In a new interview with A&P Reacts, SEPULTURA guitarist Andreas Kisser was asked if anything has changed within him, professionally or personally, as a result of the pandemic that's going to be completely different for him going forward. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Basically, a lot of stuff. I changed a lot, and I think for the better. I quit alcohol right before the pandemic hit. It's a year and a half almost now that I don't drink alcohol. It was one of the best decisions I made in my life. Not that I was a fucking out-of-control alcoholic, but alcohol was a part of my life, of everything I did. In certain degrees less and more, but it was there. It was taking control of my life, of my choices, of how I dealt with people or with a special occasion or something. Alcohol was involved in everything. And I don't need that. And I proved now that I don't, because I'm having a better life. I'm doing exercises. I have the routine I never had touring."
He continued: "[When you are on the road], every time you're in a different place, in a different time period. Or you go to a bathroom and you don't shower and you have to travel, et cetera. That was our life. And with the pandemic, I had finally a routine. I kind of complained before because I couldn't do exercises, I couldn't have my diet, I couldn't study classical guitar. Now I have all that, and I appreciate that a lot.
"The stuff that I have with my wife and my kids, that I'm never home [when SEPULTURA is in the middle of an album cycle], I'm always here now. It was a difficult time, but we recreated ourselves kind of. We are a better family now — a much better family now. And that's very special. And I have to be thankful for that somehow, that I was able really to make the best out of something so terrible."
According to Kisser, "it was very easy" for him to give up the bottle. "Once you have a clear idea in your mind, there's no discussion," he explained. "I didn't put the responsibility on a saint or, let's say, in a church, or 'I will stop for a year' or 'I promise you, my wife, I don't drink anymore.' No. It's not for them. It's a very personal attitude. It's me with me — not more. I don't have to put the responsibility away from myself, in a time period or in a certain religious belief or my family. They don't deserve that. This is my problem, and I resolve it with myself. So I'm in peace with myself with that. It's not something that bothers me. I can be around alcohol, I can be around parties, I can be around backstage, as I did with my KISSER CLAN band here and stuff. People drink around [me], [and] I don't care. I don't even feel the wish to drink, which is great. So I don't have a battle, let's put it that way. I'm not running away from anything. I just decided to stop. That's it."
Kisser is not the only member of SEPULTURA's classic lineup to have gotten sober. Back in 2016, former SEPULTURA frontman Max Cavalera told Metal Insider that he had been "straight edge" at that point for a decade. "I was kind of a mess 10 years ago, drinking and doing a lot of drugs, and it was affecting some of my touring," he stated at the time. "I'm a very extreme guy, so when I do something, I do it all the way. I quit drinking and doing drugs entirely, and when I did it, I realized my passion for metal grew even more. I became more into metal, into new bands and stuff."
Cavalera reflected on his 16-year battle with drug and alcohol addiction in a 2016 interview with Metal Hammer. He told the magazine that he became hooked on prescription drugs not long after his father's death. "I was taking too many of them on a daily basis and then drinking on top of it," he said. "It's a lethal combination, and then I added sleep medicines on top of all that.
"It's a miracle I am still alive.
"There's a lot of pressure that comes with fame. Record label pressure, fans pressure, and we don’t have a manual or a guide to surviving this shit."
Max continued: "I think for some musicians the pressure of fame gets to them. For me, it started with the death of my father. I became very sad and drinking was one way to deal with my sadness. The drugs — I just liked them. I liked the buzz of a painkiller. The energy it gave me."
Last year, SEPULTURA launched "SepulQuarta", a weekly event where the band gave insight into its colorful history, took part in question-and-answer sessions with fans and performed music while in quarantine. Some of the musical collaborations, including those with members of MEGADETH, TESTAMENT, ANTHRAX, SYSTEM OF A DOWN, TRIVIUM and SACRED REICH, will be released as a full-length album, also titled "SepulQuarta", on August 13.