“It was a really weird time for me. It was my first album since leaving Sepultura [in 1996] and the first album after the death of my stepson, Dana [Wells, who was killed in a car accident two years earlier].
“The first thing I did after that was work with Deftones, who were friends of Dana. They were there at his funeral – Chino [Moreno, frontman] was actually one of the pallbearers. They invited me to sing the song ‘Headup on Around The Fur,’ and that is when I came up with the word ‘Soulfly’ [‘Soulfly / Fly high / Soulfly / Fly free’].
“It all just started from there. I put the first Soulfly album together pretty quickly; I had demos like ‘Eye for an Eye’ and ‘No Hope = No Fear,’ but while we were in the studio I felt that I needed to pay more respects to Dana.
“So, I thought of ‘Bleed,’ because that was how we were all feeling. We were all still suffering, still bleeding, from his death.”
“It was built on this really cool groove, but it was the lyrics that made it really heavy. Lyrics like, ‘See a mother cry, see a brother cry’… that’s the s**t that went on in my house.
“I would walk around and see Gloria [Cavalera, Max’s wife] crying and I would see the kids crying. It was f**king a rough time, man. I had to put it into the song…
“And then I started thinking about the way that he died. I wrote, ‘What goes around comes around, you better realize, you kill life, you kill life, why, why’ – it was a really pissed-off and angry song, man.”
“Six months before, I was angry about Dana, angry about Sepultura. I’d been living in a dark room, drinking and taking drugs and I was done with music.
“My heart was too broken to think about it – I just told everyone to f**k off, and that I just wanted to get drunk. If it wasn’t for Deftones, I don’t know what I would have done.
“It was tough and hard to make, but it was a great catharsis and a great therapy for me.”
“I hadn’t played it for a while and we brought it back on this tour. And people went crazy for it. I still love to play it.
“I love all of my songs, but ‘Bleed’ is special to me because of what it means, and because it was the song that showed everyone that I could do this on my own… and I include myself in that.
“If that album had failed, I don’t think I’d be here talking to you now. It was the first step on the journey to where I am now.”
Watch “Bleed” official video here: