SOULFLY's MAX CAVALERA: 'I'm A Complete Riff Freak' recently conducted an in-depth interview with SOULFLY vocalist/guitarist Max Cavalera. Several excerpts follow: What prompted you to start exclusively playing a four-string guitar?

Max Cavalera: "I don't do leads, ya know? More than ten years ago, when those strings broke, a friend of mine said 'Don't replace them, you don't use them anyway. You are just going to be spending money for nothing. Save the money and buy some beer.' I was like 'OK, cool,' and I never put them back. Over the years, it's become a trademark that I thought was kinda cool. It's something that's different about how I do things. The guys that make the guitars that I work with, they must think that I am crazy when their bosses tell them not to put the other two strings on because I don't use them. I can only imagine... They are probably saying 'What the fuck is wrong with this guy?' (laughs). I am a completely rhythm player... all I do is riffs. Working with so many great guitar players, there is so much talent for playing the guitar, it convinces me further to keep the other strings off." In your opinion, how has playing with only four strings changed your overall sound?

Max Cavalera: "I think it’s changed it in a sense that it's made me a complete riff freak, ya know? Everything that I do when I am writing a song is riff-orientated, which is the foundation of my sound. I love (BLACK SABBATH guitarist) Tony Iommi...his style of playing...he does leads as well, of course, but his riffs, the solid rhythm section that he helps create, that is where I really base my style on, being as solid of a riff player as I can be. Instead of being a player who plays riffs and does a little bit of leads, I say 'Fuck that!' and just stay completely obsessed with riffs. On every album, I try to play better, more solid, kick-ass riffs as much as possible, ya know?" At least you have a goal in mind...

Max Cavalera: "Once you become obsessed with something like I am with riffs, you also become more critical. You realize that not every riff you write is going to make it onto the record. Some riffs that are actually pretty good, I'll end up taking them off of the record because I don't feel they are good enough, ya know? It gets everybody motivated...I've noticed that when I am in the studio with the SOULFLY guys, if I bring in a really cool riff, everyone will be like 'Wow, that is a really kick-ass riff. Let's start working on that right now.' It's a really big motivator to have some of the riffs be that strong right motivates everybody, the drummer, the bass player...I think that is works for music."

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