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Breaking the stereotype: Derrick Green the Metal Musician

Derrick Green is the lead singer of the groove/heavy metal band Sepultura. Green has been with the band since 1997 after the departure of the former lead singer Max Cavalera. He has recorded 11 albums with the band since joining them, the most recent being Quadra that was released this year. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Green is the youngest of three children; his sister Renée Green is an artist, writer, and filmmaker. Green's father, Friendly, an electrician, and mother, Gloria, a music teacher, moved the family from inner-city Cleveland to surbuban Shaker Heights when Green was 7. "This was my first live interaction with white people," Green later recalled. From an early age, Green knew he wanted to leave the United States and he lived in Berlin for a time before moving from New York to São Paulo.

Green became a friend and roadie of the already formed thrash metal/hardcore band Outface which was formed in 1985. He then joined the band in 1986 at the age of 15 after the departure of their two former singers. They recorded two demos, one in 1987 and the other in 1989. They were then offered a recording deal by a friend from New York, Walter Schreifels for a recording deal to record for his new sub label of Crisis Records for one studio album, Friendly Green, released in 1992. Stylistically, their music varied between rock, heavy metal and punk with ska elements. Green was credited as Simon Verde on the Outface release ("Green" is translated as "Verde" in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese). With this line-up they toured and played in many places on the east coast and the south of the United States and one tour in Europe.

In New York, Green and Garriga teamed up with drummer Sammy Siegler, bass player Eric Thrice who was replaced by Sara Cox, to form Overfiend. The band was named after the brutal Japanese animated film Legend of the Overfiend. They recorded a three-song demo with the help of Schreifels, the direction was much heavier with influences of metal and heavy rock. Their first show was played in Staten Island opening for Sick of It All. This would be their only show.

Green was approached to join Sepultura in 1997. Sepultura had recorded one song with no vocals to see what people all around the world could come up with. Green got a hold of the tape and he recorded his idea for the song "Choke" and sent it to Brazil. A month later he received a phone call from Sepultura's drummer, Igor Cavalera. He was then asked to fly down to São Paulo, Brazil to meet everyone and audition for the position. Green flew out a week later and met everyone and auditioned for two weeks. Green was asked to come back to Brazil to start recording his first album, Against, with Sepultura.

At the time there was a lot of controversy surrounding his appointment to the band, many long-term fans of Sepultura will still hung up on Max Cavalera being the lead singer and could move on to the idea that it was now Derrick Green.

In an interview recently with Loudwire in a discussion titled ‘How can metal be even more accepting’ with other BAME and important figures in the industry. AJ Channer from the band Fire From the Gods pointed out that "I do understand what people might mean, because you go to a show — especially here in the states — and you see people of all sorts of races, backgrounds, genders. It can seem like this is such a homogenous community where everyone loves each other, but then again it’s like Doc said, look at the comments on a God Forbid video, look at the comments on a Fire From the Gods video, look at the comments on a Sepultura videos when Derrick first took over I mean it was insane," Channer says.

Green also stated in the interview on the subject of racism in the industry that it can be hard to understand if it's not something that affects you directly.

"Unless you really experience it then it’s hard for you to really imagine it’s happening," he says. "But it’s consistently happening. It exists all around the world."

In 2011, when asked about his religious views, Green replied:

I think there is a connection that is missing between nature and people. We are connected. People cannot live without nature. And I feel this is something that is a very powerful inner phase, indisputable and very realistic. And it's in a sense a God in itself, this planet, it's something beautiful and very powerful and gives so much nourishment to its people and everything around us and I feel to be connected with that is something that we need to re-learn. So, for me, my religion is this planet and having that connection and trying my best to learn to deal with it.

Green speaks fluent Portuguese with a strong American accent. He lives in Carapicuíba São Paulo.

Green is a vegan. He has been a vegetarian since 1986. He made this publicly clear in a PETA video interview regarding Sepultura's 2006 video of the song "Convicted in Life". Derrick stated in the interview that the subject of this video is that some kind of "karma" is inflicted on those that damage the environment and its wildlife.

Green has enjoyed a long and varied music career and long may it continue.


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