Patrick Prince of Powerline recently conducted an interview with drummer Matt Sorum (VELVET REVOLVER, GUNS N’ ROSES, THE CULT, CAMP FREDDY) about the DEEP PURPLE tribute album “Re-Machined: A Tribute To Deep Purple’s Machine Head”, which features a contribution from Sorum‘s new project, KINGS OF CHAOS. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Powerline: Was “Machine Head” itself a big influence on you?
Matt Sorum: Oh, yeah. I mean, for me growing up as a teenager in the ’70s, that was like my era, and that album came out [in] ’72. I was younger, but the songs were around and, of course, “Smoke On The Water” was the first song everyone learned on guitar, right? It was an easy song to learn. It was either that or “Iron Man” by BLACK SABBATH, that’s what you learned on guitar. I had a little band that played “Smoke On The Water”. And then we tried to attempt “Space Truckin'”. We didn’t do a very good job of it. And “Highway Star” was just a beast of a song, too. We all tried to play “Highway Star”. And as a drummer growing up, I just really loved Ian Paice, you know. I was into [John] Bonham. I was into Keith Moon. I love Bill Ward from [BLACK] SABBATH. Ian Paice was a real fancy drummer, man. He was like a jazz aficionado who did a lot of cool licks. I tried to emulate him as much as possible. I think if you listen to my drum style it was — probably more so in VELVET REVOLVER — where I do a lot of Ian Paice-type stuff.
Powerline: How did this project for “Re-Machined” come to be? How were you approached?
Sorum: Well, it’s interesting because I went down to South America and put together a bit of supergroup which we are now calling KINGS OF CHAOS. We went on tour and I love playing in South America ’cause the fans are absolutely insane. And went down there with Joe Elliott, Steve Stevens, Duff McKagan, Glenn Hughes … we did this crazy tour. And when we got back I got this call from a friend who had connections with this label out of Australia that was doing this DEEP PURPLE tribute. At first, I was, like, “Oh, a tribute album?” I usually shy away from those, but then I heard DEEP PURPLE, and then I heard the lineup that’s on it. I was, like, “What do you mean you’ve got IRON MAIDEN and METALLICA?” “Santana? Really?!” And I’m like, “Okay. I’m in.” I had a new band that I wanted to kind of experiment recording with and I thought it would be a good opportunity. Get us into the studio, record a track, see what the vibe is. So, that’s what we did. And we knocked it out. The only problem was that Joe Elliott was out on the road and how were we gonna get the vocals. But the miracles of modern recording — he was able to record it on a laptop and e-mail it to me, then mixed it and I think it sounds killer.
Powerline: So everyone’s pretty happy with it.
Sorum: Yeah. We’re all happy with it. The only difference that we did from the original version we took it down a half step, and Ian Gillan [DEEP PURPLE vocalist on “Machine Head”] was, like, man, what a set of pipes. Not that Joe couldn’t sing that. Joe‘s like, “That might sound heavier, too.” So we tuned down like a half step to get a little bit of a heavier vibe. It really reminded me of Joe‘s older style. like the way he sang on some of his earlier records before “Pyromania” and stuff. So Joe just gave it a rock n’ roll feel. It was really cool. It wasn’t as produced as DEF LEPPARD. You know, DEF LEPPARD is heavily produced and Joe just gave it a rough and ready track.
Read the entire interview from Powerline.
METALLICA‘s cover version of “When A Blind Man Cries”:
Behind “Re-Machined: A Tribute To Machine Head” album video:
“Re-Machined: A Tribute To Machine Head” trailer: