How the world looks like from the top? Blurry. It was a wild time, we were one big rolling party. There was a lot of celebration going on and we were living the life.”
Wikimetal: Hello, Matt!
Matt Sorum: Hello, how are you?
W: Good, how are you?
MS: What’s happening, Wikimetal?
W: We are very happy to have you on our show, thank you so much for your time, first of all.
MS: You got it, man, no worries.
W: So, just to let you know, Wikimetal is the number one heavy metal and hard rock podcast in Brazil. Let me ask you, about the beginning of your career, when did you decide to become a drummer and who were your main influences?
MS: Well, I was a little boy and I saw a band on TV called “The Beatles”. So I said to my mom “Mom, I want to be the drummer, like Ringo.” And that was it, I saw Ringo Starr and wanted to be a drummer, than I got into Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath and Deep Purple – one of my favorite bands was Deep Purple – and I moved to Hollywood right out of High school and I started playing in bands up here. Probably the first big band I joined was The Cult in the late 80s. And in 1990 I joined Guns N’ Roses. And I went back with The Cult for one tour in which we actually came down to South America in 2000, 2001, with me on drums. And then formed Velvet Revolver in 2004. I came down to South America in 2007 with Velvet Revolver.
W: Any memories you’d like to share with our listeners about the Sonic Temple tour with The Cult? I really love that album, how was the tour?
MS: That was my first big tour. You know, I was just new to the big arena, playing big stadiums. My first part of the Sonic Temple Tour was opening for Metallica in the United States and Canada. And I got to be friends with Metallica, I am still really good friends with those guys, after 20 years. We toured all over the world. You know, it was just an amazing time for me. If Guns N’ Roses hadn’t come along I would have stayed with The Cult, but the good news is I am coming down there with Rock N’ Roll All Stars and Billy Duffy from the Cult is going to join me, so it should be really cool, we are going to do a couple Cult songs on stage and we are going to do a little bit of all my bands: Velvet Revolver, Guns N’ Roses, The Cult, we are going to be playing a lot of good music.
W: I was going to ask you that later, but since you mentioned again, what can the Brazilian rock fans expect from this reunion? And how does it work, do you guys stay on stage all the time? Is there a change on the lineup, how does it work?
MS: Basically what will happen is: Duff McKagan will be playing base, I’ll be on drums, Guilby Clark on guitar and Steve Stevens will be our main lead guitar player, who is amazing he’s from Billy Idol’s band, he’s one of the greatest guitar players, I think, in the world. And he’ll be the lead. And then Sebastian Bach will come out and sing four or five songs with us, he’ll do some Guns N’ Roses songs, Skid Row, and then Glenn Hughes will come out on stage. At that point Mike Inez is going to come out on base, from Alice in Chains and Ozzy Osbourne. And we´re going to do a bunch of Deep Purple, and then, about that time, Mike is going to stay on base and Billy Duffy from The Cult is going to join us, and we’re going to do a couple Cult songs. And then Ed Roland from Collective Soul is going to come out, we’re going to do Billy Idol and Collective Soul. And then, about that time, Duff is going to come back out on base and we’re going to do some Def Leppard with Joe Elliot on vocals. So it’ll be a revolving stage, but we’ll keep moving, it’s going to be one big long show. Joe Elliot is going to come out, we’re going to do some Def Leppard, a couple of cool songs from Def Leppard, and then at that point Gene is going to come out, Gene Simmons, he’ll be there at the end of the show. Gene Simmons is going to come out and play base. Duff is going to be on guitar, Billy Duffy is going to be on guitar, we’re going to have all the singers up there, singing harmonies. So everyone will be out on stage at the end, we’re going to do four or five Kiss songs, and we’ll probably end the night with the big Guns N’ Roses anthem: “Paradise City”. “Rock N’ Roll all Night” and “Paradise City”. It will be amazing.
W: I’m very excited just to hear that, imagine to be there, it will be a memorable show. Have you guys played together before? Is this something that will happen often or is it just for the festival?
MS: I think this is going to be a once in a lifetime thing, I think that we’re going to do this tour in South America and, I don’t know, it’s so hard with everybody having their own bands, to get everybody together. This experience in South America is going to be a once in a lifetime thing. You know, Gene is going back to Kiss for two years, Joe’s got Def Leppard, we’re all working, so… This particular time I was able to get the timing right so everybody could go, so I really wish people to come check it out, because this is going to be probably the only time you will be able to see us all together like that.
W: Do you think that Guns N’ Roses can get together again? There are rumors that you guys will be playing at the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame, but I know that’s not going to happen. But do you think that’s possible to happen?
MS: I don’t know, I wish I knew. I get asked that asked that question every day.
