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TheStreet Open House

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

It's been an amazing journey. I feel very confident about who I am now. Not really caring about this being a commercial album. Not worrying about a record company, which is very freeing.

EP: I talked to Rob DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots recently. He also has this really wide, diverse taste in music. He likes Motown, the Sound of Philadelphia. It seems like great musicians share that diverse outlook.

MS: If you watch Rob play bass, you can tell he loves James Jamerson (of Motown Records). Led Zeppelin, if you listen to it, the backbone of that music is Motown, especially John Paul Jones. Even Bonham's style -- he was so much more than just a rock drummer. There's a lot of other stuff going on there. To be an artist, I always tell young musicians, go back and study the greats.

That's what I did as a kid. I actually started playing guitar at the same time I started playing drums. I grew up in a musical family. I've always written songs, and used the classics as my inspiration.

EP: Is Matt Sorum's Fierce Joy going out on tour?

MS: We're going to tour, but it isn't going to be a typical rock show. If I'm going to front a band, I can't see myself, at my age, jumping up and playing rock and roll the way Dave Grohl does. Dave pulls it off, running around the stage with an electric guitar. But would that feel right for me? How can I make this feel natural, a natural progression, growing into the man that I finally feel that I am, and saying what I want to say now?

EP: On Lady of the Stone, you address issues that concern you, like climate change.

MS: Yeah, that's my take on Mother Nature. If she could talk, what would she say? It's really back to us. I'm concerned about pollution from the beef industry as well as the auto industry. I'm very concerned about radioactive material in the ocean, with overfishing, with the slaughter of sharks.

EP: You've been tweeting about the slaughter of dolphins in Denmark and in Japan.

MS: I think the idea that this slaughter is a "tradition" is absolutely barbaric. In this day and age, for someone to endorse a slaughter for the sake of tradition -- it's an outdated, barbaric ritual. It's got to go.

And anything that has to do with animals being taken from the wild to perform tricks for us, for our amusement? It's not acceptable in the 21st century. I'm very opposed to it, and I'm fighting it. To me, it's my new rebellion.

EP: But isn't that what rock and roll really is, a rebellion? Artists writing about things that matter to them.

MS: It seems like rock has been pushed back. It's behind the scenes and pop music is out front again. People are focused on pop nonsense that has no depth. Look at Monterrey Pop, Woodstock, a lot of that has to do with cultural change, freedom of expression, a celebration of life. It's about a feeling. When people play my music, I want them to have that feeling.

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