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Matt Sorum 101: Everything You Need to Know About Guns N’ Roses’ Former Drummer

Matt Sorum
Valerie Macon, Getty Images)

Matt Sorum, Guns N’ Roses drummer: 1990 – 1997

Guns N’ Roses Discography: Use Your Illusion I & II (1991), The Spaghetti Incident? (1993)

Non-GNR Discography: Jeff Paris, Wired Up; Y Kant Tori Read; Slash‘s Snakepit, It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere; Neurotic Outsiders; Hawk; the Cult, Beyond Good and Evil; Velvet Revolver, Contraband, Libertad; Johnny Crash, Unfinished Business.

Pre-Guns N’ Roses: Unlike many of his GNR band mates, Matt Sorum was born and raised in Southern California, roughly 20 miles outside of Los Angeles. As a teenager, he was playing drums for his group Prophecy alongside bands like Van Halen on the L.A. club circuit. During his 20s, he kicked around town as a studio musician and befriended an aspiring singer-pianist named Tori Amos. Together they formed Y Kant Tori Read, a synth-pop band that released one album before splitting. Sorum’s big break prior to the Gunners came when the Cult needed a drummer to go on the road with them in support of 1988’s Sonic Temple. It was during that tour that Slash and Duff McKagan spotted the him and asked him to replace Steven Adler. One month later they were recording Use Your Illusion.

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Post-Guns N’ Roses: Sorum was fired from Guns N’ Roses in 1997 for arguing with Axl Rose. He founded Orange Curtain productions and produced several artists while simultaneously returning to session work. In 2001, he rejoined the Cult for their album Beyond Good and Evil; in 2002, the drummer reconnected with former Gunners Slash and McKagan in Velvet Revolver. He’s also maintained his solo and session career, filled in as Motorhead‘s drummer for a stretch in 2009 and played drums for cover bands like Camp Freddy.

Right Now: Sorum and McKagan form the rhythm section of Alice Cooper’s supergroup Hollywood Vampires. He is also active in the career of his wife Ace Harper’s band, Darling Stilettos.

GNR Reunions: Sorum played with both Slash and Gilby Clarke on Slash’s Snakepit’s 1995 debut. He joined McKagan the following year in the Neurotic Outsiders. In 2012, he joined McKagan and Clarke onstage at Cleveland’s House of Blues for an impromptu set while they were all in town for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony.

See Guns N’ Roses and Other Rockers in the Top 100 Albums of the ’90s

You Think You Know the 1992 Guns N’ Roses / Metallica Tour? 

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Next: Everything You Need to Know About Dizzy Reed

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