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."
Alex Van Halen shed light on what the life is like when you truly live and breathe music: ["It's really hard to put into words, but musicians are different than the nine-to-fivers. Y'know, it's a different mentality, but I think it's something that's in your blood and the lifestyle's different. Yeah, you have roots — there's certain places you come home to; but the whole planet is your home. Here's your suitcase, here's your instrument — let's go. 'Cause, y'know, music is all about people. Meeting people and playing for them. So, we picked that up very early."] SOUNDCUE (:22 OC: . . . up very early)
Alex Van Halen On Being A Musican :