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APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
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2021.08.26 - Desert Sun - Matt Sorum Reflects From A Place Of Gratitude In Palm Springs

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2021.08.26 - Desert Sun - Matt Sorum Reflects From A Place Of Gratitude In Palm Springs Empty 2021.08.26 - Desert Sun - Matt Sorum Reflects From A Place Of Gratitude In Palm Springs

Post by Blackstar Sat Aug 28, 2021 2:17 am

Former Guns N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum reflects from a place of gratitude in Palm Springs

By Brian Blueskye
Palm Springs Desert Sun


While sitting at a table at Mr. Lyon’s in Palm Springs, former Guns N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum says there was a time the word "gratitude" wasn't in his vocabulary – even while the band saw massive success after the 1991 releases of the “Use Your Illusion” albums and headlining stadiums.

Today, the 60-year-old has plenty of things to feel appreciation for, such as surviving the “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll” cliché, his career, living in Palm Springs with his wife, Ace Harper, and the birth of his daughter, Lou Ellington Sorum, in June.

"I was getting to the point where I was 56 and looking at people going by with baby strollers going 'Aw, a baby,'" Sorum said. "Not that my clock was ticking, but then (Harper's) clock started ticking. At 36, she says 'Let's have a baby.' We made the decision to have a kid and when we found out it was a little girl, it was perfect."

Sorum, who said he's the “storyteller guy at parties” and was often told he should write a book, will release his biography “Double Talkin’ Jive” on Sept. 7. He offers fans a behind-the-scenes look of his experiences playing drums in The Cult, his time in Guns N’ Roses before being fired in 1997, playing in Velvet Revolver and the Hollywood Vampires, and overcoming an addiction to drugs and alcohol. He's candid about his experiences and what happens when the debauchery and partying is over.

This isn't his first attempt at writing a book. He had tried twice before, but then met co-writers Leif Eriksson and Martin Svensson and decided to try again after moving to Palm Springs with his wife in 2017. The process involved Sorum telling his life story over eight four-day sessions.

“It’s crazy when you write a book, because you start telling one story and all these other stories tend to flow. I’m like ‘Rain Man,’ I can remember room numbers from 1989,” Sorum said.

When asked if he felt uncomfortable about revealing details of the dark periods of his life, Sorum said “everyone has ups and downs.

“There's relationships, breakups, drug addiction, alcoholism – I did all of that. Maybe some of this journey and the story that I tell helps somebody else or understand more about who I am and why I bang on drums."

Not all of it was easy. Sorum shares the tragic story of his childhood and his abusive stepfather, which he said took a lot of "internal work" to arrive at a place where he feels grateful instead of resentful.

"As a kid, you want to be able to say, 'Oh, This is the person that's protecting me,' but it doesn't always end up that way," Sorum said. "But that drove me to be who I am, it made me go out on my own and rock, go to Hollywood and be this rebellious rock 'n' roll kid. If I would have had a really perfect upbringing I might not have done anything."

He joined Guns N' Roses at a pivotal moment

Before going to Hollywood, Sorum played in the jazz band, marching band and wind ensemble at Mission Viejo High School. He also started a band known as "Prophecy" playing The Starwood, a nightclub in West Hollywood. After that, he played in Y Kant Tori Read, a project fronted by singer-songwriter Tori Amos. In 1989, he joined the British rock band The Cult.

While Guns N' Roses was recording the "Use Your Illusion" albums, drummer Steven Adler struggled with addiction and had only recorded on the song "Civil War." Guitarist Slash attended a concert by The Cult and called Sorum asking if he'd play as a substitute on the album.

"They sat me down at one point and offered me the job because Steven wasn't able to come back, he was struggling and they needed to get going," Sorum said. "It had been four years after (the previous album) 'Appetite for Destruction' came out."

Both volumes of the record were released on Sept. 17, 1991. According to The New York Times, both volumes of the record were highly anticipated by fans and sold 500,000 copies nationwide in the first two hours. The material was a shift from their edgier and more rock-focused debut.

Many of the songs broke new artistic ground, were longer in length and frontman Axl Rose incorporated the piano on songs such as "November Rain" and "Yesterdays." The music videos made in support of the album had production costs into the millions.

"It was crazy," Sorum said. "I don't think any artist could get away with what we got away with, unless you're Beyoncé."

Guns N' Roses also had competition with the metal band Metallica, who also put out a highly anticipated release of "The Black Album" around the same time. The Cult toured with Metallica in the late '80s on its "Damaged Justice" tour, and Sorum said there was one thing missing in the audience: Girls.

"Girls can't dance to Metallica's 'And Justice For All,'" Sorum said. "Girls need to like the music, too. Bands like Def Leppard have an audience that's 90% girls. When I went to see Metallica in the old days, it was 99% guys. When they made (the "Black album"), the rest is history and they're still here."

