Q: How did your style of playing evolve in the last three decades?
RS: (makes a long pause) …when you’re a sideman in a band that has a certain style that you’re not allowed to change, then solo albums and soundchecks are the only ways to break free and cross boundaries. As a songwriter, I know how important lyrics are. They open the door. In Bon Jovi, I played and sang the melodic parts. But how creative can you be when your boss only gives you four bars to move the song along? How creative can you be if your boss keeps limiting you? I’m the type of person who is open to all styles and genres. I even went to a Kanye West concert with my daughter Ava. And I discovered a musical quality that I never really realized hip hop had. It was the first time I truly understood hip hop. Today when I’m evolving my style, I focus on two things: songwriting and emotions. Goosebumps, sex, grief, love, anger. Expressing emotions through music is what’s fun for me.
Q: You and Orianthi are working on an album at the moment.
RS: Yes. We’ll be exploring different genres: from acoustic ballads to hard rock. No compromises, no marketing bullshit, none of that! What I love about Orianthi so much is how versatile she already is at such a young age. I’m 25 years older, I’ve been on the road for 30 years and experienced anything you can imagine. I’ve been through a lot of difficult times. It’s great to finally be able to just make music for the joy of it. Everybody knows what a fantastic musician Orianthi is. We have duets that are just insane. When we’re playing together, there is magic in the room. That’s never happened to me before. In fucking Bon Jovi, it took me and Jon three albums to finally develop chemistry.
Q: Your ex-boss stated that you won’t be playing with the band anytime soon. Is there even still a future with Bon Jovi?
RS: I don’t think so. I was in that band for 30 years. That’s a damn long time. I missed most of my life. I worked myself to death in that band. The last tour alone was 18 months. I was always there for them. I wrote almost all of the songs and produced the records. And guess how many of my guitar parts finally made it on the records? Be honest, how many guitar solos are on the recent albums? Not many. I didn’t have much of a family life either. There comes a time when you ask yourself: Is it even worth it? Who am I? I was like a robot; everyday I did everything for that band. And I kept having to put up with the same old shit…
Q: You sound angry…
RS: As a musician it wasn’t fun anymore. I wasn’t happy. When I had the choice between happiness and money, I chose happiness. I already have enough money.
Q: How do you feel about Phil X playing your songs?
RS: Honestly, I have no clue about what’s going on in Bon Jovi these days. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, no doubt. And as far as I know, he’s a decent studio musician in L.A. Bu can a session musician replace Keith Richards in The Rolling Stones?
Q: Absolutely not! Unthinkable!
RS: Exactly! (laughs)
Read the full translated interview here.
Richie has since tweeted that something got lost in translation. We can't know for sure what was really said because Richie spoke in English, which would have been translated into German for the magazine, and has now been translated from the translation back into English.
Hey guys... Just sayin there was a language barrior... That article was not what I was saying.. And if you compare all the others..— RICHIE SAMBORA (@TheRealSambora) July 20, 2014
My words and feelings are consistent..I've spent 30 years in the band.. Nothing but gratitude, reverence and love...— RICHIE SAMBORA (@TheRealSambora) July 20, 2014
I do hope what has been written isn't what he really said. Although Richie has claimed credit for the Bon Jovi stuff that was popular while wiping his hands clean of anything that bombed, this interview (if accurate) is a more aggressive turn. And one that shuts the door on a band reunion where all parties had previously been open to one.