you have the technical problems, things aren’t going right, you show up to a venue and it’s just a mess. There’s two people in the crowd, it tests your will to want to be in a band. I think that’s why a lot of bands don’t succeed, it’s just getting past that level is so difficult now that it’s been hard for me to even maintain and keep going. I’ve questioned myself sometimes about whether to keep going but once you play shows and you feel that excitement and that energy that you get from it, you know, there’s nothing that will stop you.

I think now it’s all done, everything I’ve had in the past was to learn for what’s ahead of us and I think we’re all ready for what we’re about to do.

Are you sick of talking about your family?

No way, that’s the best part. I think that’s where it’s kind of been weird in the business, people they ask me about it and I love to talk about it because that’s one thing that we’ve always pushed out there is the family and being a part of it. A lot of bands don’t do that and they go away for nine months a year and not see their family and for us it’s been great to have that communication and still be a strong family through it all.

Was music a logical career for you? Would it have been strange if you’d gone in to advertising or banking or something?

Yes I was actually telling someone this the other day. It’s like how disappointing would it have been if I was a dentist or you know something like that. So I think being a son of someone that’s done great things like that and I think it really always stretches back to my mother, the manager, who’s really kept this whole empire rolling from day one. I think back to when I was just a young, young kid, you know Max really wasn’t there, it was her that was opening metal bars and having Poison or Rob Halford come down. It really sparked the love of music, you know, and then to have your father be Max, just a couple of years later and you’re thrown on stage for like dynamo to do Nailbomb or you know play Policia with Sepultura it was intense to be nine eight years old getting thrown and that but I loved every minute. Every time a show would end I would already ask the whole Sepultura band if I could play the next night too and it was so exciting and I just built the love for it. Years and years of touring with Soulfly and I cherish the family part of it and I think it sets us apart from everybody else; no-one else really does it like we do, you know, since maybe the Partridge family…


…and it’s a lot harder in metal to keep it going but we’ve managed to do a good job.

We know a lot about Max, but your mum is a bit of a legend too. She put together the Maximum Cavalera Tour for example. What inspires her, what got her in to this whole thing?

Her big thing is just keeping us out on the road. I think when it comes back to where she started she lived in Colorado and her brother at the time called her up and said, “Hey you know let’s move to Arizona and start a metal bar”, and metal really wasn’t anything at the time. It was just starting out in Oakland and other places and she was so interested in it and she loved new challenges so she was out here the first day ready to go and within a couple of months she introduced the restaurant half with the venue at the same time which nowhere was doing in Arizona.

And then she brought bands like Poison out and Faster Pussycat and so many just great bands from the beginning of the scene and I think that really kicked her off because then she met Sacred Reich and started touring. She’s a dedicated person and I think when you see how hard she works it makes you want to work just as hard because she’s been doing it now for 30 plus years, every day morning till night, balancing family as well as five different bands’ careers all day with little to no help

I think she’s a huge inspiration to a lot of people and I’m one of them for sure.

Ah, that’s nice. So what music inspires you?

Right now I’m really big on kind of oldies, I’ve been really jamming back in the day like Journey and old Suicidal Tendencies and I found a couple of new bands I like, Sylosis, out of the UK I think they’re a great new metal band and have a bright future for themselves. I really always fall back in to the Obituary and the Napalm Death kind of era stuff because that’s really what fuels me and I love the anger that that music has, because I think over the last 10 years anybody that’s kind of in that 20 to 25 range has really felt. I think we’ve been robbed of a lot of great times in our life due to the world, greed, economy and all that shit. I think we’ve really taken the brunt of it.

So anything we can do now to just kind of enjoy ourselves is a big part of life.

So you’ve toured with some amazing bands, who’s been your favourite?

I would probably say my buddies in 36 Crazyfists were really cool. They’ve been around for 20 years and to be as humble as they are and to still be as cool as they are. I mean they headline shows with opening bands and they strike their drum kits, let everybody share their gear, really just made sure everybody was really taken care of. You don’t see that a lot. Most of those headlining bands, when they get screwed out of pay the screw everybody but they didn’t do that. They paid everybody and fed everybody and it opened my eyes now to know when we do a headline tour that that’s how I want people to think of us when they’re done. You know we did everything we could to help them make it better, because each band that’s small on the roster is going through a tougher and tougher time to make a tour work, so you know for them to step outside and make things work made it great. It was a big eye-opening thing for me.

They’re on tour in the UK at the minute.

