If pressed, I’d have to say that hand on heart; Appetite for Destruction is my favourite Guns n Roses album. However Matt Sorum’s contributions to not only GnR’s Use Your Illusion 1 & 2, but with super group Velvet Revolver, as well as his days with The Cult, have made him one of my favourite drummers.
He has collaborated with the likes of Glenn Hughes, John Taylor, and Neurotic Outsiders, and unlike some drummers, has mastered his own trademark fills. I can instantly recognise a Sorum drum fill – I have stolen many of them, and used others to form parts of my own fill. Matt is a solid all-round performer, making it easy to learn from listening to him. He’s a big personality within a band and does not shy away from speaking his mind; Matt was the first member of Guns n Roses to openly confront the infamous Axl Rose, pulling him up on his selfish antics and difficult behaviour. Matt has belittled this in interviews, claiming anyone would have done the same – cue the modesty!
Sorum often adapts his live drum solos using the same basic grooves and patterns. Some drum fanatics have criticised this, claiming his playing is too one-dimensional. Anyone can only play to their own abilities, and I find Sorum’s drumming and drum solos entertaining, musically interesting and complimentary to the songs being performed. His showmanship is good too; he brandishes a wicked smile, coupled with the occasional scream and drum stick spin. He likes to initiate audience participation.
Steven Adler (ex GnR drummer) admittedly gave Appetite for Destruction something unique; another drummer couldn’t ever emulate a vibe identical to this. With this in mind, the 30 tracks that make up Use Your Illusion 1 & 2 have Matt Sorum’s stamp on them. There are some inarguably great songs to be heard, to name but a few; Double Talkin’ Jive, Don’t Cry, November Rain, and You Could Be Mine – soundtrack to the film Terminator 2 (1991).
Later with Velvet Revolver, Sorum was a part of some great hard rock tunes. VR’s debut album Contraband was a big hit in the US and UK, some popular tracks being Fall To Pieces, Dirty Little Thing, and Slither.