Seminal hard rock drummer Matt Sorum is one of the best in the business behind the kit. Throughout his illustrious career, Sorum has been a member of Guns N’ Roses, The Cult, and Velvet Revolver. In 2012, he was inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of GnR. In addition, he’s collaborated with the likes of Sammy Hagar, Tommy Lee (Mötley Crüe), Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Country Communion), Mr. Big, Gilby Clarke, and more. In 2004, he released his debut solo, Hollywood Zen. Sorum spent very little to no time promoting the record. No press, no tour. Plus, Sorum was busy anyway with Velvet Revolver, who were one of the world’s biggest bands in the early 2000’s. When the band went on indefinite hiatus in 2008, guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan (both former GnR bandmates as well) went to work on solo projects. Sorum followed suit, and the result is his long-awaited sophomore effort, Stratosphere. Sorum and his new band Fierce Joy released the album back on March 11.
The album is a huge change of pace for Sorum. He’s stepped out from behind the kit and into the spotlight, playing guitar, piano, and singing lead vocals on the album. “Believe it or not, I’ve been playing guitar and singing my whole life, and piano,” Sorum said. “I actually grew up playing piano, my mother was a classical pianist. I’ve actually been playing guitar longer than I’ve been playing drums.” Matt said that he has guitars in every room of his house. He’ll walk from room to room, pick one up, and write some music. Then, on to the next room for a different guitar and more inspiration. On this record, Sorum is realizing his full creative vision as a solo artist. The disc is a far departure from the hard rock and metal he’s been churning out for the last two decades or so. It resonates tones of alternative, pop, and folk with echoes of Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Bob Seger, Lou Reed, and others. However, despite the influences, Sorum has certainly defined his own sound. “I just went into the record saying,’You know what, I’m going to to exactly what I feel like’,” Matt said. “I’ve always wanted to record an album with some strings on it, some live horns, a lot of percussion; just really super-organic.”
Matt Sorum joined Guns N’ Roses in 1990, recording and touring with the band for their final three albums before the band went on a lengthy hiatus in 1994. In 1995, Sorum joined fellow former GnR bandmate Slash’s new band, Slash’s Snakepit. That same year, the band released their only album It’s Five O’clock Somewhere and subsequently embarked on an arena tour with AC/DC. In 2001, Sorum joined The Cult for their heaviest outing, Beyond Good and Evil. He toured with the band in support of the record as well. In 2000, Matt reunited with former Guns N’ Roses bandmates Slash and Duff McKagan to form Velvet Revolver. The band’s debut album, Contraband, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200. The album has since been certified platinum. The band recorded a sophomore effort, 2007’s Libertad, but went on indefinite hiatus in 2008. In between VR records, Sorum released his debut solo LP, Hollywood Zen. Throughout his rollercoaster career, Matt Sorum has collabortated with the likes of Sammy Hagar, Tommy Lee (Mötley Crüe), Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Country Communion), Mr. Big, Gilby Clarke, and more. In 1995, Sorum recorded drums on “Go Go Power Rangers”, the theme song for the feature film Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, aling with Eric Martin (Mr. Big), John Pierce (Pablo Cruise), and Tim Pierce. In 2012, Matt Sorum was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Guns N’ Roses. – by Matt Bishop (@The_MattBishop)(Photos Courtesy of Eric Hobbs)