Matt Sorum Celebrates Judgement Day: Former Guns N’ Roses / Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum wanted to be in a band again. Following the breakup of Velvet Revolver in 2009 and the subsequent, tragic death of Scott Weiland, Sorum has kept himself busy but he admits that he’s missed the band dynamic. Initially, Kings of Chaos was one of those endeavors – a party jam band that sees him pull in various famous friends to perform rock & roll classics. But it’s evolving.
“I got involved in doing that kind of thing going on 15, 16 years ago,” Sorum says. “I started an L.A. band called Camp Freddy – that was me and Dave Navarro, and we used to invite a hit list of people. We had a pretty good run for 11 or 12 years. At one point I decided that I wanted to do my own version of this, because it was all over the place. We did all kinds of stuff and had a really good time, but it was time for me to move on. I started reaching out to friends of mine, saying hey, you guys want to go to South Africa? I called Slash and Duff, got Glenn Hughes and Robin Zander, Billy Gibbons, Steven Tyler, and all these guys said yes. I started putting together collectives of all these musicians.”
While Camp Freddy was an all-star cover band, Kings of Chaos played catalog from the beginning. If Billy Gibbons was singing, they’d play ZZ Top songs, and so on.
“It was a really cool stage full of great rock & roll characters,” Sorum says. “You’re awestruck, going ‘woah, how did this come together?’ And hearing different interpretations of those original songs. For me, it was slightly based on bucket list stuff. If I make the call and they say yes, I get to be in a band with Steven Tyler, or Billy Idol. It’s been happening over and over again for the last 10 years.”
That’s how it’s been for a few years now, and it’s been a successful enterprise. But people kept asking Sorum if a Kings of Chaos record was forthcoming, and that idea got his wheels spinning.
“I’d say that it’s not really a band,” he says. “It’s just me, making phone calls and getting people together. I toured around the States a little bit with Chester Bennington, Billy Gibbons, Billy Duffy from the Cult, the DeLeo brothers from Stone Temple Pilots, a lot of one-off gigs and a lot of corporates. I kept getting offered record deals. Putting a record together isn’t easy, especially when you don’t have a band. So I said that I’d see what it would take me to do. I finally completed my own recording studio out here in the desert. That cuts a lot of costs in recording the music.”
Sorum ended up putting pen to paper on a deal for Kings of Chaos with AFM, a German label that he felt was supportive enough to be the right choice.
“I met with them and they just had a really good supportive attitude about this, the kind of rock & roll I wanted to make,” Sorum says. “They weren’t looking for a radio band. Obviously, modern rock radio would be great. But they approached me and there’s a lot of those sort of classic rock labels out there but these guys seemed to have the right attitude and I think that was a lot of it because this is going to be a work in progress. They believed in me, that I could pull it off. So far so good. I have a lot of work ahead of me. We have to record nine more songs, so I’ll have to bring in a lot more of my friends. They helped me make the recent video, and mix it and master it. They hadn’t heard me sing rock before. I sent in a track that I’d done with Slash and Duff. It was something I’d been sitting on, and I’d love to put it out. They agree and that’s what you hear for the first single.”
That first single is “Judgement Day,” a driving, scorching rock & roll beast. As well as Slash and Duff McKagan, it also features Davis Kushner of Velvet Revolver.
“It was after Scott left – we got in the studio and cut a lot of music,” Sorum says. “A lot of great stuff that should see the light of day in my opinion. We recorded all the way up until five years ago. We were still trying to pull it together. Me and Duff were pushing and pushing especially, to try to get there. Slash veered and started doing more solo records and it never really happened. We just couldn’t find the right guy. It wasn’t an easy fit, replacing Scott Weiland. It had its run and that was it. It was a great experience for all of us. We toured the world and made a couple of cool records, especially the first one.”
The plan is to put out a Kings of Chaos album by next fall, dropping singles at regular intervals along the way. As of right now, Sorum isn’t sure if the lineup with continue rotating or if he’ll have something more permanent in place.
“It would really be up to the other guys and what organically happens,” he says. “Velvet Revolver happened that way. We went to play a tribute concert as the three guys from GnR, and we all knew that we needed to be a band again. At that point, we decided to use the name Velvet Revolver because Axl was off doing Guns N’ Roses. We created a new brand for ourselves, and that could happen here. Let’s see what the public perception is, and see where the songs go. Why knows?”
There might be some shows in the near future but nothing is booked at the time of writing. As with all things Kings of Chaos, it’s about seeing where the chips fall.
“It’s really based on where things organically fall,” Sorum says. “Next year we’ll keep going as we have with Kings of Chaos. Just see what happens as the record starts to unfold.”
Matt Sorum Celebrates Judgement Day: Kings of Chaos’ “Judgement Day” is out now.
Editor’s note: The disclaimer below refers to advertising posts and does not apply to this or any other editorial stories. LA Weekly editorial does not and will not sell content.
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.