In a conversation with Gretsch, former Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum talked about the time he performed with Guns N’ Roses for the very first time and claimed he never had the chance to rehearse with Axl Rose before the show.
As you might remember, the talented drummer Matt Sorum joined the iconic hard rock band Guns N’ Roses back in 1990 replacing Steven Adler. However, in 1997, the lead singer Axl Rose fired Sorum from the band following an intense argument.
Recently, Matt Sorum joined a conversation with Gretsch and talked about his first show with Guns N’ Roses which took place in Rio. During the interview, Matt shared some rarely known details about the performance and claimed Axl Rose had never joined a rehearsal with the drummer before the show which caused him to freak out a little bit.
Here’s what Matt Sorum stated about his first show with Guns N’ Roses:
“My whole career has been like flying by the seat of my pants. I’ve dealt with these guys that are very interesting characters – and you learn to love ’em, but at the time, you’re like, ‘What the hell is going on out here?!’
Here I am, rehearsing with Guns N’ Roses for our first show, where I’m gonna play with the band at Rock in Rio, my first introduction to the world.
So, I joined, and we started working on these records, and then we got a call to go play two nights in Rock in Rio, headlining. Judas Priest was opening for us – Megadeth one night, the bill was crazy. But we were headliners.
140,000-seat stadiums, two nights, sold out for Guns N’ Roses. I get there – and I’ve never rehearsed with Axl, I’ve never rehearsed with the guy. We were gonna do it live in front of 140,000 people – plus on television – and I’m freaking out before the show…”
Furthermore, Sorum revealed another challenge he had to face during the performance. Apparently, when he asked about the setlist, the band’s iconic guitarist Slash told him that Guns N’ Roses wasn’t actually using any setlists for their shows.
Here’s what Slash told Sorum about the Guns N’ Roses setlists:
“I’m looking around and I’m like, ‘Hey, does anyone know what the setlist is…? I’d like to check out the setlist…’ And Slash goes, ‘We don’t use a setlist.’ And I’m, like, ‘What…?’ So I got no information about what’s gonna go down.
Basically, before the show – and I learned this happened with that band – every night, Axl’s guy, Earl Gabbidon – he basically took care of Axl – came over to me and said, ‘We’re gonna start with ‘Welcome to the Jungle,’ ‘We’re gonna start with ‘Nightrain.”
He would tell me every night, so that whole ‘Use Your Illusion’ tour, there was never a setlist. And we figured out how to give each other eye signals – or someone took a riff – but we figured it out.”
Additionally, Matt mentioned the shows were still a huge success regardless of the challenges he had to face until that moment and continued:
“And here we were, on a stadium-sized stage… But that particular night at Rock in Rio, we started with a song no one ever heard before, called ‘Pretty Tied Up,’ which we just finished recording.
And it started with the hi-hat, and I just remember looking out, and the crowd was already bouncing… I was, like, ‘I’m only playing the hi-hat…’
You felt that when they bounce and the stage is kind of rolling – it was intense. And I was, like, ‘Fasten your seatbelt, man, this shit’s gonna get crazy.’ And it did. But that one of the highlights – just the beginning of it.”
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