Richie Sambora says that the Rock Hall reunion with Jon Bon Jovi was deeply emotional and went down without any negativity. Sambora, who played his first gig with the Bon Jovi in five years, was asked by Rolling Stone about getting in the room with his former songwriting partner, with Sambora revealing, “He came up and kissed me; I kissed him back. He said, ‘I love you’; I said, ‘I love you, too, man. Let’s get it on.’ . . . It’s always great to see the guys. There’s a lot of love here, that’s for sure. When I first walked in, we hadn’t seen each other in three years, and they go, ‘Does it feel awkward?’ No. . . it doesn’t feel awkward at all. I mean, they’re my songs.”
Sambora went on to talk about the newest members of Bon Jovi, saying, “The guys that are playing guitar, John Shanks and Phil X, they’re both great guitar players in their own right. I was kidding around with Phil, I said to him — they were going onstage the other night, and I said, ‘Hey, it must suck being me without the chicks and the money.’ (Laughs) and he started laughing.”
Sambora went on to speak frankly about quitting the band: “You know, it was just time to just stop for a little bit. . . What happened is that, (being) in such a huge organization. Tours are 16-and-half months. The last tour I did with the band was 18-and-a-half months. You miss a lot of life, man. You come home: S*** changed. Divorce, birth, death, this. Normal life’s ups and downs. Little tragedies. Love, joy. You miss all those things a lot of times in your incubation mode. Like I said, we weren’t a band that took a lot of time off. My daughter needed me at that time; my dad’s dying of cancer. I was in the middle of a s****y divorce, and I busted my shoulder up. . . And it was like, ‘You know, I think the universe is telling me to take a break for a while.’ I needed to do something different, and quite frankly, I wanted to sing! I wanted to be a lead singer. . . A lot of the bands I was in before, I was the lead singer, and I missed it, and it was just time at that point.”
When pressed about ever rejoining Bon Jovi, Sambora said: “We’ll see. You never say never. It’s not in any immediate future plan, that’s for sure. It’s just not. I really want to get this RSO thing off the ground. I’m having a ball. . . Like I say, this is the first time I’ve been hanging out with the guys for a good three years. We’ve had a couple of conversations in between, but it wasn’t about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or anything like that. It was more about, ‘How you doing? How’s your kids?’ And our kids, this is the first time they’ve seen each other in three years, and they’re over the moon. All the ancillary stuff that goes on, ’cause it is a family.”
Richie Sambora told us backstage at the Rock Hall on Saturday night that the seed to Bon Jovi’s success can be traced straight back to learning how to write good — and then great — songs: “The foundation of it is obviously songwriting. When you finally learn how to write a song — it takes a while, because you suck for about five years — and then all of a sudden you find something, you strike a nerve that strikes a nerve with someone else. And that’s what songwriting’s about, it’s basically communicating with other people. And if you do that well enough, your audience and your fans are your mirror.”
On May 11th, Richie Sambora and guitarist girlfriend Orianthi — better known as RSO — will release their first full-length album, titled, Radio Free America.
Photo Courtesy of James Minchin / Oktober Promotion