Matt Sorum adopts… a school?
Former Guns n’Roses and Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum has saved music lessons in one school from being cut for financial reasons.
He came up with the idea of adopting the education programme – and not only has it avoided the drop, it’s much more valuable an experience now. And he hopes he can persuade other musicians to follow his example.
Sorum was inspired to act when he heard budget limitations meant the school was going to stop teaching music.
He tells Rolling Stone: “I came up with this idea: ‘Why don’t I adopt the school? I’ll raise the money. I’ll be the figurehead of that programme.
“I went downtown to a rally and I spoke to the superintendent for the school district. I got up and spoke in front of the board. Basically, they held the cuts – they didn’t cut the programme.”
Sorum’s lessons include the sources of modern popular via the blues, then embraces everything from classical to jazz.
“My kids in the third and fourth grade are learning about John Lee Hooker, Robert Johnson, Beethoven and Mozart, Miles Davis, John Coltrane.
“My curriculum is guitars, drums, keys, bass and vocals. So my kids learn about music and they play more modern songs, even by, like, Rihanna. It’s exciting and fun for them.”
The experience gave rise to his Adopt The Arts Foundation. On Sunday he’ll hold an awareness and fundraising day alongside bandmate Slash and singer Macy Gray, where he hopes to encourage other big names to become involved.
“I really want these celebrities to get their hands dirty,” he says. “I really want them to be involved, because I know what it’s done for me.”
Meanwhile, Sorum is set to release solo album in January. And while fans will be surprised enough to hear what he does away from the drumkit, they may be even more surprise by the musical direction he’s taken.
He says: “It’s much more introspective than my usual heavy rock stuff – it’s more of a singer-songwriter thing. I play acoustic guitar. It’s a little mellower kind of album.”