Still, the two bands embarked on a stadium tour together in 1992 as part of a three-year touring cycle of 194 shows in 27 countries.

"Axl's intention was to rule the world and wasn't afraid to say it. Then (Metallica drummer) Lars Ulrich came along and he wanted to rule the world," Sorum said. "We were like, 'You're going to have to open for us because we rule the world.' They were very competitive with us."

But Guns N' Roses was coming apart behind the scenes as more money rolled in and members spent their days off working on music videos. Some of the group's concerts were a disaster or ended in riots due to Axl Rose's on-stage behavior. Bassist Duff McKagan, Slash and Sorum were also in the throes of drug and alcohol addiction.

"I never considered myself a raging alcoholic because I'm like, 'Look at those guys, they're worse than me. I'm not an alcoholic, I only drink after the show," Sorum said. "I felt like (the drugs and alcohol) had to be done. Then at the end of it, you're wiped out, burnt out, you come home from a big tour and you're like, 'Oh God, what do I do now? I can't stop drinking and I'm an alcoholic."

Aside from addiction issues, the other members weren't aligned to Axl Rose's vision and couldn't resolve internal issues. Sorum said "bad decisions are made when people are inebriated."

In 1993, McKagan released a solo album featuring collaborations with Lenny Kravitz, Jeff Beck and Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach. Slash started a band called Slash's Snakepit and appeared at the MTV Music Awards in 1995 playing with Michael Jackson, which Sorum said Rose interpreted as Jackson trying to capitalize on the Guns N' Roses audience.

"(Rose) didn't like the guys going out and recording solo records. He wanted everyone to be focused on Guns N' Roses," Sorum said. "If you look at Metallica, they've never made solo records. The guys in U2 never made solo records. The Rolling Stones have, but they never do very well so they always get back to being in the Stones."

In 1996, Slash was out of the band, McKagan and Sorum a year later. The Cult, which broke up in 1995, reunited in 1999 and recruited Sorum back into the band for a new album and tour before dissolving again in 2002.

'Thank you, Axl Rose.'

The former members of Guns N' Roses still had desire to play music together, even though Rose replaced them with new members and continued to record and tour. In 2002, McKagan, Slash and Sorum joined forces with guitarist Dave Kushner and began looking for a frontman. Scott Weiland, who had just been fired by Stone Temple Pilots, was hired and they became Velvet Revolver.

Sorum described Weiland as "flamboyant, cool and a good dresser." But many of the same problems over money and direction started to surface again after the success of the band's 2004 album "Contraband." Sobriety issues flared among the members, including Weiland, whose battle with heroin addiction and mental illness is well-documented.

After the release of the second album "Libertad" in 2007, they fired Weiland and dissolved. In 2012, the group reunited for a one-off performance at a benefit concert at the House of Blues in Los Angeles for composer and music supervisor John O'Brien. Weiland died in 2015 of an accidental drug overdose.

Sorum went on to play in several projects, including a band called Camp Freddy with Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro and Weiland before dissolving in 2014 and played with the Hollywood Vampires with Alice Cooper, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry and actor Johnny Depp. He also filled in for Motorhead drummer Mikkey Dee on the band's 2009 tour, which he described as "intense"

"I said to my wife, 'I'm going out on tour with Motorhead' and she said, 'Have fun," Sorum said. "I came home and had grown a beard, my hair was long and I don't think I bathed because I wanted to feel like a part of the band. Image wise, I let myself get into it and I was scrubby."

Before meeting Harper, he described himself as someone who struggled with relationships for many years because of his upbringing and credits her for making him "get it together." The couple married in 2013 in Palm Springs at the Colony Palms Hotel and Bungalows and fell in love with the area.

Their move to Palm Springs reflects many other changes in his life, including his newfound spirituality. He doesn't go to a particular church and describes his beliefs in a higher power as "trusting in the higher intelligence, but I prefer to call it 'God."

"I was playing on the wrong team," Sorum said. "It was like 'I'm here for myself and I'm going to party.' I wasn't connected to any sort of understanding. I'm really blessed and have a lot of gratitude for everything that happens in my life."

In 2016, Slash and McKagan reunited with Rose and some new members of Guns N' Roses. Sorum didn't return to the band, but said he's "thankful" for the time he spent in the band.

"When I get upgraded to a better suite at a hotel because the guy behind the register says, 'Hey, aren't you the guy from Guns N' Roses? I'm gonna upgrade you' I say 'Thank you, Axl Rose.' That's the blessing of my life and I thank God for that and and he put me there. I know it's hard for rock 'n' rollers to divulge that kind of information, but I'm at the age now where I don't care."

https://www.desertsun.com/story/life/2021/08/26/former-guns-n-roses-drummer-matt-sorum-release-debut-book-sept-7/7880478002/
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