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Matt Sorum Explains How Axl Rose’s Lateness Benefited GN’R Shows

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It’s no secret that Axl Rose had a bit of a reputation for showing up onstage late at Guns N’ Roses concerts back in the day, but drummer Matt Sorum explained that the frontman’s tardiness actually benefited their shows in a way.

“When I talk about being backstage and we’re two hours late and I’m frustrated, once we got up there, it was just all-out rock ’n’ roll,” Sorum told Billboard.

“We were just throwing down because there was a lot of frustration, anger, anxiety — but it brought the show to a whole other level,” the drummer continued. “The crowd was fired up because they were angry that we were late. But once we got out there, some nights were just absolutely on fire.”

Some nights really almost were on fire — particularly one in Montreal in 1992 when Guns were on tour with Metallica. James Hetfield was burned in a pyrotechnics accident during their set, which resulted in it being cut short. Rose was then several hours late for their performance and also cut it short, which sparked a riot.

Regardless, Sorum still looks back on his days in the band fondly.

“I take great pride in that period in my life. It’s just a great gift that I was there at that time with that particular lineup,” he reminisced.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the drummer would join the GN’R guys on the road again if he were given the opportunity — he and his wife Ace Harper just recently welcomed their first child.

Sorum has a new autobiography on the way titled Double Talkin’ Jive: True Rock ‘n’ Roll Stories From the Drummer of Guns N’ Roses, The Cult, and Velvet Revolver, which will delve into his life as a musician in those bands. The book will be out Sept. 7 via Rare Bird, and can be pre-ordered here now.

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