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1991.07.23 - The Home News/Orange County Register - New 'Guns' Drummer Defends Axl Rose (Matt)

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1991.07.23 - The Home News/Orange County Register - New 'Guns' Drummer Defends Axl Rose (Matt)

Post by Blackstar on Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:15 am

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New ‘Guns’ drummer defends Axl Rose and band mates
 
By CARY DARLING
Orange County Register

 
Matt Sorum was just a little bit wary Here he was being offered the chance to join a band whose 1987 debut album, “Appetite for Destruction," sold more than 10 million copies — a group whose live performances as an opening act had sparked as much media coverage as headliners Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones — and he had doubts.
 
“I'd heard a lot of stories about everything, especially some of the inside stuff,” confessed Sorum, who joined Guns N’ Roses last year. “From musicians around LA, you get the nitty gritty. I didn’t know if it was still going on, with all the drugs and everything. I thought I might be walking into an opium den.”
 
Sorum, 30, had good reason to be concerned. The band that beckoned was Guns N’ Roses, a quintet that had appeared to be teetering on the edge of self-destruction since it was formed amid the rubble of the Hollywood hard rock circuit in the mid-'80s.
 
The band had become emblematic of a tougher and more down-to-earth LA hard rock scene, lead singer Axl Rose had snake-hipped his way onto MTV, and the raucous hit single “Welcome to the Jungle” had be­come a veritable Sunset Boulevard anthem.
 
Critical acclaim
 
Many critics said the group — which also includes guitarists Slash and Izzy Stradlin and bassist Duff McKagan — was the most exciting LA band since the Doors and pos­sessed the roughhouse electricity of early Rolling Stones. Doors expert Danny Sugerman, who wrote the Doors book “No One Here Gets Out Alive,” has published “Appetite for Destruction,” a book about Guns N’ Roses. But it wasn’t all Guns N’ glory.
 
Sorum, who was in the British band the Cult at the time, was being wooed to Guns N’ Roses because it was claimed the previous drummer, Steven Adler, refused to give up his drug habit. While opening for the Rolling Stones two years ago at the Los Angeles Coliseum, Rose an­nounced the breakup of the band be­cause he believed certain members were too deep into chemical depen­dency.
 
Bad boys
 
The group didn’t dissolve and it isn’t just the reputed drug use and the timeworn, “bad boy” rock ’n’ roll lifestyle that hangs over Guns N’ Ro­ses like a toxic vapor cloud. Rose sparked a media firestorm with “One in a Million,” a song that critics claimed was racist and bigoted, while the singer claimed he was only recounting how he felt when he ar­rived in cosmopolitan Hollywood from his native Indiana.
 
Last November, Rose was ac­cused of assault by a West Holly­wood neighbor, Gabriella Kantor. The matter was settled when Rose and Kantor entered an agreement stating they would stay away from each other.
 
All the while, the group was hav­ing trouble recording its long-awaited follow-up to “Appetite for Destruction.” Sessions in Chicago two summers ago ended in bad blood with Slash and McKagan re­portedly drinking up to a half-gallon of vodka daily. Rose left town angri­ly.
 
That’s why Sorum could be ex­cused for feeling trepidation. He might not have been looking to join the Brady Bunch, but neither did he want to become part of the Addams Family. But Sorum claims his fears proved unfounded. The career jolts of the past few years have shocked the band into shape, he says.
 
Making an effort 
 
“It really turned out to be a pro­fessional unit,” he said. “Everyone has pretty much got a lot of the ex­cessive living under control. Don’t get me wrong. We’re not turning around and saying we’re Aerosmith, that we don’t party anymore. But it’s not like before, where they were get­ting too deep into it and weren’t wor­rying about the music as much.”
 
So much material was recorded for the new album that it’s being is­sued in September as two separate releases, “Use Your Illusion, Vol. 1” and “Use Your Illusion, Vol. 2.” The group recently began its first arena­ headlining American tour. A new single, ‘You Could Be Mine’” is cur­rently in the Top 40.
 
‘Destruction’s’ wake
 
Sorum says the sudden stardom that came in the wake of “Destruc­tion” brought on much of the trou­ble. “That’s what had a lot to do with this album not coming out right away,” he said. “It was just the adjustment they had to make from being completely broke to being this mega-multimillion-dollar rock-star- type person. I saw the guys around town, and I saw how they changed and all of a sudden they were like walking VersaTeller machines.”
 
Still, the controversy hasn’t evapo­rated. Rose found himself plastered across headlines again July 3 when he jumped offstage during a show at the Riverport Amphitheatre in St Louis to take a camera away from a fan. (Cameras generally are forbid­den at concerts.) The band left the stage, prompting a riot, which is estimated to have caused $300,000 in damages.
 
Sorum maintains it wasn’t merely the presence of a camera that pro­voked Rose.
 
“What was happening was Axl was getting a lot of stuff tossed at him (from the audience) and it was really starting to (make him angry). The camera was just the tip of the iceberg. That was nothing,” Sorum said. “That was something he saw and he went to grab it just because of all the other (stuff) that was going on.”
 
He says the group was offstage for five minutes and wanted to return to finish the set, but by that time the venue had erupted into chaos.
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