Yes we were actually supposed to be on that and we just had just some scheduling issues so unfortunately we couldn’t do it but at least we still made it over here to play. I’m proud of the, I’m proud of their new record and the crowds they’re doing and it’s a great thing to see because they deserve it. We did the tour in America with them, and we were going to do here but it just didn’t work out

What do you have coming up in the future?

After this we head back to America, we do a headline tour for about eight weeks with Better Left Unsaid and Spades and Blades. They’re some upcoming LA bands that are really good, they have the heaviness in to them but they also have a good balance of style. So I think it will make for an interesting show, you won’t have everybody be the same. It will kind of give a good variety for all the fans to listen to.

After that the plan is to come back to Europe, do some festivals in June, July and August. We’re really excited about that because it’s been, since 2009 was our first release so to be six years in to have festivals finally looking at us it’s great, it feels that we’ve always kept going and then hopefully in the fall we’re going to do something with a big support band over here, because I still think we need to do that more. We’ve really only toured with Soulfly and everybody thinks that all these bands take us out and it’s not true.

We don’t have a magic wand just because I’m a Cavalera just to say hey you know you got to take them on tour. It doesn’t work like that; I think it’s actually been harder for me to get tours because people don’t want to take us just because I’m that. It’s just been really weird but you know if I’ve got to do headline tours for the rest of my life then that’s what we’ll do, because I’ve got to play and get the music out there because that’s what we love.

Are you doing any UK festivals or can you not say?

I don’t know we’re working on Bloodstock I believe but I have not heard anything back and I know Cavalera Conspiracy’s on Download this year so we’re hoping they could throw us on a side stage since they’re already working the other but nothing yet. Nothing yet.

Fingers crossed.

Oh always, every day I’m waiting for calls of good news..…

Do you ever feel like you’re in your dad’s shadow, in Max’s shadow?

That’s a weird, a weird balance, I don’t know, it’s like I feel a little tripped out sometimes because you get his fans that will come to our show expecting me to be Sepultura and 93 which I feel like we, we’re that kind of that band leading towards that kind of way because when you see us live it’s just a complete and utter experience of energy and aggressiveness and I think that’s what Sepultura did in their coming up.

I remember him telling me about shows he did with four people over here and to not feel bad when that happens. So to live in his shadow is something I’m totally okay with because I understand what he is. There’s not many what he’s done in metal, you know, I think, in music in general to come from Brazil let alone to be a big band. It’s hard to come from Hollywood and be big, you know, to think in 1984 to come from Brazil, it’s incredible, it’s a once in a lifetime type of story and I think that will always be there and I won’t ever let it bother me.

I’m proud to be a Cavalera, to be his son, and to have him happy that I’m out there doing what he loved growing up and what I loved growing up. It’s a cool thing either way. Either way, always just take it in the context of how I enjoy myself and try not to worry about what everybody thinks because that’s what kills a band when they start worrying about what everybody thinks.

Everyone is looking for the next Sepultura and the next Pantera.

I completely agree, I think a lot of the artisticness in metal has gone because you see bands like Avenged Sevenfold or Asking Alexandria, Five Finger Death Punch and they have this mainstream metal vibe that they try to push as being metal now and to us being in metal it’s not metal. Metal is Napalm Death, metal is Obituary, metal is Sepultura. I think once kids kind of see that and feel the change and don’t get discouraged with having a few people in the crowd. That’s how Thrash started in the early 80s you have a couple of people and every year it got bigger and better.

We hope to be the band that can catapult that feeling again; I think we hear every day when people see us live, “Oh my god you reminded me of Phil or Pantera. You reminded me of Slayer or Lamb of God, Randy Blythe when they were young”. That’s amazing to hear because those are the people that we’re influenced by and that we want to be the closest to them music style and performance wise. Those are the bands that got us excited so I think to try to want to be influenced by them is one thing but I don’t think they’ll ever be another one of those because that was the time and the era and Metallica’s and all that thing came up. It’s just trying to do what we can and hope people accept it.

But Metallica just don’t seem to want to quit. They’re still doing it.

Well you’ve got to think with them they probably want to quit but now you know you don’t sell the CDs, the 16 million that they used to sell so their bills are a lot higher than most people’s. Now you see them touring because they don’t get those cheques coming in from album sales so they have to make it up in touring.

It’s kind of scary because you see so many bands from that era that are touring more now than they ever have before and that’s because of the album sales and all the things, the merch declining and it’s scary to see that their struggling but I think everybody’s just waiting for the next batch of bands to come up.

