Matt Sorum can light up a set of drums like a fourth of July sky. The American drummer and percussionist has played for some herculean bands – a seven year stint in Guns N’ Roses (1990–1997), supergroup Velvet Revolver (2002–present) and presently Kings of Chaos – a band that comprises of a bevy of rock beasts and then some… and then some more. Sorum is living the dream – interview below.
What song (that you worked on) are you most proud of and why?
Slither by Velvet Revolver .We worked very hard for two years putting that band and album together. That song was actually recorded twice because it didn’t sound right the first time. It’s like it was calling out to be given the most attention and I couldn’t sleep thinking about it.
Once we finally got it mixed we all looked at each other and knew we had something. When the Grammys announced we had 3 nominations and received Best Rock performance for Slither, that was the icing on the cake.
Who are your main influences?
I loved Sabbath and Deep Purple as a kid, but listened to all kinds of music – Progressive rock, King Crimson, Genesis and dabbled in Southern as well, Allman Bros.
What was the defining moment of your career?
The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame induction – behind the scenes it hasn’t always been an easy ride so getting recognition in that light is incredible.
When did you realise you could do this as a full time career?
After Guns N’ Roses I have had this incredible gift of being in a band that has opened so many other doors. I’ve done film scores, TV and many other projects based on my resume and reputation.
What has been the craziest thing that you witnessed while on stage?
Had to be the St Louis Riot with GNR.Watching the crowd turn into a mob and then destroy the stage and venue (that was scary to say the least).
Many people are of the view that contemporary rock lacks authenticity. Is this view justified?
Well I think Rock has a tradition and a large percentage is blues based and roots if you will. From the Stones to Sabbath it was based around the Blues.
It seems that modern rock in some situations has watered down the magic of live performance and the power of Rock N Roll. I think the human element is what people felt in the music. Computers haven’t been the best thing for Rock. And maybe younger musicians need to go back and study the greats.
What are you looking most forward to in terms of the Kings of Chaos Tour?
Playing with my heroes and friends.
What is the hardest part about being a rock star?
Keeping up with all the parties.
Which Chaos artist are you most looking forward to performing with?
Robin Zander , Billy Gibbons and Steven Tyler. These guys are amazing.
If you could put your own supergroup together, who would it comprise off?
Already have, this is the greatest rock band I can think of.
Sorum returns with Kings of Chaos to South Africa at the end of November. Full details here.