W: I know, I’m sorry to ask you again, but I have to.
MS: I know you do, I just wish I had the answer. I’m just not the guy to give you the answer. If you asked Slash, Slash wouldn’t even know. The problem is they’re not talking to each other: Slash and Axl manly.
W: And how about you?
MS: I’m fine, I’ll do whatever. I’ll play with them, I’ll play with Slash, I don’t care. I’m happy to be in the band in the first place and I’m happy to be there for them. I’m going to be at the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame, I’m being inducted, so I’ll be ready, I’ll have my drumsticks in my back pocket. Steven Adler and Duff McKagan are going, so we’re all going to be there. We don’t know what’s happening yet, so we’ll see.
I was a little boy and I saw a band on TV called ‘The Beatles’. So I said ‘Mom, I want to be the drummer, like Ringo’.”
W: Changing the subject, Matt, we have a classic question on our show, one that we ask every single person we interview. Just imagine yourself maybe driving your car or in the shower listening to your ipod on shuffle mode, and a song comes up that you just can’t stop yourself from head banging, totally lose control, which song would that be so we can listen to it on our show right now?
MS: I would have to say probably “Running with the Devil”, by Van Halen.
W: “Running with the Devil”, that’s a great choice. This is “Running with the Devil”, on Wikimetal. Do you remember how was the invitation to join Guns N’ Roses?
MS: The invitation was… Slash and Duff came to see me play when I was in The Cult, in 1989 in Los Angeles and soon after that they called me and asked me if I wanted to come jam with the band, and after I jammed with the band we got along well, and they were happy with me playing drums and asked me if I wanted to join, so I said “of course”. And actually my first show was Rock in Rio in 1991, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
W: I was there, it was amazing.
MS: That was my first big show with the band and it was quite an experience. Looking back in retrospect, it was a wild time, man. Wild.
W: You always seemed to be a real easy going guy and down to earth kind of guy, how does it feel like to be in a band like Guns N’ Roses when they were at the top of the world? Could you give us some perspective of how the world looks like from the top?
MS: Blurry. It was a wild time, like I said, we were one big rolling party. There was a lot of celebration going on and we were living the life, you know. It was a decade of Rock N’ Roll bands and we were pretty crazy in those days, but we definitely enjoyed every minute of it. We had amazing experiences, everybody knows the history of it. I wouldn’t trade it for the world because it was crazy and it was, at times, turbulent, but in retrospect it doesn’t get any better than that. I can’t say that any other band in the world besides “The Rolling Stones” lived the way that we did.
W: I can imagine. Changing the subject again, how was the experience of playing with Motörhead?
MS: Well, that was… For me, playing with Motörhead was like botanical. I mean, to be in Motörhead, to be asked to play for Motörhead was a real honor. Lemmy is a good friend, we’ve become really close. The fact that he asked me was just an honor to me. There were plenty of drummers he could have asked, but the fact that he asked me was a great tribute and honor to me. From that experience, being able to go on the road with Motörhead was just classic. I asked Lemmy to come down on the road with Rock N’ Roll All Stars this time, but that band, Motörhead, they work all year round, they tour the world, so he was busy. But I love those guys. Great experience.
W: Do you agree that you are probably the main responsible for bringing Cherrie Curry from The Runways back to the rock scene? And how was the project of recording with her?
MS: It was great, man, we finished the record last year. Actually, right before I was talking to you, I was just meeting with the head of Black Hearts Records, Joan Jett’s record company, about putting the album out this year. So we’re trying to figure out when the best time is, because the record business is so tough, I want to make sure that Cherrie gets this record heard. It’s a really good record. Really cool organ sonic from Smashing Pumpkins and Slash played on it, Duff played on it, The Veronicas and Brody Dalle from The Distillers, there are a lot of really cool people in the album. So I want Cherrie to make sure that this album gets heard and that the record is properly presented to the world. I’m looking forward to getting it out, hopefully we’ll be getting it out by the summer, end of summer.
W: Have you finished recording it yet?
MS: Oh, yeah, it’s been done for a while. We mixed it, we haven’t mastered it, but we did mix it. We might pick some of the mixes and remaster it and get it out soon, I hope.
I’ll play with Slash, I don’t care. I’m happy to be in the band in the first place and I’m happy to be there for them. I’m going to be at the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame, I’m being inducted, so I’ll be ready, I’ll have my drumsticks in my back pocket. Steven Adler and Duff McKagan are going, so we’re all going to be there.”
W: In your opinion, what was the highlight of your career, if you could choose one?
