Drummer - Hard rock
Bands: Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver, Camp Freddy, The Cult, Neurotic Outsiders, Slash's Snakepit, Hawk, Y Kant Tori Read, Johnny Crash, Kings of Chaos, Jeff Cullen
1960-1989: Early career
Matt Sorum was born Matthew William Sørum, on November 19, 1960, in the present-day city of Mission Viejo, California. His parents were of English and Norwegian descent. In his first couple of years in high school, Sorum was part of the Mission Viejo Marching Bands drum section. Sorum started out in Mission Viejo as a local hot musician in 1975. Wearing trademark "Union Flag" shorts and nothing else, he used to pound a huge acrylic drumset and overpower his first band "Prophecy", where he and lead singer / guitarist, Jeff Harris (guitarist for the J. Harris Band and later guitarist for funk band Slapbak), stood out and the rest of the band just disappeared. A local songwriter, Stephen Douglas, pulled him from the band and joined him with other talented musicians in the area to form "Chateau", a wall-of-sound band with grandiose themes and sounds in their songs. Chateau played the Hollywood circuit, appearing at Gazzarri's and almost getting into a fight with the original members of the band Ratt, which at the time was known as "Mickey Ratt".
Sorum's work with Chateau produced a four song set that was covered by local radio stations for a short time, but the music scene changed from grandiose rock to punk and alternative new wave music. Sorum left and went to Hollywood to play with a series of bands, including "Population Five", with the bassist Prescott Niles from The Knack. He then left on a tour around the country with a blues guitarist, playing nightclubs and bars.
In 1988, he was recruited to play on the debut album of Y Kant Tori Read, a band fronted by a then unknown Tori Amos. In the wake of that project, he joined The Cult as their live drummer for the 1989 tour in support of Sonic Temple.
1990-1997: Guns N' Roses
In 1989 Slash saw Sorum live with The Cult on their Sonic Temple tour and, shortly after, Sorum joined Guns N' Roses as Steven Adler's replacement.
Sorum with Guns N' Roses can be heard on Use Your Illusion I, Use Your Illusion II (excluding the track "Civil War"), "The Spaghetti Incident?", the 1994 cover of the Rolling Stones track "Sympathy for the Devil" and the majority of Live Era: '87-'93. Sorum featured fully on the lengthy Use Your Illusion Tour, drumming on all of the 194 shows, 9 legs and to over 7 million fans.
In 1995 with Slash and Gilby Clarke he formed Slash's Snakepit and drummed on their debut album It's Five O'Clock Somewhere. Sorum also lent his drumming skills in the theme song for the 1995 20th Century Fox film, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie. In the same year Matt formed the supergroup Neurotic Outsiders, which featured bandmate Duff McKagan where they released their only album, self-titled Neurotic Outsiders. John Taylor (Duran Duran) and Steve Jones (Sex Pistols) also participated on this album, and toured. Early performances featured guest spots by Simon Le Bon (Duran Duran), Slash, and Billy Idol.
In 1997 he was fired from Guns N' Roses by Axl Rose after defending departed lead guitarist Slash in an argument with Rose and Paul Tobias. In 1998, he released his first and only drum instructional video (Drum Licks and Tricks from the Rock n Roll Jungle) demonstrating his techniques. In 2001 Matt joined The Cult once again and featured on their album, Beyond Good And Evil, which he spent most of 2001 touring in support of.
In April 2006, nine years after leaving Guns N' Roses, Sorum re-established his friendship with the band's frontman Axl Rose.
2002-2008: Velvet Revolver
In 1999, Sorum reunited with Slash and McKagan to promote a concert for the independent film Soundman (written and directed by Steven Ho) at the Slamdance Film Festival. Sorum had composed the film with Lanny Cordola and Michael Stearns. Realizing that they still had chemistry together, they formed a new band called Velvet Revolver with former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland and rhythm guitarist Dave Kushner. After the 2004 release of their debut album Contraband, they embarked on a worldwide tour that continued through December 2005. In August 2005, Sorum broke his wrist in a boating accident, stalling the tour temporarily. While recovering from the wrist injury the drummer Brian Tichy and Mark Schulman filled in for him.
After taking some time off in 2006, Sorum and the rest of the band returned to the studio in December to record Libertad, Velvet Revolver's second album, which was released on July 3, 2007. Sorum toured with Velvet Revolver until singer Weiland parted ways with the band on April 1, 2008.
In addition to those projects Sorum released his first solo album entitled Hollywood Zen, in 2003. The album, available through his website, was a musical statement about his life, touring, relationships, etc. In the same year, Sorum also began playing with newly formed Camp Freddy. In 1994, Sorum was one of many guest drummers on the album, "Burning for Buddy: A Tribute to the Music of Buddy Rich". Playing with the Buddy Rich Big Band, Sorum was able to display his skill and finnesse as a jazz drummer.
In addition, Sorum has endorsed Zildjian cymbals for the past 18 years and has featured in numerous sweepstakes with Zildjian. In 2006, Sorum began guest recording in his studio with a new project, called Circus Diablo. That year, he also launched a clothing line; SorumNoce.
On June 4, 2008, Sorum revealed Camp Freddy is working on an album.
Matt has also lent his talents to Submersible Music's DrumCore software.
Sorum was featured in episode 54 of the television program LA Ink originally airing on August 27, 2009. On the program Kat Von D. tattoos a portrait of his girlfriend Ace on his leg.
Matt filled in for Mikkey Dee as drummer on Motörhead's 2009 US tour. Dee took part in Kändisdjungeln, a Swedish version of "I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!".
After performing together at the "Giving 2010" benefit event on May 3, 2010, Sorum formed the cover band "Carnival of Dogs" with Tracii Guns (L.A. Guns, formerly of Brides of Destruction), Franky Perez (Solo, Scars on Broadway, DKFXP) and Phil Soussan (previously played with Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol and Vince Neil).
He made an appearance in an episode of FSN Sport Science, when a test was undertaken to determine if a professional basketball point guard had faster hands than a drummer.
Sorum has endorsed a number of drum companies over the last 20 years, including Yamaha Drums, Mapex, Drum Workshop and Ludwig. He also has used Zildjian cymbals over the last 26 years. His drum kit and cymbals are as following
- 24"x14 Bass Drum
- 14"x6 Snare
- 13"x10 Rack Tom
- 16"x16 Floor Tom
- 18"x16 Floor Tom
- 15" Rock Hi-Hats
- 18" Medium Crash
- 19" Rock Crash
- 19" Rock Crash
- 22" Medium Ride
- 20" Medium Crash
- 21" China Boy Low
Sorum was one of the first drummers to endorse the Easton Ahead sticks in the early 90s during the Guns N' Roses Use Your Illusion Tour, drum sticks which are now used by many famous drummers, including Lars Ulrich of Metallica and Tico Torres of Bon Jovi. Now, he uses his own Zildjian Matt Sorum Signature wood sticks.
Matt Sorum Drumstick Collection
Current Drumstick Count in Collection: 16.