In 1964, Matt Sorum was so inspired by Ringo Starr’s performance on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” he decided to pick up a pair of drum sticks. He hasn’t looked back since. Over a career spanning four decades, Sorum has performed with everyone from Guns N’ Roses and Motorhead to Tori Amos and Cheap Trick. And he’s nowhere near done yet. This fall, he plans to reveal all in his forthcoming memoir, “Double Talkin’ Jive: True Rock ‘N’ Roll Stories.” If you can’t wait till then, here are 10 things you didn’t know about Matt Sorum.
1. Ringo Starr inspired him to be a drummer
Sorum, who was born in Orange County, California in November 1960, was inspired to play the drums after watching Ringo Starr perform with the Beatles on the “Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964. During high school, he played whenever and wherever he could, becoming a starring member of the jazz band, marching band, and wind ensemble. After school, he played with his band, Prophecy, who became a regular feature at the legendary West Hollywood club, The Starwood, on amateur nights.
2. He performed on Tori Amos’ first album
In 1988, Tori Amos was the little-known frontwoman of the band, Y Kant Tori Read. After enjoying moderate success with a succession of bands such as Population Five and Hawk, Sorum was invited to play on the band’s debut album. The album flopped, and Amos has since said “The only good thing about that album is my ankle-high boots.” But still, it gave Sorum’s career a boost, and the following year he was invited to join The Cult on their 1989/1990 tour.
3. He contributed to some of Guns N’ Roses biggest hits
Midway through his tour with The Cult, Sorum was spotted by Guns N’ Rose’s guitarist, Slash. Impressed with what he saw, Slash invited Sorum to join the band as Steven Adler’s replacement. Sorum agreed. In total, he spent seven years with the Gunners, contributing to such legendary tracks as their covers of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil.”
4. He’s proud of his time with Guns N’ Roses
In 1997, Sorum was fired from GNR after getting into an argument with Axl Rose over his decision to bring guitarist Paul Tobias into the band, someone none of the rest of the band wanted to play with. But despite his unceremonious ousting, Sorum is still hugely proud of his achievements with the band. Following GNR’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, he told blabbermouth.net, “It was an interesting time when I got the call [about the Rock Hall induction]. Obviously, that band is going to be my legacy. I am very proud of what I did at that particular time with the band, so to get that accolade was the top of the notch.”
5. He loves a bit of ABBA
It’s hard to imaging Matt Sorum rocking out to “Dancing Queen,” but the former Gunners drummer loves a bit of 70’s disco. Speaking to aol.com, he revealed that his guilty pleasures are ABBA and Donna Summer. “It makes for a killer party soundtrack and, to be honest, I’m not embarrassed about it all. Lemmy loved ABBA and that’s good enough for me,” he said.
6. He turned down the Guns N’ Roses reunion
When Guns N’ Roses decided to put aside their difference and get back together for the 2016 “Not in This Lifetime Tour,” Sorum was noticeable by his absence. As it turned out, the band’s manager Fernando Lebeis did text him to ask if he’d like to join a few shows, but the offer was so pitiful (they basically offered to cover his hotel and travel expenses but offered zero remuneration for his appearances), he politely but firmly declined the offer.
7. He’s got a shady past
Before he got famous, Sorum earned his keep as a smuggler for an international drugs ring. Speaking to revolvermag.com, he revealed that he spent several years smuggling cocaine across borders. “I’d fly on airplanes with two kilos strapped around my waist. Most of my deliveries were [to] Hawaii because I had a big connection there, but I would smuggle,” he shared. “Imagine the movie Blow, and then think about coming up in rock & roll, before I got in the bands that I was in,” he added. “My way to pay my way was smuggling, and that’s what I did.”
8. He’s just welcomed his first baby
This year, Sorum welcomed his first child with his wife Ace Harper at the age of 60 years old. Lou Ellington Sorum was born on Friday, June 11 in Palm Springs, California, weighing in at 6 lbs 14 oz. “Our hearts are so full of gratitude that God has brought this angel into our lives,” the proud new parents said in a statement. “Our baby girl Lou Ellington is pure Love & Joy.”
9. He’s written an autobiography
If you’ve always wondered what your favorite bands get up to behind the scenes when the paparazzi are looking the other way, you’ll get your chance to find out soon enough. Sorum has spent lockdown putting the finishing touches to his memoir, “Double Talkin’ Jive: True Rock ‘N’ Roll Stories.” Due for release this fall, it promises to lift the lid on the music business and tell the real stories behind the headlines.
10. He’s a multi-millionaire
In his 20s, Sorum resorted to selling pot before graduating to smuggling hard drugs as a way to put bread on the table. It’s fair to say those days are well and truly behind him. Thanks to an enormously successful career that’s seen him release two solo albums, perform alongside the biggest and baddest rock band of the 80s and 90s (Guns N’ Roses, in case you were in any doubt), form three supergroups (Velvet Revolver, Hollywood Vampires and his latest project, Deadland Ritual), become an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and tour alongside everyone from Motörhead to The Cult, he’s managed to amass a stonking amount of money. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the drummer is now worth the phenomenal net worth of $10 million.