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Exclusive! Interview With Velvet Revolver Drummer Matt Sorum

By Laurie Steele, On-Air Personality
Monday, July 26, 2004 @ 0:37 AM

Drummer Sorum Gives the Latest

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Drummer Matt Sorum really needs no introduction: From The Cult to Guns N’ Roses, the man has played with slew of artists, including Tori Amos, Poe, and Sammy Hagar. He also owns a production company and has worked with artists such as Candlebox and Ronnie Spector. He’s been nominated for two Grammy’s. If you’ve been living under a rock the last year, you need to know that now Sorum is the drummer of this year’s hottest buzz band, Velvet Revolver. Here’s Matt with VR’s upcoming plans to support their debut album, Contaband.

KNAC.COM: With Guns ‘N Roses’ Chinese Democracy in seemingly endless limbo, did you fear the worst when [Velvet Revolver’s] Contraband was pushed back from an April release to May and then finally June?
SORUM: No, because we knew it was done. We finished it sometime around Christmas and I think that was just a record company thing, you know, as far as like the setup, and doing a lot of press... we've done so much press, uh... Duff and Slash went to Europe on a couple week run over there, we had to do a video, there were a lot of factors. And we just really believe in Clive and Ashley and everyone at RCA. We said, Ok, cool, but we weren't worried. No! [Laughter]

KNAC.COM: Do you think having the single "Set Me Free' on The Hulk soundtrack helped push the project forward in generating some pre-release buzz?
SORUM: Well, you know, that was really the first original track that we had collectively as a band, and at that point, we didn't really have the name Velvet Revolver. At that point we were Scott Weiland, Slash, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum and Dave Kushner, and, sort of after that whole thing started to take off is when we really knew that we wanted to push forward with this and include Scott as our front man and singer and he agreed at that point and we came up with the name Velvet Revolver. And obviously, the track being out on the radio and everything, without any radio promotion [from record labels] or any record company, was a major factor in getting a lot of energy behind the band, you know. And then, when the labels started courting us and everything, then things started getting really exciting. So, that really helped us, you know, step up and it was really exciting for everybody.

KNAC.COM: I know you were involved in the first incarnation of Slash's Snakepit, before going back to Guns ‘N Roses, before bailing out of that. And I don't know how much information you can provide on this, but what does Slash's involvement with Velvet Revolver mean for Slash's Snakepit and fans of that project?
SORUM: That whole Snakepit thing? You know, that was a way for me and Slash to go and play music in the beginning when we were waiting around for Axl. So, you know, I think it turned into more of a thing for Slash, cause just... you know, Slash just loves to play his guitar, and he is the consummate musician, you know? He's always got his guitar and you know, as far as the fans digging on this music, the people that dug Snakepit... you know, Slash is up there doing what Slash does best, and that's playing the most awesome rock guitar. And I think any fans of that band will be a fan of this band, and vice versa.

KNAC.COM: But you don't know if he has any plans to continue it as a side project?
SORUM: No, this is his band. We're all in this. This isn't just a fly by night thing -- this is serious. You know? We've all made a commitment. We've made a commitment to RCA for three records, and we're down with this. Scott's committed to this and this is a real band. This isn't just a project, so that's for sure.

KNAC.COM: If the timing worked out, would you be amenable to going out on tour with the new Guns ‘N Roses?
SORUM: No. You mean with Axl? [Laughter] Nuh huh. Nononononono. No. This is a great band--

KNAC.COM: --When I say that, I mean Velvet Revolver touring with the new project.
SORUM: Ohhh. Who would open? [Laughter]

KNAC.COM: Well Guns ‘N Roses, of course!
SORUM: Oh, I doubt that! But, you know, um... I don't know. Actually we were offered a gig in Lisbon, Portugal opening for Guns ‘N Roses [Laughter]. The NOW Guns ‘N Roses, whatever that consists of, but we actually said okay. We'd love to be there. It'd be very exciting. I think it would be quite a spectacle. Sure. Why not?

KNAC.COM: The next question you sort of answered for me, stating that you have a three record commitment to RCA, but what plans do you have beyond this tour and this album? Are you going to go immediately back into the studio for the next album, or... how long of a tour are you planning for the Contraband album?
SORUM: Well, we were just talking about that actually. We hope to take this all the way through next summer. We've got plans to go to Europe in August, we're gonna come back and do a couple month run through the States, end of September, October, November, a lot of radio shows around Christmas, we're talking all the way through next year, Japan, Australia, and come back and see how things go next summer as well. So, it'll be a long tour. And we're all up for it, so um... and as we're going, we're writing songs already. I mean we're already putting the material together for the next record, and this band's just totally constantly coming up with new ideas and riffs, and that's what's great about this pro... this band, is we're all just like.... so many ideas and songs come every day, and we'll have another record ready by the time we get off tour as well.

KNAC.COM: So are you looking on your long tour to do a smaller tour with Velvet Revolver headlining, or are you hoping to jump onto something like a Lollapalooza or an Ozzfest and be part of a bigger festival show?
SORUM: Um... we'll we're talking about when we go out to... when we go over to Europe and do the festivals and then doing gigs on our own as well, but when we come back, the response has been so great on this leg... all our gigs sold out in like 5, 10 minutes, we're doing 2-3,000 seaters, and they're just like... the tickets are just gone. So, we're hoping to back after Europe and do larger size venues and headline on our own with you know, some cool support act or whatever.

KNAC.COM: This was definitely the hot ticket in town this month, that's for sure. I think that you definitely have a very large fanbase, which may have started out by being fans of the individual projects, but I think Velvet Revolver has evolved enough with its own material to have generated it's own fanbase. So, that being said, are you looking at swinging back through here before you wrap up the tour? Because there were a lot of people who were very disappointed they couldn't get tickets.
SORUM: Well, you know what's really cool, I mean, I think for all of us… we look out in the audience and we see a wide variety of fans, you know? We see really younger fans, with all the KROQ kind of play that we’re getting, you know, the active rock and modern rock stuff, and we’re getting 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 year olds, and then we have fans that are a little older, and it’s cool, it’s all mixed. It’s very exciting for the band. We love when we kick into the new material, and it seems that when we play “Slither” live, it’s seems like that’s the highlight of the night, and that for us, is the biggest inspiration, you know, even when we play a couple of the old songs. It’s like the best point of the evening is when we kick into “Slither” pretty much, I think for all of us. And as far as coming back, I mean, yeah, man, we’re gonna… we’re gonna hit it hard when we do the next American leg. We’re gonna hit every place again for sure. And in larger venues, hopefully.

KNAC.COM: We’re gonna hold you and the label to that.
SORUM: [Laughter]

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