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Sirum on Dexter N’ Scott: “A Pain In The Ass!”


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During a conversation with Rolling Stone, drummer Matt Sorum looked back on working with Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver, and The Cult.


When the interviewer said, "Scott Weiland was obviously an enormous talent and great frontman. But do you think he brought so much baggage into Velvet Revolver that it almost wasn't worth it? In hindsight, should you have found a singer that was a little more stable?"

If we could have found someone as great as Scott Weiland. That was the issue. We spent two years looking for a great singer.And when Scott walked in the room, it sealed the deal. I talk about it in my book. We had a big licensing deal for a movie called 'The Hulk.' Scott showed up almost an hour late. Everyone was there. I look at Duff [McKagan, bass] and go, 'Can we start like this?'


This documentary called 'The Rise of Velvet Revolver' shows everything that went down. I remember going, 'This is going to be dangerous.' But at the same time, we put out great rock 'n' roll.

That first album ['Contraband'], Scott really got his life together. He was in great shape. It wasn't easy. We worked really hard to clean up.We all cleaned up our act a lot. We used Aerosmith as our model. We were like, 'If those guys can do this, we can do this. Let's clean up.' We got our stuff together. We all got in really good shape. We were in our forties competing against younger  And we still had to come up with great songs. In my opinion, we were an aggressive rock & roll band. We nailed it with the first one. And we fell back into some of our old habits with the second record ['Libertad']. A lot of drugs and alcohol reappeared in all our lives, and the money came again in a big way. That caused problems. Things just weren't in sync. I felt it when we were in the studio on that second record. There  are some good songs on that second record, but it just didn't have the angst and hunger of the first record."


A real theme of your book is that singers are just a real pain in the ass. You had endless problems with Axl and Scott Weiland. Ian Astbury of The Cult shit on the floor of your hotel room...

Yeah, but I've been in these great bands with these great singers. I was there when they were at the height of their shenanigans. If you see The Cult today, Ian Astbury isn't acting that way. He's an older guy.

"But I'm really proud to say that I was in those bands at the height of the wild times.

I was in The Cult when they were playing arenas. Ian was off the rails. It made for a great rock & roll show, and he was a great rock 'n' roll frontman.

It's the same for Axl [Rose]. Whatever Axl did going into those shows, whatever happened behind the scenes, it made for great rock 'n' roll.

Anybody that saw the band back in those days, as much as they bitched and moaned about us being late, they can say it was probably some of the greatest rock 'n' roll they'd ever seen. All that shit that was going on brought a lot of intensity onto the stage.I used to go on stage some nights so pissed off that I would just have to bash the shit out of the drums. It reminded me of being a kid. I was like, 'Why did I play the drums in the first place?' Well, I had a lot of anxiety and anger over the divorce of my parents. It was an unstable household. We all came from the same background, everybody in that band. Axl came from Indiana and his upbringing was shit. Slash grew up in kind of a weird Hollywood family. That all sort of made for the fireworks.






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You write about the early rehearsals for 'Use Your Illusion' and how you were shocked that the songs were so long. Do you think it would have worked better as a single record with all the best songs on it, rather than two records?

"I think that was the intention going in. But when Axl came in and decided it should be a double record, it was a genius moment for him.

"I remember we're at the studios and there was this electric door, almost like Star Trek; you'd push a button and it would open.

"Axl came in, and I feel like he had a couple of girls with him at the time. We were all sitting there and recording. He announced to us that he wanted to put out a double record.

"He basically said, 'I want to put out all the songs.' At that point, we were up to about 32. In our mind, we were going to cut 20 and put the best 12 or 13 onto a great record.

"That was going to be the next offering of Guns N' Roses. He came up with the idea of doing two and changing the color of each and calling it the same, 'Use Your Illusion I' and 'Use Your Illusion II.'

"I was like, 'Why? Why do you we have to make them separate records?' He had worked at Tower Records on Sunset.

"In those days, if you had a double record, you had to put it behind the cash register. It was over 20 bucks. He wanted the records to be in the bin where you could actually hold them, pick them up.

"I think the main thing was that we had a lot of touring. He was like, 'I want to do five years on the road. These two records are going to be the legs for that tour.'"


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