Morley Seaver of antiMusic 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.
antiMusic: Most people have more than one side to them. When putting [Sorum’s new solo album, “Stratosphere”, under the moniker MATT SORUM’S FIERCE JOY] together, since most people know the hard rock side of Matt Sorum, did you want to show the other side of you or was it just that the nature of the songs that were coming to you demanded this sort of framework?
Matt: Well, I had been writing songs for a couple of years. I was really getting into a different headspace than with some of the stuff I had been playing for most of my career. I’ve always written songs although I didn’t contribute a great deal of writing for GUNS N’ ROSES. I did help with arrangements and then wrote a couple of things for VELVET REVOLVER. So for this, some songs started to come together and I started thinking about putting together a solo thing. For a couple of months, I went off to the desert to Joshua Tree to do some writing and took my acoustic and things started coming out. I recorded things on my little cassette recorder, believe it or not. [Laughs] Then, for a change, I went down to the ocean and started getting into a whole other vibe there. I’ve played a lot of hard rock in my career but I’ve also done a bunch of other stuff and I’ve always been a big fan of singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell. Considering the subject matter of a lot of these songs, I wanted the framework to better reflect what I was feeling and let you really hear what I’m talking about. So the songs are really diverse but generally they’re a lot different to what most people have heard from the stuff I’ve been most famously connected with.
antiMusic: What sort of mindset were you in when you were in pre-production?
Matt: I’ve become increasingly more aware of world events and in particular a lot of the challenges facing animals around the world. I went to Japan last year to help protest against the annual dolphin hunt which I think is just crazy. Animals are becoming hunted around the globe as trophies and many species are getting close to becoming wiped out. This is just madness. Also, I’ve been with my wife, who I married last fall, for awhile now, and I’ve just become more aware of what kind of world kids are being brought into. Climate change is no joke and it’s definitely been affected on a world-wide level by our society, both from industries and us as individuals. All these things definitely affected the mindset while I was writing and influenced the subject matter. I think I knew from the beginning that I wanted to sing this one myself. It’s been a few years since my last record and I’ve gotten more comfortable with my voice. And since I was talking about more personal subject matter this time, I wanted it to come directly from me.
antiMusic: Tell us about the band title, MATT SORUM’S FIERCE JOY. Where does the happiness angle come from?
Matt: I was the drummer for MOTÖRHEAD a few years ago on a tour when Mikkey [Dee] wasn’t able to tour. It was so much fun to hang out with my good buddy Lemmy Kilmister. We were talking one night and he was just so appreciative about getting to play music for a living. One night he says to me (adopts British accent), “I have such a fierce joy about playing. I mean, I could be digging ditches. But instead I’m able to do this.” [Laughs] That phrase really struck me so later when I was thinking of names, I called him up and said “Remember when you said that ‘fierce joy’ thing when we were on tour? I was thinking of using that for a name. Is that cool with you?” And he says, “Yeah, you can use that.” So the name actually came from Lemmy.