Sepultura are a metal institution. For the last 20 years, this band from Brazil has sold out shows across the globe by providing the masses with a sinful mix of metal, hardcore, thrash, punk, and tribal music. The band only intensified with the addition of vocalist Derrick Green in 1998. Derrick not only brought to the Sepultura table a voice that could crush glass—he also was armed with veggies.
You see, Derrick is a longtime vegetarian, and he’s not afraid to make a statement with his beliefs. You can see his influence in Sepultura’s new music video for “Convicted in Life,” which shows how actions in life can come back to haunt you. The video depicts pig slaughterers who become pigs and chicken harvesters who get their brains eaten by hens. It also includes real footage of animal abuse. Check out this graphic video for yourself, and then scroll down to read our exclusive interview with Derrick.
How long have you been a vegetarian?
For 23 years.
Oh, wow. What prompted you to go vegetarian?
I have a lot of friends that were from New York that were working in various health-food stores, and they gave me the names of different books to check out on animal rights. It was something that I just really wanted to test out. I had always eaten meat my entire life, and I never questioned it until that time in my life when I started questioning a lot of things. I experimented with not eating meat. And then after a while, I didn’t have the desire to eat it anymore. I just opened my mind to it and just stayed with it.
That’s great. What books influenced you the most?
There was one book, Diet for a New America, and then a book by Upton Sinclair called The Jungle. Those are the two books that really opened up my eyes to want to stop eating meat. Just the description of the actual slaughterhouse, the lack of concern for the people working there, and the way they described, like, the floor—sort of a factory of death.
Yeah—a lot of people don’t see that side of the industry.
Right. Our new video, “Convicted in Life,” shows a bit of what is happening in the industry. You are what you eat. Like a karma thing: What you do in your life may affect you in the afterlife. The video kind of follows that. In the video there are scenes taken from a DVD, “Meat Is Weak,” that I watched about the meat industry in Brazil. It was extremely shocking to me, because everyone always talks about how clean meat is and blah, blah, blah and how the industry here is great. So it was pretty eye-opening. We were fortunate enough to be able to get in contact with the people that did the documentary, and they gave us permission to use some of the images from it.
I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit more about how you guys came up with the concept for the “Convicted in Life” video.
A lot came from “Meat Is Weak” and also from the book The Divine Comedy. The idea for the video is that what happens on Earth can affect you in the afterlife. I think it really captured a vibe of hell. And that’s what the song “Convicted in Life” is supposed to be—hell.
How do you hope that people will react after they’ve watched it?
I hope after they see it, they wanna see it again and again and again, because there are so many different things going on in it. I think any reaction, in general, is great, whether it be negative or positive. We’ve already gotten some really good reactions so far.
The metal scene isn’t generally a scene that’s associated with animal rights, so I was wondering: Why do you think your fans should be interested in vegetarianism or animal rights?
I think animal rights is important because you can really tell how civilized a society is by the way that it treats its animals—everything is connected. And that compassion is very important. I mean, even at a young age, it’s important to learn to have compassion for other things, especially living organisms. You have to have compassion for animals, because they’re a part of us as well. So it’s really important to have that respect and knowledge about other animals and other people as well.
What do you think about KFC and about fast-food places in general, and what do you think that people can do to help?
The major problem I have is that it’s so filthy. It’s just so mass-produced that it is impossible to be clean. As far as being healthy for you, I think it’s important for people to realize that this is an animal that just stays in this one isolated, filthy area. There needs to be more public awareness.
What do you think about animal experimentation?
It’s a pretty intense subject. I think it’s disgusting when they use it for consumer products—for beauty products and things like that. It’s totally outrageous. I think it’s not even for the betterment of humanity.
You’ve been vegetarian for a really long time, and I was wondering if you think that it’s become easier over the years to be a vegetarian.
Definitely. There are a lot more companies creating products that are health-conscious and really geared for vegetarians than there were before. Even living in Brazil I’ve been able to eat pretty well and actually lose weight—in a good way because a lot of things don’t have the chemicals or the preservatives; you know, it’s all very natural. There’s definitely more variety. There’s even vegetarian stuff in supermarkets here in Brazil. So it’s incredible!
Do you have any advice for somebody who is thinking about going vegetarian?
I would definitely say to do as much reading as possible and to find out what your body needs, as far as experimenting with different types of vegetarian cuisine from different parts of the world. Try to find a balance, because a lot of people can go overboard with eating a lot of crappy food and just not getting the energy or the protein that they need.
Just pass “Convicted in Life” on to everyone you know on Facebook and Twitter, and you will make animals’ day (and peta2’s day too!).