Bon Jovi Guitarist Opens Up About Life With the Band

by Courtney Blackann
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Richie Sambora is best known for his role in helping Jon Bon Jovi lead the way to rock and roll stardom in Bon Jovi from 1983 to 2013. The songwriter and lead guitarist and Bon Jovi broke records. Sambora was even inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018 with his fellow bandmates. However, the musician says it wasn’t all roses and sunshine working with Bon Jovi.

Appearing on Nile Rodgers “Deep Hidden Meaning Radio,” the guitarist got more than a little candid about his role and relationship with Bon Jovi. Essentially, he told the podcast host that his role was to stay quiet. Though he said it much more bluntly.

According to UCR, Sambora says his role in the band was to “shut the f*** up.” Though his relationship with the lead singer has improved since he left the band in 2013, he says it’ll never be the same as it was when the band first got together.

Like many bands, Sambora felt some definite tension during the years he performed with the rock group. While he did make an appearance with Bon Jovi in 2018 at their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, the songwriter has not appeared again with the band.

Richie Sambora Discusses Bon Jovi Famous Song

Further, Sambora said fans of their music assumed Bon Jovi did the majority of the singing.

“And all the writing. … That was part of my deal, to shut the f*ck up. If I had a coffee place, the sign would say, ‘Have a hot steaming cup of shut the f*ck up?’ That would be my coffee place. And you know what? Guess what? I did it. And it worked out because that’s what he needed, for whatever reason.”

However, Sambora was instrumental in co-writing one of Bon Jovi’s biggest hits.

“I thought if the band was going to have any longevity, we needed a banner song for guys,” he said. “And I had this idea, ‘Wanted Dead or Alive.’ And I got stoned one day, and I was sitting in my mother’s basement waiting for Jon to bring me a pizza so we could get going. And I came up with that riff and I went, ‘Well, that’s pretty easy.’

He went on to say:

“And it’s a very simple riff. It seems like it’s hard to play – it’s not hard to play at all. And it made girls able to bring their husbands and their boyfriends, [who] didn’t feel like they had to go hide someplace.”

Interestingly, Sambora once auditioned for Kiss to replace their lead guitarist. While he didn’t get the position, Bon Jovi saw him play and couldn’t help but make him an offer. Sambora additionally toured with Joe Cocker before joining Bon Jovi.

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