JON BON JOVI Says 'The Door Would Always Be Open' For Reunion Show With RICHIE SAMBORA: 'He Knows The Songs'

March 15, 2024

In a new interview with Audacy Check In to promote BON JOVI's upcoming album "Forever" and the Hulu series "Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story", Jon Bon Jovi was asked if there is any possibility of a one-off concert with the band's former guitarist Richie Sambora. He responded: "Hey, the door would always be open. It's not that. But 11 years ago, for reasons that were certainly nothing to do with the band, he walked out. There was no animosity, there's nothing but love. But we had a show that night, and subsequently had one the next night, and for 11 years, I've been making records and doing shows. So everyone knows where the bus stops. You show up at work… But there's nothing but love. And so Richie's gone off on his own and he raised his daughter. So if he wanted to show up and play sometime, he knows the songs. Absolutely no animosity, I can promise you that."

In a separate interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, Jon said he didn't speak to Richie about the documentary, despite the fact that the guitarist was interviewed for the series. "Not a word," Jon said in response to whether there was communication between the pair about "Thank You, Goodnight". "That was [director] Gotham Chopra. This wasn't a puff piece and this was no bullshit. This is not us behind the scenes pulling strings. Oh, no, no, no. They interviewed Richie in London. I wasn't there. I had nothing to do with it. No, I still haven't seen the [finished] product."

Bon Jovi went on to tell Ultimate Classic Rock that although he and Sambora are not on bad terms, they no longer keep in touch.

"We're not in contact because he's not in the organization any longer," the singer explained. "Doesn't mean that there's not love forever, but it's 11 years ago that he just didn't show up anymore. And there were emotional issues that he was dealing with as a single dad, and there were substance abuse issues that, you know ... [Current BON JOVI guitarist] Phil X had to show up one time, and then Phil X had to show up another time. And then, again, there's a show that night. What are we gonna do?"

Last November, Richie told People that there was "talking" taking place about his possible return to the band. Speaking to the magazine at the Breeders' Cup, the now-64-year-old musician said: "There's a documentary that's being done about the band and stuff that I've participated in, and people want to come see us play, and it's going to make everybody happy. I mean, essentially, that's why you do it at this point."

Sambora continued: "I think that we wrote a lot of songs that changed a lot of people's lives just by letting them have a good time. I know that's what music did to me … kept me company. And I hope that I can reflect that in what I do.

"So yeah, it definitely could happen," he added of a reunion. "It's just a question of when everybody's ready to go do it. It will be a big, massive kind of undertaking."

As for when the BON JOVI reunion could happen, Richie said: "I'm not sure. It's up to peoples, it's got to be right. That's all.

"It's time to do it, though," he added. "This is our 40th anniversary, but I feel younger than ever. I'm having a ball."

Sambora previously talked about the chances of his return to BON JOVI earlier last year during an appearance on "Shred With Shifty", the podcast hosted by Chris Shiflett of the FOO FIGHTERS. At the time, he said: "We're talking about it." Pressed about what "talking about it" looks like and if it involves him and Jon Bon Jovi speaking to each other "on the phone," Richie said: "Yeah, it's that. It's… There's a demand out there for it, you know — especially outside of the USA."

Last June, Sambora painted a different picture when he was asked about his possible return to BON JOVI at the Songwriters Hall Of Fame's 52nd annual induction and awards gala in New York City. Asked by United Stations Radio Networks if plans were still in place for him to play with his former bandmates again, Richie said: "Naaaah! No, not even close. Nobody asked me yet — but I could do it tomorrow if they asked me."

Richie's comments on "Shred With Shifty" were similar to those he made in February 2023 when he told Absolute Radio that he was planning to join forces with BON JOVI again following his performance with them at their Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction in 2018. "We're talking about it," he said at the time. "I don't think there's any reason not to at this point."

He added: "Jon was having a hard time with his voice a little bit there and he needed to take a little bit of a breather.

"I don't know when Jon's going to get his voice together and [when the BON JOVI reunion is] going to happen, but we have to get out there and do it for the fans, really. I feel a second obligation."

Asked if he would write new music with BON JOVI, Richie said: Oh, if he doesn't let me, he's crazy. I'm on a tear.

"Actually, I did write that other [BON JOVI] stuff, too. It's a misnomer when people go just because his name [Jon Bon Jovi] is on [the band] that's the name. We just couldn't think of anything else, really. People think that I just come up with the guitar parts and something like that. But songwriting is conceptual. You have to have a concept. It's a story. And it can sometimes just come from looking out the window and observing and a lot of times it comes from your own life and for the most part of BON JOVI, my life was a lot [more] colorful than everybody else's in the band."

Richie went on to say that he has remained on good terms with Jon in the decade since his departure, explaining: "You know what, there's no malice. I mean, we did something… there's not a lot of bands that did what we did. I mean, obviously, bands like THE ROLLING STONES, PINK FLOYD and U2 [have]."

Four years ago, Sambora opened up about his controversial decision to leave BON JOVI in 2013 in an interview with People magazine, saying that he wanted to spend more time with his daughter Ava, now 26.

"It wasn't a popular decision by any means, obviously, but there was really almost no choice about it. I had a lot of conscious work to do around [my personal life]," the guitarist said.

"We've been through a lot of things together. That was a time of psychological maintenance for the family. You know, I ain't no angel. But I realized, Ava needed me to be around at that point in time. Family had to come first, and that's what happened."

Sambora, who spent time in rehab in 2007 and 2011 for alcohol and prescription drug abuse, added that the rock and roll lifestyle eventually took its toll.

"My lord, when I look back and start to list the tours ... 18-and-a-half months of being on the road, 52 countries," he said. "It's like, Wow. It was really time for a break. We did that 14 times over a 31-year period."

Two months earlier, Sambora told U.K.'s Daily Mail that he wasn't opposed to one day rejoining BON JOVI, provided that the circumstances were right. "It would have to be a special situation for me to go back, but I'm certainly not counting it out," he said. "I have no malice toward that band."

Richie's comments came just a couple of weeks after Jon Bon Jovi told Germany's Rock Antenne that "there's not a day that goes by that I don't wish that Richie had his life together and was still in the band. And yet, in a weird way, it's because of his inability to get it together anymore that we went on and wrote 'This House Is Not For Sale'."

Addressing Jon's remarks directly, Richie told Daily Mail: "When people say I don't have my life together — are you kidding me? I'm the happiest dude on the block."

Sambora, who joined BON JOVI in 1983 and co-wrote most of the group's iconic hits over the following three decades, hasn't performed a full show with the band since he left the "Because We Can" tour 11 years ago. He later said he thought BON JOVI "should have made more strides to become a band" and not turn into "Jon being the front guy and nothing else." Jon, in turn, claimed Sambora's "choices" had "led him astray."

Sambora rejoined BON JOVI on stage in April 2018 at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland, marking his first performance with the band in five years. Also appearing with the group was bassist Alec John Such, who hadn't played with BON JOVI since a one-off performance in 2001. They performed several crowd favorites, including "Livin' On A Prayer", "You Give Love A Bad Name" and "It's My Life".

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