Richie Sambora – “I was the guy trying to stick the blues into pop music"
The former Bon Jovi man on playing with them again, being a “blues geek” and having a studio… in his kitchen
There’s laughter, music and chatter in the background at Richie Sambora’s San Fernando Valley house. The former Bon Jovi guitarist switches phones as a pair of heels – presumably those of his daughter Ava or his Australian partner and fellow guitarist Orianthi – click‑clack across the floor.
“Gimme a second, man,” mumbles Richie. He’s a busy man: in October, Sambora and Orianthi tour the UK, opening for Bad Company, on November 11 they play the Classic Rock Awards in Tokyo. The couple also have a new album in the works, and Sambora is producing a documentary about blues pioneer Robert Johnson. “What can I say?” he laughs. “I’m a prolific kinda guy.”
How are things going with your new album?
It’ll be out next year. We wrote seventy songs for this record but we’ve got them down to twenty-two. Now we’ve added [Bon Jovi/Metallica producer] Bob Rock, and that’s made it a whole different animal. There are some fucking great songs here. There are guitars everywhere on some of them and hardly any on others. It will surprise people.
What’s it like when your partner is also a guitarist?
Listen, it’s fantastic… but it’s also a pain in the ass. Here’s the thing, though, we play a lot alike. Ori is widely known because of the technical aspects of her playing with Michael [Jackson] and Alice [Cooper], but she can really lay it down, man. Not just that flash-in-the pan shit.