SOULFLY leader Max Cavalera says that the band's former guitarist Marc Rizzo has been spewing out "lies and bullshit" in some of his recent interviews regarding his exit from the group.
Although Rizzo's departure from SOULFLY wasn't officially announced until August 7, it was widely speculated that he was out of the group two days earlier when it was revealed that FEAR FACTORY's Dino Cazares will play guitar for SOULFLY on the band's upcoming U.S. tour, which kicks off on August 20 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Max discussed Marc's split with SOULFLY in a new interview with Dimitris Kontogeorgakos of the Chicago-based webzine Metal Kaoz. Regarding what caused Rizzo's dismissal from the band, Cavalera said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I don't know. He had a mental breakdown. I don't know, man. This is crazy. And I don't really understand all these accusations too; it's so out of character for him. I don't know.
"When you're in a band, the way I am, sometimes you tour for three months, and sometimes you come back from tour and it's nice to have the space from the [other] musicians. I had that with my brother; sometimes I go six months without talking to Igor, and then we go on tour again. And it's the same with Mike [Leon, bass], and it's the same with some of the crew, and it's the same with Marc.
"All these accusations — it hurts," he continued. "It hurts to hear. After everything that we did for him, which was a lot — we put him on all the records and always took really good care of him, always really, really gave good treatment to him. To hear him backstabbing us like that, it's just not nice. He's obviously trying to get fans to be against me and make him the victim.
"I don't have bad things to say about Marc myself. He was cool during SOULFLY, and we made great records. But I think maybe it just ran its course. I noticed it was a little bit stale; the situation was a little bit stale. The last show we did was in Mexico, and I could tell something felt a little bit different. But I was getting ready to tour, getting ready to go back on tour. And then we started hearing all these crazy accusations from him. He even said in one of the interviews he had a mental breakdown a month ago or something.
"I don't know, man. It just sucks," he repeated. "We're not supposed to do that to each other, to musicians that we play with. A lot of ex-SOULFLY guys are all friends of mine — Roy [Mayorga], Johny Chow, Mikey [Doling], Logan [Mader]. It's nice. You had your time in SOULFLY, and we keep the friendship. He seems just very bitter about everything. It just sucks to hear all that. It definitely hurts me when I hear all these accusations that I know are lies and bullshit; it's all fabricated by his crazy mind. I don't know. It's a strange situation."
Cavalera said that he found himself in a situation where he "had to fire" Rizzo. "I had to do something," he explained. "So in July, I made the decision to have him no longer be in the band. And it was not an easy decision because we spent 18 years together, but it was a decision. I had to make that. I had to look out for SOULFLY. And then I had the idea to invite Dino to be on the tour. 'Cause we already had the tour booked.
"I think we grew apart also," Max said about his former bandmate. "Little by little, on every tour I noticed him hanging out less and things like that. Even musically, I don't think we liked the same stuff. I like a lot of the newer, heavier stuff. I don't think we even liked the same stuff anymore. So it's one of those things — you grow apart from each other."
According to Max, he would like nothing more than to remain on good terms with Marc. "I don't want to turn this into an ugly thing," he said. "I don't wanna talk bad about him; I really don't. Of course I don't like those accusations, and it's bullshit, but he has the right to say whatever. But I think we treated him really good through all those years. We put him on the map pretty much. When he joined the band, not many people knew him. Just a little bit of gratitude would have been nice. Because even on 'Max Trax' [Cavalera's a twice-weekly Internet video series in which he discusses the inspiration for many of the songs spanning his nearly 40-year music career], when I mentioned that I fired him, I thanked him for the 18 years of SOULFLY, and I said good luck on his projects. I'm not bitter. I don't wanna be a bitter guy.
"It's a tough business, man. It's tough," he said. "These things happen, and you have to have thick skin. There's many fans that agree with him or [disagree with him]. Whatever. It is what it is. I tried to make the best of the situation. That's why I have Dino, a friend, a great riffmaster, a great shredder. And I'm looking forward to the future projects."
