Journeyman drummer Matt Sorum has lent his rhythms to the likes of Motorhead, The Cult, and Velvet Revolver, not to mention Guns N’ Roses, with whom he appeared on three albums. One might wonder how one could be so prolific, yet still live that hard partying rock star lifestyle of yore, but Sorum did it. In fact, according to a new interview on Matt Pinfield’s 2 Hours with Matt Pinfield podcast, it seems like he made a career out of it, too.
“I used to smuggle cocaine across borders,” Sorum told Pinfield. “I’d fly on airplanes with two kilos strapped around my waist. Most of my deliveries were [to] Hawaii, because I had a big connection there, but I would smuggle.”
This was apparently before he caught his big break in the music scene. “Imagine the movie Blow,” he continued “and then think about coming up in rock and roll, before I got in the bands that I was in. My way to pay my way was smuggling, and that’s what I did.”
More details will apparently be available in his upcoming autobiography, which he promises to be “the juiciest of the juiciest of the G N’ R books,” He does, however, reveal that it wasn’t success so much as paranoia that caused him to give up the smuggling lifestyle.
“The last time I smuggled two kilos to Hawaii I remember thinking I was being followed, and it wasn’t because I was paranoid on cocaine; I really felt that I was being followed,” he remarked. “So, I told the guy that I flew this stuff for — I was the mule; and I got, like, a couple grand every time I went — ‘I can’t do this. I’m being followed.’ He’s like, ‘Oh, man, you’re just high.’ I’m like, ‘No, man. I’m being followed. I’m not doing it. I’m going back to L.A.’ I was living in Long Beach … the guy that took my place [as smuggler] got arrested: twenty years in a federal penitentiary [for] international drug smuggling. That would have been me.”
Sorum had plenty more say across the episode’s two hours, including his thoughts about being excluded from 2016’s Guns N’ Roses reunion tour (our Reunion of the Year, that) and some insight into Metallica’s well-documented hazing of bassist Jason Newsted. Listen to the whole interview below.