Matt Sorum Talks Crazy Tour Stories
Guns N’ Roses former drummer Matt Sorum recenty appeared on The 500 With Josh Adam Meyers,Matt Sorum, served as Guns N’ Roses drummer from 1990 to 1997. He discussed the band’s crazy and scary South America tour in the early 90’s while promoting his new book “Double Talkin’ Jive”
When asked, “What is the craziest tour story you can tell me?”, the drummer responded:
“We spent almost two years editing my book because, you know, the shenanigans stories, the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll stuff.
“I was like, ‘Oh man, OK, I guess they’re gonna get the fact that I was with a lot of girls and did a lot of drugs. Do I have to tell like 20 of those stories? No, let’s just tell, like, five.’
“That was the hardest thing about writing the book – which stories do I cut out? I cut out all my sort-of Charlie Sheen era stuff, that’s straight-up debauchery.
“A lot of the craziest stuff happened in South America, you know? We were involved in probably one of the first stadium tours of South America, going all the way through Venezuela, Colombia, and Chile, and we played countries no band had ever played before, really.
“I mean, even Queen had only played in Brazil, and I think Argentina, so here we are, going on this mad 50,000-a-night stadium tour.
“So we land in Venezuela, Caracas, and we’ve got interpreters everywhere we go, we’ve got these people because, in those days, it wasn’t a lot of English language at all down there, I’m talking early ’90s.
“So, of course, I hook up with the interpreter who’s this beautiful Venezuelan girl, I end up in the jungle of Venezuela with this girl and this taxi driver, and we find coke for $3 a gram, and I’m like, ‘Well, give me 10.’
“So the band can’t find me, I’m basically gone, and this one-day trip blur turned into three.
“Here we are, doing this massive stadium gig and there’s no GPS in those days, so they find me on a balcony of this hotel and I somehow got a hold of, like, Caribbean Rum, and there I am.
“Basically, they threw me in a shower and, you know, here I am, fairly new to this band at this point, so they’re like, ‘Uh-oh.’
“We were going through again in some… I think we’re in vans and we’re going, and we see this happening outside, basically a riot, we go on stage, and the tour was in November because that time of the year is basically their spring.
“So we’re on stage about 45 minutes in, and we’re playing ‘November Rain,’ and now, the stage collapsed. So they rebuilt the stage, and there’s no roof over us, there’s no lighting, it’s just, like, makeshift, it’s super third-world, like, not in a good way.
“And we’re like, ‘I’m pretty scared to go out there, to be honest.’ And our manager sort of just pushes me and says, ‘It’s going to be alright, get out there, knock ’em dead.’ So we get up and we’re playing ‘November Rain’ in a torrential downpour, right?
“So we leave, we got to leave the stage, can’t even keep playing, the place riots, and they go crazy, and we can’t go back out, so we end up going back to the hotel, and our manager says, ‘OK, everyone pack up, we’re getting out of here.’
“And we’re like, ‘What?’. He goes, ‘Yeah, we got problems, the promoters are coming.’ I go, ‘The promoters?’. And in those days, there was no Live Nation, there was none of that stuff. It’s like, ‘Who did you do the promotion with?’
“It was all cartel, hardcore, and here we are escaping the drug cartels, so in my book, the story continues, it gets worse and worse and worse. We fly out of Bogota, Columbia and now we’re in the Andes…
“We’re flying over the Andes, and I’m saying, ‘If we do die here, who’s gonna eat who?’. So anyway, it gets even juicer as we continue through the country, the continent.
“I remember getting back to LA, and I was totally frazzled, like, it was one of the scariest tours I’ve ever that I’ve ever been on my life, and everything was just sort of in disarray.
“And I remember running into Anthony Kiedis, and he goes, ‘Yeah, man, I can’t believe it, man, our tour got called off because of you guys.’ And I’m like, ‘Expletive you, Anthony. Go ahead, go down there, be my guest!’
“I said, ‘Here we are, paving the territory,’ and Anthony, he’s an interesting character, and you don’t know what you’re gonna get from him, but I go, ‘Dude, be my guest, get on your airplane, go down there, have fun. I’m just telling you, it’s like the wild wild west down there.’
“And in those days, that stuff was just not really organized. I remember taking those countries and playing them. And now, you can go down and do a gig, it’s all Live Nation and all squeaky clean, but there’s a lot of that stuff in the book