I’d like to see those guys help more, bands like Metallica. To do a show with The Big Four and not have any new metal bands on a second stage or something, to be introduced to 60,000 people. I’m not talking about the bands that can pay 100 grand to play on it; I’m not talking about the bands with the connections to get them on it. Just good metal bands that are out there because they’re everywhere. I’ve seen so many local bands that are just amazing and just need one chance to get out there and they will do great things.

For example, Machine Head they’re doing a sold out tour in America with just themselves. I see the coolness of that but at the same time it’s like bring three local bands in every city that you play in and let them have a chance to be exposed to that amount of people. It is so hard to get that many people to watch a band of their size. It really disappoints me when big bands do that.

Slipknot, for instance, they took King 810, which was amazing because they were great and a new band. You don’t see people do that and I just think that needs to happen a lot more and metal will be strong again.

Its interesting because with record sales dying out there is more focus from labels on how to make money rather than music. What are your thoughts on that?

I think a lot of it is the corporations from being so big during the bubble era that it has become a business in a lot of sense. You don’t really get to just enjoy it you’re always trying to think of how you’re going to make enough money to survive and that’s what a business becomes.

It’s scary but I think with more and more local and indie record labels popping up and having a company like Roadrunner be disbanded and let all those people that worked for them for all those years go out and make their own companies, I think you know there’s a chance that we have to save it but it’s closing more and more every day I think with the downloading and all that thing.

You’ve got YouTube who gives away a free album; of course they can do that because Apple’s going to pay them $100 million to do that. Giving free music’s great and we love it but you know it costs money to make an album and us being a small band, I mean it costs over 20 grand to make a record that people will listen to and not just criticise about the sound not being great. That’s expensive for a record, in my personal opinion, when you’re not selling that much anymore. I think something will happen, something’s got to give way, whether it’s the art of music’s just going to disappear and there’ll will only be the Beyoncé’s and the Katy Perry and the cookie cutter shit that they put over there over and over and over.

The fans are really the ones that keep the power, so whatever they decide is what’s going to be our fate.

Maybe music will go back to how it was in Sun Records days. It was just about their bands going out and playing to the fans.

See like that’s, like I said you know Birmingham we had like three people, we played like there was 250, we didn’t make a dollar on merch, we didn’t make anything but we know having a good label is what those bands need. Back in the day what those bands got was tour support and that’s how they were able to tour.

We are lucky to have a label that believes in us to give us that so we can just go out and play. We don’t have to worry about making the money to pay it back or whatever happens I think. You know we’ve been a very fortunate and lucky band to have that feeling still of just playing and not being about money and I tell the guys, I’m like, “You know what we’re sleeping in a van that’s freezing with no food but you know what in 10 years, if everything pays off, you’re going to look back at this and really appreciate you know where we’ve gone”, so I think it could be alright.

Those are the stories you put in your book.

This is all part of the book. I don’t ever want to just sit down and write a book I think doing the interviews, I try to have the answers to be different every time, I try to have it always be what I’m feeling about and how to express them in words so people can understand what we go through, because it’s crazy. I’ve always believed that if we put a reality show in our van it would be the craziest thing that people saw because they just think it’s just perfect life, you got a hotel and good food and perfect gear and all this stuff everyday but it’s just not like that and you have to love the music to do it this way.

There is a huge part of that, actually, that people just think oh you’re in a band now and you’ve got a label, you must be rolling in money.

Exactly. We’ve been lucky we found one of my guys is a tattoo artist so he can go home and make a little money in between and I do merchandise on the side for other bands. You know you definitely have to find those other means to make things work but there’s a certain point when you get to be one of those bands where they do make a lot of money. I’ve been in the business long enough to know when they’re reaming you.

I think it’s cool that everybody does meet and greets now, but at the same time now you’re paying for them which I understand because merch is dying which is the scariest thing. I think a lot of fans now have felt the pressure of the money you know rising oh their end as far as shirts go because that’s the only route that bands have now to make money, where it actually goes to the band and helps the band keep investing in to the project and keep going. When that dies I think that will truly be the end of music because without that there’s no way to support it, you know that’s really way that we survive now.

Cool so for one final question, because the site is called Rock Sins, I always ask people to tell me a story about like a sinful story or something bad that’s gone on in the past or something about a sin that they like.

Mine is gambling. For being on tour you have these great casinos all over the world and I’ve always found myself in there, even though I have no money I’d be still in there trying to just hopefully win enough, maybe buy us a bus or something cool but yes that’s definitely been my sin is just getting too crazy and gambling from tour.

Cool, thank you very much for your time.

No thank you for everything.

Interviewed by: Lisa Fox

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