Matt Sorum Recalls His Surprising David Lee Roth Audition

Guns N’ Roses’ former drummer Matt Sorum recalled one of the auditions that he joined at the beginning of his musical career during his latest interview with John DeChristopher’s Live From My Drum Room. Sorum revealed that he didn’t know it was for Van Halen’s David Lee Roth‘s new band.

Before gaining international fame and commercial success with Guns N’ Roses, Sorum took place in several rock groups like Population Five and Hawk. The drummer traveled to various cities, playing in the clubs. He had another chance to draw attraction before GN’R, but he couldn’t realize it initially.

Sorum got a phone call from famous guitar player Steve Vai, and he got shocked and excited about that. Along with Sorum, Gregg Bissonette and Mark Craney were there to join the audition, and none of them knew its purpose. The reason behind the call was Roth’s wish to pursue a solo career as a musician after he had left Van Halen in 1985.

In the interview, Sorum described it as a challenging and crazy experience due to Vai’s pushing him too much with his demands. He added that it was great to see Billy Sheehan even though they couldn’t jam together. Eventually, Bissonette became David Lee Roth’s new drummer for his solo band.

In Sorum’s words, he said:

No one knew it was for David Lee Roth. We all got called by Steve Vai. We were, like, ‘Steve Vai? It’s that guy from Frank Zappa.’ So when I walked in, it was very clinical. We were playing crazy time signatures. It was a very Zappa school.

He was running me through the mill. Like, ‘Give me a 7/4.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, Genesis, ‘The Cinema Show.’ ‘I got that. Okay.’ Then he said something, like, ‘Play 26 over 8.’ I was cocky, and I looked up, and I went, ‘Why?’

I saw Billy Sheehan sitting on the couch. I go, ‘God; I’d love to jam. Can we jam?’ We didn’t jam. I played by myself. It was probably the craziest audition I ever did. I never had a situation where I had to stand there, and Steve Vai was reciting all these notes and running me through this whole drumming school.”

You can check out the interview below.