Why I ❤️ Deep Purple's Burn, by Matt Sorum

Matt Sorum standing in front of the cover of Deep Purple's Burn
(Image credit: Matt Sorum: Ken Phillips Publicity Group)

Matt Sorum was born in Long Beach, California and, like many American musicians, it was an appearance by The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show that would change his life forever. 

“I saw Ringo, and he was sort of like this cartoon character,” Matt recalls. “I was just a little guy, but I remember going, ‘Oh man, that’s just the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!’ Some kids want to be a fireman or a train conductor. But for me, something clicked."

Later on he discovered Deep Purple, and that directed him on a path towards everything that followed: The Cult, Slash's Snakepit, Velvet Revolver, Guns N' Roses, Kings Of Chaos, Hollywood Vampires, the short-lived Deadland Ritual, and Billy S. Gibbons.

Below, he talks about that Deep Purple album. Matt’s autobiography, Double Talkin’ Jive: True Rock ‘n’ Roll Stories from the Drummer of Guns N’ Roses, The Cult, and Velvet Revolver, was published in 2022.


“I first got into records through my brother, and as a drummer the one that I kept listening to was Burn by Deep Purple. The drumming on that record really got me. 

"Growing up, the two drummers that shaped me were Bill Ward and Ian Paice. I’d seen both of them at the Long Beach Arena in the seventies, and Ian Paice was, like, the fastest drummer that I’d ever seen. Back then everybody was really into John Bonham, but I remember thinking: ‘Who’s this Ian Paice guy?’ I thought: ‘Man, I’m going to try to emulate the stuff that he played on Burn.’ 

“When I came into Guns N’ Roses in the nineties, you weren’t allowed to do shit like that because the drum wasn’t considered an elite instrument. There was a period of time back from the eighties hair-metal period all the way into the nineties, when drums all had to fit into that rigid hard-rock approach. Then Nirvana came out and brought drums back again; Dave Grohl was the first guy I heard doing a swing beat.

“Going back to Burn, the songs are all amazing. Burn, What’s Going On Here, Mistreated… It’s just a killer record. When I asked Glenn Hughes to play with me when we were doing Kings Of Chaos, I said: ‘Hey, just so you know, we’re doing Burn.’ Ha ha!“

Matt Sorum was speaking with Johnny Dee. 

Johnny Dee

Johnny Dee is a freelance copywriter, creative and journalist. He's been published The Times, The Independent, Q  NME, Q, Smash Hits, The Word as well as in The Guardian, writing pieces for G2, online and The Guide, where he edits the weekly back page feature Infomania. He's got a long history as a music journalist and is also fond of sport (currently contributing to Runner's World and FourFourTwo).

With contributions from