Matt Sorum said Velvet Revolver started by taking a lesson from Aerosmith, and he expressed regret that the Guns N’ Roses offshoot wasn’t able to stick to their agreement.
Formed in 2002 by Sorum, Slash and Duff McKagan, and featuring singer Scott Weiland, the supergroup secured acclaim quickly but wasn’t able to maintain it.
“When we all got back together our big thing was, ‘We can’t do this if we’re gonna be loaded and everyone is fucked up,’” the drummer told Sound, Sobriety and Success With Matt Pinfield. “So we made a pact: ‘Everyone get clean. Let’s get cleaned up.’”
The band members got into “really great shape,” he noted, recalling it was nearly as important to them as writing strong material. “We kind of looked at it like the Aerosmith model,” he explained. “‘We can’t go out there like 20-year-old kids. … We’ve got to get our shit together.’ We all got it together, man, and we were on fire. And I remember we were all nervous because it was the first time we’d ever gone out on the road clean.”
You can hear the interview below.
Velvet Revolver’s debut album, 2004’s Contraband, was a big success. “[It] went triple platinum and we got three Grammy nominations, won a Grammy and got a lot of money,” Sorum said, adding that “the wheels came off the machine, the train came off the tracks and bad habits reappeared. I started drinking again, drugging, the whole thing – all of us. And shit got fucked up.”
By the time their second and final album Libertad arrived in 2007, relations were disintegrating, and the band ended with Weiland’s departure the following year. “I think it’s a good record, but it didn’t have the angst of the first record,” Sorum reflected. “The first record had a youthful thing because we were hungry. We meant it. I think we meant it on the second record musically, but it didn’t have that fairy dust of angst.”
A stand-alone reunion show in 2012 offered hints at a potential reunion, but Weiland’s death three years later put an end to the possibility. “I had my differences with Scott,” Sorum confirmed. “We fought like brothers. But really what I wanted for Scott was the best for Scott. Scott was so fucking great. You just wanted him to realize how great he really was. … He’d walk onstage and you’d go, ‘There he is. There’s the frontman.’ They just don’t fucking make ‘em like that anymore.’”