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Kiss Reject, Pop Rock Hero 26 August 2000 interview with Richie


In 1983, just a few months before he joined Bon Jovi, guitarist Richie Sambora was in a practice room bashing out songs like "Detroit Rock City," "Hard Luck Woman," and "Rock and Roll All Night" with three musicians who know the tunes better than anyone. That's right, Sambora was auditioning for the "hottest band in the land, Kiss." "They were actually pissed I showed up," Sambora recalls. "They liked they way I played but they were going, "you know this one? That one?" And I'm goin' "No."

After being turned down by Kiss ("Honestly, I didn't really want it. I was really only trying for it as a good business measure"), he went for his next big audition, and bingo, he was invited to replace guitarist Dave Sabo in Bon Jovi.

17 years and $80 million in Bon Jovi album sales later, Sambora is sipping coffee early one morning in a New Jersey studio. In an hour, he and his bandmates will start rehearsing for their upcoming tour in support of their latest album, Crush. At this point in their career, practicing isn't a big deal for the group, but Sambora still feels the adrenaline rushing. "For our last tour [the 1996-97 These Days tour], we rehearsed one day. But this time, we're doing a whole four days - that's big for us."

Bon Jovi's new material warrants the extra rehearsal days. Crush contains the usual Bon Jovi trademarks - surging pop-metal and anthemic rock 'n' roll celebrating the group's hard working, fun-loving New Jersey roots. But it also features the most mature guitar work Sambora has exhibited to date. "I think I'm falling into my own style, which is kind of an organic blues-based rock 'n' roll kind of thing," Sambora says. "For instance, I played a lot more slide on this album. My style has become a lot more 'me.'"


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