Matt Sorum: I Was A Drug Smuggler Before I Joined Guns N’ Roses

By Bryan Le 03/05/18

The drummer recently revealed he is penning a memoir about his time as a cocaine smuggler.

Matt Sorum of Guns N' Roses drumming.
Matt Sorum lived a life of crime before finding his beat. Photo via Daigo Oliva/Wikimedia

Matt Sorum, the former drummer for rock group Guns N’ Roses, admitted in a recent interview that he was a drug smuggler before becoming a rock star.

Speaking on the 2 Hours with Matt Pinfield podcast, Sorum revealed he used to make his living by strapping cocaine to his body and crossing the border.

“Before I was in a rock band, I was a drug smuggler. I used to smuggle cocaine across borders. I’d fly on airplanes with two kilos strapped around my waist,” Sorum recounted.

The drummer is in a reflective mood, on account of the autobiography he is currently “1,000 pages” into writing. He assured people that the book will be “the juiciest of the juiciest of the GN’R books.”

“Most of my deliveries were in Hawaii, because I had a big connection there. I thought about the title Rock ‘N’ Roll Smuggler. Imagine the movie Blow, and then think about coming up in rock ‘n’ roll, before I got into bands that I was in," Sorum said, "My way to pay my way was smuggling, and that’s what I did. A lot of the book, there’s probably going to be at least a chapter or two on my drug-dealing days.”

He recounts the day he got out of the trade.

“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 told. “So, I told the guy that 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 not doing it. I’m going back to LA.’ The guy that took my place got arrested. Twenty years in a federal penitentiary [for] international drug smuggling. That would have been me.”

Most recently, Sorum did not accompany the band on their Not in This Lifetime reunion tour, but has no regrets.

“I was there at the height of everything. And I did it,” he said in the interview. “Sure, I could go out there and play that music, no problem, but I’m very, very grateful that I was there when it was the greatest it was. [Use Your Illusion] was the biggest tour GN’R ever did. We were at the hugest level at that point, did two and a half years on the road. It was great.”

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter