Matt Sorum has recalled the surprise, pride and anger that went with being a member of Guns N’ Roses in the 1990s.
He replaced Steven Adler behind the drumkit in time to record double-album Use Your Illusion and toured the world with Axl Rose and co while they were commonly described as “the most dangerous band in the world.”
And Sorum agrees – he tells One On One With Mitch Lafon: “We never knew what the fuck was going to happen. There was no sense of stability whatsoever.
“That kept the band in a constant state of aggression. When we got on stage we’d take it out on our instruments in sheer exhaustion or anger. It made the rock show legendary.”
Discussing his arrival in 1990, he says: “Everything was so much different than what I expected. I thought I was walking into a straight-up rock band, a crossbreed of AC/DC and Aerosmith, mixed with the Sex Pistols and Nazareth.
“Along came pianos and these epic 10-minute opuses. I was surprised.”
The entire experience unfolded at breakneck speed, he remembers. “We didn’t have a lot of time to prepare – we rehearsed for about a month and went into the studio. We had to learn 33, 34 songs then we went in and recorded everything.
“I was so crammed with music. I had so much to learn. In those days it was so crazy, how we operated. We’d take one or two takes and it was in the can. You don’t cut it up, you don’t fuck with it like bands do nowadays. It’s done.”
He continues: “Everything that happened was so natural and everyone was given free rein. The leader, I would probably say, was Slash – he had such a work ethic. Axl was the front guy, the guy controlling what was going to happen that night.
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“They needed a guy that could hold the fort together and I did that. It was an interesting time because things were moving so fast.
“I look back with admiration that we all lived through it. We did it.”
Sorum took some heat for making comments about the Foo Fighters that were taken to be negative. But he says what he meant was: “I wish I could be in a band like Metallica or the Foo Fighters – a band that runs that smoothly. I didn’t say they’re not dangerous.
“People ask me what’s different about rock’n’roll and I say, ‘It’s not as dangerous as it was.’ I’m not saying that’s a good thing.
“I was in the most dangerous rock’n’roll band in the world at the time. That’s been an amazing journey, but I can’t handle living my life like that any more.”
Now that Guns N’ Roses are touring with Slash and bassist Duff McKagan back in the band, Sorum reflects: “Those were the greatest times in rock’n’roll. What’s going on now is great for them, but I was there when it was great too – probably the greatest.
“They’re out there doing that, going on stage on time every night. Times have changed, haven’t they?”
Guns N’ Roses Not In This Lifetime 2017 tour dates so far
Jan 21: Osaka Kyocera Dome, Japan
Jan 22: Kobe World Memorial Hall, Japan
Jan 25: Yokohama Arena, Japan
Jan 28: Tokyo Saitama Super Arena, Japan
Jan 29: Tokyo Saitama Super Arena, Japan
Feb 02: Wellington Westpac Stadium, New Zealand
Feb 04: Auckland Western Springs Stadium, New Zealand
Feb 07: Brisbane QSAC Stadium, Australia
Feb 10: Sydney ANZ Stadium, Australia
Feb 11: Sydney ANZ Stadium, Australia
Feb 14: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia
Feb 18: Adelaide Oval, Australia
Feb 21: Perth Domain Stadium, Australia
Feb 25: Singapore Changi Exhibition Centre, Singapore
Feb 28: Bangkok SCG Stadium, Thailand
Mar 03: Dubai Autism Rocks Arena, UAE
May 27: Dublin Slane Castle, Ireland
May 30: Bilbao San Mames Stadium, Spain
Jun 02: Lisbon Passeio Martimo De Alges, Portugal
Jun 04: Madrid Vincente Calderon Stadium, Spain
Jun 07: Zurich Letzigrund, Switzerland
Jun 10: Imola Greenfield, Italy
Jun 13: Munich Olympiastadion, Germany
Jun 16: London Olympic Stadium, UK
Jun 17: London Olympic Stadium, UK
Jun 20: Gdansk Stadion Energy, Poland
Jun 22: Hannover Messe, Germany
Jun 24: Werchter Classic, Belgium
Jun 27: Copenhagen Telia Parken, Denmark
Jun 29: Stockholm Friends Arena, Sweden
Jul 01: Hameelinna Kantolan Tapahtumapuisto, Finland
Jul 04: Prague Letnany Airport, Czech Republic
Jul 07: Paris Stade De France, France
Jul 10: Vienna Ernst Happel Stadion, Austria
Jul 12: Nijmegen Goffert Park, Holland
Jul 15: Tel Aviv Israel Hayarkon Park, Israel
Jul 27: St Louis Dome At America”s Center, MO
Jul 30: Minneapolis US Bank Stadium, MN
Aug 02: Denver Sports Authority Field At Mile High, CO
Aug 08: Miami Marlins Stadium, FL
Aug 16: Buffalo New Era Field, NY
Aug 19: Montreal Parc Jean Drapeau, QC
Aug 21: Ottawa TD Place Stadium, ON
Aug 24: Winnipeg Investors Group Field, MB
Aug 27: Regina New Mosaic Stadium At Evraz Place, SK
Aug 30: Edmonton Commonwealth Stadium, AB
Sep 01: Vancouver Place Stadium, BC
Sep 03: George Gorge, WA
Sep 06: El Paso Sun Bowl Stadium, TX
Sep 08: San Antonio Alamodome, TX