MS: Well, this Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame is going to be the highlight. But I would say probably winning a Grammy, that was a big moment. As a musician it was a big honor to get a Grammy, that happened with Velvet Revolver. I’ve had a lot of big highlights, everything from Rock in Rio to the Live Aid Concert in Hyde Park to playing with Elton John, playing with Jeff Beck, playing with the guys from Queen. I played with so many great artists, Motörhead was a highlight. I’ve been so fortunate, I’ve had so many great experiences, a great career.
W: You sure did. It’s not only because you are lucky, but also because you are a great drummer and very professional. So you deserve all that. Can you choose a song that you feel really proud for having been a part of?
MS: A lot of people like “You could be mine”, by Guns N’ Roses. That intro is sort of representative of me as a drummer, that was my first single with Guns N’ Roses and it really kind of said to the world “here’s Matt, our new drummer, blablabla”. “Slither” was a big hit for us, Velvet Revolver won the Grammy for that, so that’s a great song for me. “November rain” is a big, big song. There are some really great songs on The Cult album “Beyond Good and Evil”, I really like a lot of that album.
W: You see, it’s not easy right, to choose one?
MS: Kind of tough to think about.
W: You’re right. Well let’s hear “You could be mine”, since you said it’s so special.
MS: Yeah, “You could be mine”, by Guns N’ Roses, coming at you!
W: How are you guys going to choose the set list for the Metal Open Air Festival? Are you guys getting together to rehearse or do you exchange e-mails? How do you choose the set list and how do you meet?
MS: Me and Gene Simmons talked about this a lot. Me and Gene said “let’s make this concert for the fans”, which Gene likes to call the fans his bosses – our bosses. And in a way, this is a fun thing for us because we’re able to play other bands that we’ve always liked, their songs. I’m going to be playing Def Leppard songs, Kiss songs, Deep Purple songs. We’re going to do obviously Cult and Guns N’ Roses, Skid Row songs. We are going to do Collective Soul. Duff McKagan is going to play guitar on Kiss, Def Leppard. So for all of us it’s fun, it’s going to be out of our usual band lineup. So it’s going to be a different interpretation of the songs. But we’re going to do the hits, we’re going to do the classics, we’re going to do a few covers, we’re going to throw a couple of interesting ones in there. We’re going to do big Guns N’ Roses songs, “Welcome to the Jungle”, “Paradise City”. We’re going to do songs that Gene sings from Kiss, he is going to do “Rock N’ Roll all Night”, we are going to do “Pour some sugar on me” and “Animal”, from Def Leppard. And “Fire Woman”, by The Cult, “Highway Star” by Deep Purple. It’s going to be amazing, the songs are amazing. It’s going to be a non-stop action hit after hit all night for two hours.
W: I can imagine, man. Every single song you’re saying is just indescribable. What would you say to a young kid who is just starting to play the drums and thinking of putting up a band?
MS: I’d say: go for it. Music is the greatest gift. If you have any talent at all, I say: don’t stifle it, just do it. If you enjoy it, and it makes you feel good, get out and play. It’s the greatest feeling in the world, you don’t have to do drugs, you don’t have to drink alcohol, you can just go play music and that’s your high. I say everybody should do it. Music is the greatest gift that we all have, we just listen to it and we all come together, it’s a universal language, it’s amazing.
W: Those are really nice words, Matt. I really appreciate it, and I think the listeners will love to hear that as well. So before we finish, let me just thank you so much for your time first of all. It’s been one of our best interviews ever and you’ve been really nice and I’m sure that all the Wikimetal listeners will love to hear your opinions and your thoughts. But before we finish, can you just leave a last message inviting all the heavy metal and hard rock fans to the Metal Open Air Festival and to see this great reunion that people just can’t miss?
MS: Yeah, hey Brazil, this is Matt Sorum from Rock N’ Roll All Stars and I want all you guys to come out to Metal Open Air Festival in Brazil, in São Luís, right?
W: São Luís, yeah, you’re right.
MS: São Luís. I want you guys all to come out, we’re going to have a rocking show, we’ve got an amazing line up: Gene Simmons from Kiss, Joe Elliot from Def Leppard, Duff McKagan, Dilby Clark from Guns N’ Roses, Billy Duffy from The Cult, Mike Inez from Alice in Chains, Ed Roland from Collective Soul, Sebastian Bach from Skid Row, Glenn Hughes from Deep Purple and Black Sabbath… Can it get any better? I don’t think so. So come rock n’ roll at the Metal Open Air Festival with us, we’ll see you there. Obrigado!
W: Obrigado! You’re right, Matt. You guys are going to melt in São Luís, I feel a bit sorry for you because it’s so damn hot over there, but it will be hot for the music, and it will be great. We’ll be there for sure. I really appreciated your interview, and everything you guys do, and you in particular, if you want to promote you can count on us anytime. Thank you so much!
MS: Thank you, Nando!