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July, 1996
At home with MATT SORUM of GUNS N' ROSES
Metal Hammer July 1996
Near the top of a canyon in the hills above Hollywood is the amazing eyrie that Matt Sorum calls home. The view is breathtaking; bits of artwork or greenery lurk in unexpected corners; the gentle sound of running water adds to the tranquil atmosphere. Punctuated by the occasional "Ow" as his girlfriend rubs his shoulders, Matt gives Chris Marlowe a guided tour of all seven levels.

"I moved out of Malibu after I had problems with the fires. My house didn't burn down, but it was just a catastrophe, and then I spent a year out there in mudslides. Then I moved back into the city. I've got a 360-degree view here. I can see the city, I can see the ocean, and I can see the 'Hollywood' sign. The whole house is built onto like a peninsula, almost like a cliff. But it's actually like twenty-five feet of concrete into the ground. There's a big wall that goes completely around the grounds. And not only that, but you have to climb straight up a cliff to get to the house - on both sides! Someone would have to really be like Spiderman to get in here.

"Describe the layout? There's almost like seven levels. It's got a garage level, and then there's an elevator that goes up five levels. It's got a two-storey house on top of the garage. I've got a guy who takes care of the house that lives in that house above the garage. And then you go up to the fourth level and you get out of there and there's like a waterfall, and then you go in and there's my studio on the fourth level, down below. Then you go up to the next floor and that's my living area. And then there's two levels above that. So the house is four storeys on its own. It's pretty nice. It's about 6,000 square feet. It seems a lot bigger though.

"I lived in a really small place for a long time. When I was single, you know, I just like lived in a one-bedroom. It was fine for me. But then I wanted to have my own studio in the house and stuff, so that was the main reason I got this place.

"It had six bedrooms and six baths. Something like that. But I've converted a couple of the bedrooms. So where I sleep, on my master bedroom level, there's two to two and a half bedrooms the size of mine up there. And then the top floor is the game room , with a pool table and a big screen and a Guns N' Roses pinball machine. My game room is like sort of Gothic as well. My pool table has four lions holding it up. And I've got some antique swords that I bought hanging on the walls and shit like that."

"My dog's name is Drac. I got him on Halloween and he bit me and drew blood, so I called him drac. He was just a puppy then. But he can be pretty feisty. He will go after somebody now. He's pretty protective of me, you know, if they come into my area of the house, or near the car when he's in the car. But he's a really good dog.

"I've got a cat here too, a tabby named Oscar. He spends a lot of time outside. There's lots of lizards and little mice and all kinds of things up here for him to chase. Once in awhile Drac puts Oscar's head in his mouth, but they've known each other since they were little so they get along pretty good.

"I had more cats, but I had to let a couple of them go because two of them were very territorial and were peeing everywhere - like right on my best Persian rug. I almost had to throw it out it smelled so bad. I had it cleaned like three times by professional cleaners. So I'm cool with my one cat. He's a loner, anyway."

"There's full windows all the way around my bedroom. Can you see the 'Hollywood' sign there in the back? From the bed you can see out over the pool and down into the city. When I did my house in Malibu I had it all re-done, the whole house, and I had somebody make all the furniture. The bed was an idea for me and my ex-wife. She wanted roses and I wanted crosses - gothic kind of stuff. It was sort of a take-off on another bed that I saw in Architectural Digest magazine, but then we changed the top. And it's solid iron. It's heavy! It took like four guys to carry it in, you know, piece by piece. And then we had all the comforters and stuff all custom-made. It's all like Egyptian silk and velvet."

"This pool is a black-bottomed lap pool. It's small, but it's enough to get wet and swim. It's nice because when you look out of the living room you see directly on to it. And there's a fountain that goes into it, and right below that there's a big jacuzzi that overlooks the city. I've also got a waterfall with frogs and fish in it, and then I've got another koi pond with koi fish. It's pretty cool."

"Madonna lives right next door. It's sort of like an old villa, on nine levels. She doesn't live there really, it's her little Californian crash pad - you know, a 25,000 square-foot house. A six million-dollar house [laughs]. But if she's here it's nutty. I don't get hassled, you know. A few people have come around that know I live here. They found out or whatever. But not like she gets hassled."

"My studio is a place where I can take bands. And I have drum kits down here. It's big. It's a full-size studio, 24-track, and it's got amps and guitars and everything anybody knows.

"I've got my own production company, called One Gun Productions, and I've been producing. I just produced a girl named Poe. She's on Modern/Atlantic. I don't know if you've heard of her yet, but she's starting to do pretty well in the States and she's trying to make it over to Europe this summer. And I'm starting to look for unknown bands.

"The only stuff I have that has anything to do with the band is all down here too. I don't like that kind of shit on the walls, really. Most of my albums and awards and stuff is where it should be - around the music, you know? And even when I did that I was kind of like, 'God, this is too much.' It's like 'Welcome to my achievement.' I mean, it's nice, I'm not complaining. I love all that shit that I've got. But it's like, 'Oh, I've got my million platinum up; and now I've got my two million; and then I've got to put my three and my four and my five' and so on and so forth. That's how it got with us. You know, every time another one came in it was like, 'Oh, that's great. What am I going to do with this?'

"You go to Slash's house and there's not one of those things anywhere in sight. And then Axl's got them out in his garage. But he's got kind of a cool setup. He's got them in his garage hanging around an old car - he's got like this old '55 Chevy. And then you go to Duff's and they're everywhere! [laughs]. Duff's got them in his game room - but he's got a very big game room!"

"I have stuff mixed in this house. It's a mix of Gothic - I would say like Twenties Spanish - and art deco, and I then even have some straight-ahead antique like Arts and Crafts pioneer times-type stuff. I mean, furniture and mementoes and stuff that I've collected all over the world when we've travelled. I've got a lot of art deco pieces and bronzes and stuff that I collected in Paris. And then I've got stuff from Spain. I bought most of that shit before I had any house or anything. I just had this big storage locker full of stuff [laughs].

"A lot of the furniture I had made, but then there's antiques and stuff mixed in. I have some old clocks, French ones and a couple of American pieces. But mainly I like French stuff. They were just great artists, you know?"

"The guy who built the house is an architect that built a house up here for Keanu Reeves as well. He's a pretty cool guy; a neat cat, you know?

"It's very spiritual here. I mean, the house is like aligned in a certain way with the way the stars are going across the hemisphere and all that trippy shit. Like there's a circular garden - a circular piece of grass out at the end of the house that represents the womb. And then there's a fig tree in the middle which represents life. He's done all this really trippy shit like that around the house; certain places that he's put little points of interest, you know? Like this statue in this little garden. She's an Egyptian goddess called Tefnut. She's the goddess of moisture and clouds. When you come up here it's like you're in a different world. It's not like you're in Hollywood - that is, until you look out of the window and see the sign!"


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