This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Appetite for Creation: An Interview with Matt Sorum of Guns N' Roses

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Quick! Name a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame who's played with Celine Dion, Guns N' Roses and Gladys Knight and the Pips.

If you guessed Matt Sorum, you'd be right. He's also performed and recorded with Solomon Burke, The Cult, Tori Amos and Velvet Revolver. He has primarily worked as a drummer. Yet his new solo album, Stratosphere, from his band Matt Sorum's Fierce Joy, is a departure from all that.

Matt wrote and arranged Stratosphere, and provided lead vocals, guitar and keyboards. And he uses his stardom to shine a light on injustice.

Forget about that Dos Equis guy. Matt Sorum is the most interesting man in the world.

This is a transcript of an interview with Matt.

Ed Ponsi: With the release of Stratosphere, fans are going to be surprised at your diverse musical tastes and abilities. What was your inspiration for this album?

Matt Sorum: I'm known as a rock guy, but I've always loved so many diverse artists. I was a huge Joni Mitchell fan; I remember listening to a lot of her records back to back. Neil Young, Tom Petty, the Beatles of course, and I was a huge Bowie fan. I was also into progressive stuff, like early Genesis, Peter Gabriel era. You can hear that influence on the new album; there are a couple of songs that have some interesting time changes.

I've always dabbled on the acoustic guitar, and I wrote a couple songs for Velvet Revolver. In Guns N' Roses, Axl and Slash looked to me for arrangements. I wasn't the predominant songwriter, but I've always been involved in the process. When I put Stratosphere together, I actually had a lot of it on cassette. I'd been writing the songs over the years, and I wanted to do an album that was just coming from me, regardless of anyone's expectations.

EP: You're in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Guns N' Roses. You've played for The Cult and Velvet Revolver. But not many people realize you also played for Gladys Knight and the Pips.

MS: I came to Hollywood right out of high school around '79. When I started, I was getting $25 per rehearsal, and $50 per gig. I was playing in seven or eight bands at the same time. I loved playing in bands, and I didn't want to get a real job. I developed a good instinct for finding the right guys, learning to deal with all the different personalities.

I had a buddy who was working for a famous producer, Michael Lloyd. My first session was working with Gladys Knight and the Pips. I was in my early twenties, Orange County kid, blond hair. As a drummer, I listened to everything: Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, the Average White Band. I had a background in funk, believe it or not.

So I nailed the gig and ended up playing on a lot of stuff for them. Out of that I did sessions for Belinda Carlisle; I played with the famous gospel singer "King" Solomon Burke. I worked with Ronnie Spector, Celine Dion. I did tons of stuff that people don't know about. I did Tori Amos's first album.

And then I got a little burnt out on studio work. I got tired of being everyone else's drummer. I wanted to be a known guy. My dream was to be like John Bonham, Keith Moon or Ginger Baker in terms of drumming ability and notoriety. I wanted to be recognized, so I started auditioning for bands.

I joined Jeff Paris. We got signed to Polygram Records. Then I joined The Cult in the late '80s. I went through this metamorphosis, all these different styles. And it made me into a guy who can morph into anything. In order to have a career, sometimes you have to do that. You have to be able to walk into any situation and be that guy.

1 of 4

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,053.71 +23.50 0.13%
S&P 500 2,088.77 +6.89 0.33%
NASDAQ 4,806.8590 +33.3870 0.70%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs