ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino recently conducted an interview with Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer and legendary drummer of GUNS N' ROSES, VELVET REVOLVER and THE CULT, Matt Sorum. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
ARTISTdirect.com: What ties [Sorum's new album, "Stratosphere", released under the moniker MATT SORUM'S FIERCE JOY] together for you?
Sorum: When I sat down, started putting it all together, and collecting the musicians who would play on it, I rehearsed it like a band. I got a bunch of my buddies together, and I said, "Let's go rehearse and play the songs". Sonically, everything fits. I didn't record it at different times or all over the place. I basically worked with the same musicians in the same studio straight through. I had an idea of how I wanted to approach my vocals. Lyrically, I wanted it to be an album that was going to be a "more grownup Matt Sorum," if you will. I wanted to say some things I'd been thinking about. That's really the common thread. There were a couple of songs that stuck out a little bit. I didn't feel it when I put them in the order I wanted to do. I felt everything was pretty cohesive.
ARTISTdirect.com: The track order really speaks to that.
Sorum: Thanks! I thought about that. I didn't want to do the traditional thing where you come out banging with a rock song and you've got the ballads here and there. There's some pretty gentle and sensitive stuff on the record, but there's also some thought-provoking lyrics. Initially, I opened with a weird little monologue. It's "Outro (Stratosphere) Pt. 2", and it's actually at the end of the album now. That was my version or my poem that I wrote. It basically says, "Anything's possible and if you put your mind to it you can do it". I basically moved that to the end of the record. My publicist asked me to. She thought it was weird to start with a spoken-word thing. I kicked right into "The Sea" instead. It's a song I wrote about having a bit of a spiritual awakening and cleaning up my act a little bit as well as getting married. A lot of different things have happened in the past few years. That's a song about me trying to be positive moving forward in life. That jumped into "What Ziggy Says", which is a David Bowie- and BEATLES-influenced song. I always wanted to do a song with horns. I got live horns on that track. I thought about how I was going to put the lyrics together and I wrote down names of everybody in my family — my wife Ace and my dogs, etc. I started writing a song based on my family and the life I have with them.
ARTISTdirect.com: Is it important for you to tell stories with the songs?
Sorum: Something happened to me in the last couple of years where I fell into a place where I felt like I could actually write lyrics and I could be very profound with what I'm saying. It just takes believing in yourself to be able to write something you could actually be proud of. I've always loved the lyrical style of a David Bowie or a Lou Reed. They write in a way that's got a message and a story, but it's a little bit harder to understand unless you really listen to it. I always liked that. You're like, "What's this about?"
ARTISTdirect.com: What were you into, in terms of art, while writing and recording?
Sorum: Well, I've been going through a little bit a transition in my life, mainly. I got off drugs and alcohol about six and a half years ago. I've been super into my home life. I got married in October. I haven't been in a rock band per se since about 2008. I got an opportunity to make a record. I took off and went to the desert. I was in the Palms Springs area, and I wrote a lot of it there. Then, I went down to Laguna and the ocean and wrote a lot there. I wanted to do something I thought about doing for many years. This is a big thing for me to make a record completely on my own without any band mates. I had another solo album way back in 2004, but I don't really count that. I feel like this is my first real musical statement to the world. It's a lot of what I'm into. I was thinking about doing something completely from my heart. I wasn't trying to be in a rock band because that's what people know me as or feeling like, "I've got to do this because of what my fans will think". I love Tom Petty. I love Joni Mitchell. I love Bob Dylan. I love a lot more sensitive-style music. I love THE DOORS. It's not all traditional rock shit. I wanted to do something that would suit my voice and I'd feel confident standing on stage and playing. I'm going to be up front holding an acoustic guitar most of the time. I've done it, and I felt really comfortable. At the age I'm at, I don't see myself jumping around on stage, trying to create a new Matt Sorum, and playing hard rock. It just felt natural.
Read the entire interview from ARTISTdirect.com.
Photo courtesy of Gibraltar
Making of "Stratosphere" webisode 1:
Making of "Stratosphere" webisode 2:
Making of "Stratosphere" webisode 3:
Making of "Stratosphere" webisode 4:
Making of "Stratosphere" webisode 5: