Velvet Revolver is quickly becoming the rock and roll success story of the year, featuring former members of Guns N’ Roses (GN’R) and Stone Temple Pilots (STP), the band impressed everyone in the mainstream rock press with the strength of their debut album, “Contraband.” The band’s single, “Fall to Pieces,” currently has the number one spot on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Sorum was also very enthusiastic about the future of Velvet Revolver. Apparently, the band’s label, RCA, is going to re-release the “Contraband” album with bonus footage, as well as release the album in a High Definition DVD format. You’ll also have the chance to see Velvet Revolver on your television at year’s end. “We did a documentary. It’s going to be on VH1, and it’s an hour long special. It’s going to be real interesting for people to watch,” said Sorum When the group first started, the music channel documented what was, at first, a fruitless search for a new singer. Scott Weiland’s entry in the band was last minute and his entry is part of the hour-long program. In the following interview, I talked with drummer, Matt Sorum, via telephone. I got his views on the band, the music scene, and what fans’ expectations when they see Velvet Revolver this Thursday at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.
The most surprising thing about “Contraband” was how focused the group sounds.
“I think we all basically have the same idea of how we’re supposed to throw the rock-and-roll down. The initial album that we made is just a first taste of Velvet Revolver. I think that now that we’ve been together longer and we’ve been on the road, and we’re starting to know each other better- not Slash, Duff, and myself but Scott and Dave, I think our next outing is going to be ten times more spectacular because, as a unit, to really know each other and feel each other’s sensibilities helps create the music. When we made the Contraband album, Slash, Duff, Dave, and myself were there [writing], and when Scott came in we just added the vocals and made the record really quickly. We wanted do it that way; we wanted to pull the trigger, no pun intended. And the album’s doing, in my opinion, better than I expected. I think it’s a really good record and I think we’re going to make better records in the future.”
So what does Matt think of the current crop of rock bands, for example, Jet?
“I like Jet a lot. I think they’ve got some interesting ideas. I think they’ve gone pretty retro with their sound. They’ve got some good songs, and that’s what’s important-good songs.”
Other bands like the Hives and the Vines are very popular.
“I think the Hives and the Vines, their music, I wouldn’t consider it totally rock. Yet. I’ve yet to see a real traditional rock band with a real lead singer. I want to see a young GN’R. I want to see a young Aerosmith, but I don’t see them.”
So what do you want to accomplish with this group?
“I just want to get people into Velvet Revolver and become part of the band. When I was a kid growing up, Led Zeppelin was my band; Black Sabbath was my band. All I cared about was those bands. When their albums would come out, I’d go get it.”
With a show coming up this Thursday, what can fans expect? Lots of smoke and pyrotechnics?
“No, we don’t do all that crap. They’ll get a killer light show. They’re going to get a high energy set. They’re going to see more movement from guys on stage than they’ve ever seen from any band. Scott’s an amazing front man; he’s great to watch… We’ll probably play a couple of STP songs, some GN’R songs.” Has the band put much thought into a second album? “We’re always writing ideas, but the thing is, that’s way down the road. We’re going to be on tour for, at least, another nine months.”
That sounds like a lot of hard work.
“Well, that’s what we do; we’re a touring band. The best thing about this band is that album’s going to sound ten times better live. I remember when we finished the record, I said, ‘This is going to make for a really great live concert. Seventy-five percent of the album is very high energy. That’s always good for a live show.”
So, what were the Guns N’ Roses parties like?
“Back in GN’R we used to have these theme parties, so we would throw these thematic sort of ideas for backstage. In Indianapolis, we had a formula one racecar, and chicks dressed up in checkered flag miniskirts, that kind of deal. So, we would have these different themes, like hippie night, chicks painted black and white, Greek night, whatever. We spent a lot of money doing it, and we’d have a real exciting, cool party. We’d always have the Jacuzzi back there and the champagne flowing out of the fountain, and people serving us food. [It was] that kind of a deal, so it was always a good time.”
So how’s life on the road these days? Are things more low-key and less chaotic? “Let me put it to you this way: I’m a single guy. So, you know, I try to have fun [laughs].”