Last week, Rizzo told Pierre Gutiérrez of Rock Talks that he "got no support from SOULFLY" during the pandemic. "There was no sort of loans that were taken out for the bandmembers or the crew," he said. "This is just the honest thing of what happened. I had to go back and get a day job. I was doing home renovations, working very hard, 10 hours a day. A [SOULFLY] live record came out [last year]. I never saw a dime off that. So, basically, within the [first] six months, seven months of COVID, I just said, 'You know, man, I don't want this anymore. I gave you guys 18 years of my life.' And it was a great time. Back in the good years, it was great. But the last I'd say eight to 10 years have not been very good. [I was] away from my family. Scheduling is crazy. It was impossible to have a personal life, see my family, make plans with my family. So, basically, six months into COVID, it was just, like, I don't even wanna do this anymore. I'd rather just concentrate on my solo project and spend time with my family where I'm happy, where I get my credit for everything I do.
"I put 18 years in," he continued. "It's a long, long time to be in the band. When COVID hit, I felt like, what have I been doing these last 18 years? Normally, you work a day job, you get support during a pandemic like COVID. And I was working very hard. I was doing plumbing, electric. Finally, my very good friend Nic Bell at Godsize Booking, he was, like, 'Listen, dude, I can get you back on the road to the states in America that are open.' So he got me to Montana, Texas, Florida, doing my solo project. And I was able to quit my job and get back on track playing music for a living and making money. Big props to Nic Bell, 'cause he was one of the few people that supported me during the pandemic and helped me to get back on the road. Again, I got no support whatsoever from anyone else. So, it's a good thing. Again, I'm very excited about the future."
Asked if it's fair to say that his decision to exit SOULFLY was based on a financial issue, Marc told Rock Talks: "I would say that was one of [the issues] — for this year, yes. There were years that were good financially, but this year — again, there was no loans, there was no, 'Hey, let's do a live video to make money for the bandmembers or maybe let's do a special merch deal.' A lot of my friends, they were doing special merchandise deals. I mean, if you look online, SOULFLY didn't do anything for the bandmembers or the crew. It's just not right to do that to people during a time like this.
"So, whatever, man," he added. "They have the right to run their business however they want to, and I have the right to do I want to do. So, again, I'm very excited to do my solo project. That's what got me through COVID, back to being on the road and doing what I love to do as a living. And then this spawned Tony [Campos, STATIC-X, FEAR FACTORY] and me finally getting together to do a project that we've always talked about. So we're excited with HAIL THE HORNS — we're very, very excited to get that going. I've got my death metal project REVENGE BEAST. And these were guys that called me. They were, like, 'Hey, what's up, man? How are you? How are you doing?' I never got a phone call from anybody in the SOULFLY camp during COVID. It just opened up my eyes this year about what I should be doing in 2021."
Rizzo also confirmed that he hasn't had a conversation with Max since they last saw each at the final pre-pandemic SOULFLY show nearly a year and a half ago. "I haven't talked to Max since [March] 2020 when we played the Hell & Heaven festival in Mexico," he said. "I had no contact with him. I don't think he has a phone, so it's not like I can call him."
Rizzo joined SOULFLY in 2004, and has since appeared on all of the band's subsequent records, including "Prophecy" (2004), "Dark Ages" (2005), "Conquer" (2008), "Omen" (2010), "Enslaved" (2012), "Savages" (2013), "Archangel" (2015) and "Ritual" (2018). In 2007, Rizzo became a member of CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, the side project of SEPULTURA co-founders, brothers Max and Igor Cavalera, and has performed on all CAVALERA CONSPIRACY releases including "Inflikted", "Blunt Force Trauma", "Pandemonium" and the critically acclaimed 2017 LP "Psychosis".
Rizzo was originally a member of New Jersey Latin metal favorites ILL NIÑO, appearing on their classic 2001 Roadrunner release "Revolution Revolucion" and the 2003 follow-up "Confession".