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Drummer Matt Sorum Recalls Creative Battles That Led to Guns N’ Roses Split

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Ryan Pierse, Getty Images

Drummer Matt Sorum, who has manned the kits for Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver and the Cult throughout his career, recently revealed details of his final days as the stickman for GN’R. With the band’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction looming, memories of those days are surely rising to the surface in vivid fashion.

In a chat with Australia’s Triple M, Sorum was frank when asked about how things came to a head between Axl Rose and Slash and he revealed the split was a long time coming, since Rose was all for experimenting and going to an uncomfortable place for the sake of creating something groundbreaking.

“Axl was always trying to push the envelope,” Sorum said. “Even with ‘Use Your Illusions I & II,’ we moved forward. People always go back to ‘Appetite for Destruction,’ but if you look at the ‘Use Your Illusions,’ it was an epic undertaking.”

He continued, “Axl was always trying to push the envelope. Axl in his mind wanted to do this epic, stadium, worldwide, renowned super group and he looked at bands like Queen and Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones as the benchmark for that.”

Sorum said Rose’s love of electronics was what drew the dividing line in the sand between him and the rest of the band. He said, “When we went into the next record, Axl wanted to take it to another level and experiment with electronics. He was really into Nine Inch Nails and we were [becoming] uncomfortable with the musical direction …We were like, ‘Woah, now we are getting into a little bit of a grey area.’ It was a little uncomfortable.”

While the rest of the band had penned songs more similar to ‘Appetite’ and that were a return to the roots, that was not the direction Rose had hoped for. Sorum said, “He was so obsessed with where the music was going.” He was also dismissive of the material the others had turned over. Sorum said, “I remember there was four or five years of rehearsals and Axl came in and said ‘I think we got one good verse.’” Ouch!

Slash and Sorum splintered off and did their own thing as things began to divide even further with Rose. Sorum even said he was sitting on the couch while Axl and Slash had a blow out right before his eyes.

He also joked about his repeated dismissals from the band, saying Axl would call him up and let him go in that screamy voice we’re used to hearing on record. “He would say, ‘You’re fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired!,” according to Sorum.

Only in Axl’s world!

Watch Matt Sorum Interview With Triple M

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