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Dream Jobs: So You Want To Be A Manager? Meet Gloria Cavalera

Gloria Cavalera, legendary artist manager and the strong woman who stands alongside iconic and beloved musician Max Cavalera (Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy, Nailbomb, Sepultura) was gracious enough to share her story with The Void, and also impart some wisdom to young managers starting out.

You’re best known as the partner and manager of legendary musician Max Cavalera. How did you guys meet? What struck you as special about him when you first met?
Max and I met in 1989 at the Ritz in NYC. It was Halloween night, and a band I managed called Sacred Reich was supporting King Diamond. Sepultura was added as one of the openers. I really noticed the band as a whole. I could not tell Max and Igor apart!! Along with being a King Diamond Halloween event, it was a showcase for managers to pick up Sepultura. As fate would have it, I was the only manager interested in them, when the show was over.

What’s it like living and breathing rock and roll as a family?
Our lifestyle is a bit alternative of the norm. At the same time, it’s all normal for us. Metal is a lifestyle. It’s freedom.

What has it been like seeing your children develop as musicians?
Our children’s musical direction came on their own. I have a favourite story about Zyon … his first word was a beat! At around three months old, he began this “do do dah” chant. We thought it was a riff but as Zyon grew older, we realised it was a beat. Richie has been singing since he was on the cover of the Atrophy album, Violent By Nature. He was 4 years old and signing autographs. He was 8 when he appeared on Nailbomb’s Point Blank and 10 years old when he sang Bleed with Fred Durst on Ozzfest. Igor has been a bookworm and musician since he could walk. He can play guitar, bass and drums. Max and I always joked and dreamt about them playing in bands but we never steered them in that direction. It was natural evolution in a sense.

Which other bands are you currently managing?
I manage Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy, Incite and Lody Kong. I co-manage Killer Be Killed, with Ryan Downey and Nick John. We have a great team!

How many countries/cities do you see in an average year?
I see so many cities, it’s all a whirl! We go to at least 200 cities a year and often, quite a lot more.

Why did you want to be an artist manager? How did you get into it?

I never really wanted to be an artist manager. I knew Jason Rainey, because he hung out in my club.. The first time his band, Sacred Reich, played, was in my club called The Bootlegger’s. I developed a strong friendship with Jason and one day I just asked him if he wanted me to manage them.

What do you think are the personal qualities a great manager requires?
A manager needs logic, faith, imagination and good work ethics. It is a 24/7 job and you must accept it.

How much has managing an artist changed over the years for you?
A manager has to flow like a river through the ages. You must accept new trends while keeping the morals of the business. There are standards that people don’t discuss. How to treat others, show production, respect.

How important is creating and supporting a fan community, really serving the tribe? What have been the most inspiring things you’ve heard from your artists’ fan community?
The fans are the most important. Our Tribe is a unit and we have each other’s back in many ways. Our love of music, our metal lifestyles, our Max. My kids tell me I am nuts to reply to every message I get, but I do. It’s our Tribe. They are important. I hear how Max’s lyrics have changed their lives. People go to retreats in the backwoods with Max’s instrumentals on their music list. It is inspirational and gives us our purpose besides only entertaining people.

In your opinion, what is the best first question a rookie manager should ask on their first day? What is the worst thing you could do on your first day?
A rookie manager would have too many questions on the first day! Trust and sincerity to continue against all odds is a good starting point. Worrying about money the first day is something I never did. I develop bands from nothing, which most managers don’t want to do. Many only want established bands so they can make income immediately. I never did that. I worked for Sepultura for free for one year just to see if I would get along with them. I kept it about music.

What are the three most important lessons you’ve learned on tour?
Keep the bus door locked. Watch your moolah. Follow your common sense.

What’s been your best “pinch yourself” moment so far?
Pinch myself? Touring with Ozzy, and meeting Sharon … playing with Peter Gabriel, supporting David Bowie, meeting Robert Plant and getting a discussion on drumming from Bill Ward … all memorable.

What’s been the most unintentionally hilarious day so far? Have you ever had to pull off crazy pranks?
We have had many crazy days … buses breaking, SWAT teams searching us, drunken and disorderly … Russia gave us many funny stories traveling on the trains!! We stopped the pranking when Max graduated to Soulfly.

What are your touring essentials?
I always joke that I carry a tree trunk … I have so much paperwork!! My phone is a must. My big purse which Max bought me is so stuffed it’s misshapen! My Russian religious items, pen and Sharpie, lipstick. Zovirax, laptop, my ancient phone book to mail postcards to my friends and family, my asthma spray and photos of my family … these go everywhere I do.

What’s your ultimate goal? Has it already happened?
My ultimate goal was reached about 4 years ago when the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame asked me for Max’s guitar and another item. I gave them the notebook that Max first ever wrote the word Sepultura and it has Portuguese lyrics too! He went by the name of Massi … before Max existed. Next my dream is to take him to the Middle East as he is beloved there.

Who are your favourite musicians to watch from side of stage?
It was Nailbomb.

What are the benefits to working on the band’s team rather than playing in the band?
I don’t play any instruments and never really wanted to go on the stage. I think I only have been on the side. I don’t need much attention. For me, it’s perfect being on the team and not out front.

What’s the biggest misconception in your opinion about the touring lifestyle?
The biggest misconception is that it is glamorous and that people are partying and hedonistic all day long, every day.

Is it hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle on the road?
It isn’t hard for me. I eat real food, never been a fast food addict or Coca Cola guzzler. I don’t sleep much is what my vice would be!

What’s the hardest part of the job, in your opinion?
The hardest part of my job is dealing with divas or dumbasses!

What’s the best part of the job? What makes you love the road life?
I love travelling, world politics, history and meeting people. Theses are my benefits.

How important is the phrase “what happens on tour, stays on tour”?
This is most important as it is imperative to give people privacy.

You have travelled pretty extensively, what have been your favourite cities, venues or festivals? Where are the crowds that give you goosebumps?
Because of my Russian heritage, I love Russia and Serbia. I trace my roots as a hobby and also to tell my children their ancestry.

How do you think the crew side of things has changed over the years you’ve been in the game?
Crews are a breed of their own. They are all driven and a bit crazy! They are the glue!

Who’s your favourite Australian band right now?
King Parrot.

For a young aspiring Australian band manager (or a fan dreaming of being a tour manager) what would you recommend they do first? Is it best to start working for or selling merch for local bands or try and head overseas?
I suggest finding a small local act and developing them. It is the best education you can get. If you are lucky, you can intern for a manager. You must believe in yourself and your artist.

What’s a good entry level gig to prove yourself before becoming a manager?
I would say concert production, interning, merch selling or assistant to a manager is good.

Please share a link to three music videos on YouTube that you reckon are amazing.
My wifi sucks but 3 song that are amazing videos are Some Pulp by Lody Kong, Carved Inside by Soulfly and the Nailbomb Dynamo Festival set in its entirety. I am sorry I don’t have the time to pull up the links while my computer circle pits! I am in the bus. One of the things we deal with on tour, haha!



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