Former-Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum spoke about the importance of Van Halen and drummer Alex Van Halen for Southern Californian musicians aiming for the big time. During a chat with Gretsch Generations, Sorum recalled, “When Van Halen got signed in like ’78, and they took off, and Alex Van Halen had all those drums, four bass drums, and gong — he had a gong! Not only did he have a gong but he had a gong that lit on fire, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, how does he do that?!’ And it was so exciting for an American kid because they were our band.” He went on to explain how encourage he and his fellow players felt as they saw Van Halen rise up the ranks: “I used to play with them in the ’70s, they played four nights a week (at the Whisky a Go-Go), and when they made it, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I can make it too!’ Because for me, at my time coming up, it was pretty much the band that set the path for guys from California claiming they were going to be a rock n’ roller.”

Sorum explained that there definitely was a feeling of being an underdog playing hard rock in the States during the late-’70s: “We did, it was a little bit untouchable with the Brit thing, and Queen! And so I hand it to those guys, I hand it to Alex Van Halen and a very underrated drummer.”

SIDE NOTES

  • Van Halen manager, music mogul Irving Azoff hinted that new Van Halen music might be in the offing in the wake of Eddie Van Halen’s death of throat cancer at the age of 65.
  • Last month, Azoff revealed to Pollstar, “Wolf and Alex (Han Halen) will go up to 5150, the studio in Ed’s house, but there’s been a lot of recording over the years. I can’t predict that for sure there will be anything new, but for sure they’re going to look at it.”

CHECK IT OUT: Alex Van Halen’s drum solo in January 1989 live in Tokyo: