Matt Sorum Items

Matt Sorum

 

No one has captured the beat of a city quite like Matt Sorum. The Grammy-winning musician's skills at the drum kit have earned him induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and helped to define the soundtrack to the City of Angels: from the propulsive wail of The Cult, to the wild excess of Guns N' Roses, and the bellicose grit of Velvet Revolver.


It's his reputation as a musician's musician that has placed him squarely at the center of Hollywood's A-list community of artists. From Camp Freddy to Kings of Chaos, his side-projects have drawn a staggering number of fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famers - from Alice Cooper, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry (Aerosmith), to Billy F Gibbons (ZZ Top), Joe Elliott (Def Leppard), Robin Zander (Cheap Trick) and Brian May (Queen).


Matthew William Sorum was born in Long Beach, California, some 35 miles south of L.A.'s famed Sunset Strip. An appearance by The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in the mid-'60s would be a life-changing experience, and foreshadow the trajectory of his career.


"My mom was a teacher, and my dad was this wild, hippie kind of guy," he explains. "He took me and my two older brothers to Mexico one time in a Volkswagon Bug. He told my mom he was taking us to Tijuana. Instead, we drove 2,000 miles south of the border. We were gone for two weeks.


Sorum romanticized his father's carefree lifestyle - a welcome escape from what he says was an abusive stepfather.

"My dad was the guy who sparked my interest in traveling, adventure, taking chances and breaking the rules. He broke the rules a lot," Sorum admits. Soon, Sorum started breaking the rules himself, sneaking up to Hollywood in the mid-'70s with a band he started in high school called Prophecy. 


In the booze-soaked rooms of the Sunset Strip, Sorum perfected the art of the hustle. He played drums for Y Kant Tori Read, a band fronted by a fledgling singer-songwriter named Tori Amos. Sorum spent the next couple of years with The Cult - until he was famously recruited by Slash to play drums for Guns N' Roses. He was in for a wild ride.


But for Sorum, that over-the-top success also triggered some serious childhood trauma. 

After a rebound stint with The Cult, he released his first solo album in 2003. Hollywood Zen was a collection of 11 poignant tracks addressing addiction, failed relationships and the smoke and mirrors of life in La La Land. Sorum played guitar, as well as drums, on the record.


That same year, he reunited with Slash and Duff to form the hard-rocking quintet, Velvet Revolver, with Dave Kushner (from the punk outfit, Wasted Youth) joining them on rhythm guitar. Their frontman was Scott Weiland, the charismatic and freshly-rehabbed lead singer from Stone Temple Pilots. The band's half-decade collaboration led to the double-platinum album, Contraband, and its follow-up, Libertad. Their debut single, "Slither," earned Velvet Revolver a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2005.


In recent years, Sorum has indulged his sense of community, tapping his musician friends for a number of star-studded side projects. Camp Freddy - his intermittent cover band with Jane's Addiction's Dave Navarro - was always a coveted ticket, boasting guest appearances by everyone from Ozzy Osborne, to Corey Taylor from Slipknot and the late Chester Bennington from Linkin Park. Later groups, like Circus Diablo, Kings of Chaos and Hollywood Vampires, also featured revolving lineups of rock and roll royalty.


In 2014, Sorum released Stratosphere, his sophomore solo album. It was a departure from his signature sound, exploring lush string arrangements and an Americana vibe.


In between music projects, Sorum has spread his wings as an entrepreneur. He's the founder of six startup companies, and sits on the Global Blockchain Business Council at UCLA. He also gathers each year with top global leaders in business, government and academia at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He's the brainchild behind a vinyl club curated by top musicians called experiencevinyl.com, and this summer, look for Sorum to introduce a Brazilian beer - appropriately titled The Drummer - to thirsty consumers throughout the United States.


Also in 2020, while the world was in pandemic lockdown, Sorum co-wrote and co-produced Hardware, the third solo album for his pal, Billy F Gibbons from ZZ Top. Sorum's skills on the drum kit are on display, as are his creative talents as producer on a quartet of music videos, including the lead single, "West Coast Junkie." The album dropped in June, just before another highly-anticipated Sorum delivery - a baby girl for him and his wife, Ace Harper, a fashion designer and musician in her own right.

 

Sorum's autobiography, Double Talkin' Jive: True Rock 'n' Roll Stories from the Drummer of Guns N' Roses, The Cult, and Velvet Revolver, is available wherever books are sold.