Upon his exit from Sepultura in late 1996, singer/guitarist/songwriter Max Cavalera almost automatically set out to form his next musical endeavor, the ultra-heavy Soulfly. Besides leaving one of the most popular heavy metal bands in the world, which he'd co-founded in the early '80s, he also had to deal with the unsolved murder of Dana Wells, his stepson and best friend. Using music as therapy to overcome his depression, Cavalera put together a band that included Roy "Rata" Mayorga on drums (ex-Thorn) and Jackson Bandeira on second guitar (ex-Chico Science), while former Sepultura roadie Marcello D. Rapp rounded out the quartet on bass. Their self-titled debut album was released in the spring of 1998. Besides fronting Soulfly, Cavalera has branched out into other areas usually not associated with heavy metal musicians. He became a much sought-after speaker at music conventions, as evidenced by his appearances at CMJ's New Music Marathon in New York and Holland's Crossing Border Festival, both in late 1997. He also guested on Deftones' breakthrough album, Around the Fur, and signed on to sing a TV commercial for Sprite in his native land of Brazil.