Former Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum gave an interview to Rolling Stone. In the interview, he claimed that the frontman Axl Rose was the only clean member in the band.
In 1989, Matt Sorum left The Cult to join Guns N’ Roses as Steven Adler’s replacement. During his career with GN’R, Sorum appeared on three of the band’s albums and performed during their ‘Use Your Illusion Tour.’ However, Axl Rose fired him in 1996 following a dispute and thus ended Sorum’s career with the band.
Sorum’s tenure in GN’R began after Slash noticed his drumming talents during one of his performances with The Cult. The drummer replaced Steven Adler because he was struggling with drug addiction and could not keep up his work with the band. Apart from Adler, Izzy Stradlin was also a drug addict who later went sober. The rhythm guitarist left the band in 1991 due to Rose’s problematic behaviors and the tensions between the band members, which arose from his newfound sobriety.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Matt Sorum recalled the time when Izzy Stradlin left the band. The interviewer asked him if Stradlin’s departure was the main reason why GN’R has released only one album in the past 30 years. Sorum said that he can’t say that, and added they all made decisions based on drugs and alcohol.
The drummer then added Axl Rose was the only clean member of the band. Following that, Sorum stated Slash was more like a bandleader who checked on other band members and made the decisions. He also said it was a time when so much craziness was going on, and Izzy did not want to be a part of that anymore. According to Matt Sorum, the band was quite out of control at those times.
Rolling Stone‘s interviewer asked Matt Sorum that:
“You talk about Izzy Stradlin’s departure and what a problem that was since he wrote so many of the songs. Do you think his absence is a big reason why Guns N’ Roses have made just one album in the past 30 years?”
Sorum then responded:
“I can’t say. Obviously, when I came into the band, there were four original guys. After we went out and became so big, the machine kind of took over. Obviously, we all made decisions that weren’t completely clear in our minds based on alcohol and drugs. If anyone was clean, it was Axl. He was always accused of being a worse drug addict than he was. He was actually just trying to steer the ship.
Slash was very much the bandleader for the band guys. He was like, ‘If you’re going to party until 6 a.m., you have to be at rehearsal at noon. Don’t miss soundcheck.’ A couple of times, the wheels came off for me. I started fucking up too. It was just so much craziness going on. You just fell into it. It was part of the time. It was part of the makeup of the band and everything that was around it.
As far as when Izzy left, I just don’t think he could be around it anymore at that level. It becomes this crazy rollercoaster ride that you really couldn’t get off. It almost felt uncontrollable. There was a Rolling Stone cover that just said, ‘Guns N’ Roses Outta Control.’ That’s kind of how it felt at the time. I wasn’t the decision-maker in that band. I was just sort of on this wild ride.”
It is safe to say that Guns N’ Roses were living the rock and roll life to its fullest back in those days. According to Matt Sorum, he also went down that road while playing with the band. As for now, he has been the drummer of the supergroup Hollywood Vampires since 2015.