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Bon Jovi A Band of Brothers 16 February 2003
Article from The Tennessean

Source: The Tennessean

Richie Sambora is having a bit of a ''Led Zeppelin moment,'' as he calls it.

It's 7:30 a.m., he just kissed his wife and daughter goodbye and is doing a phone interview en route to the airport in Los Angeles, where he'll fly to Washington, D.C., to do some radio and to New York to do some TV before kicking off Bon Jovi's 50-city world tour.

''I am leaving for the tour right now,'' he said the other day. ''It's really hard for me to leave my wife and child because I love them so much. But this is worth it.''

Bon Jovi has sold more than 93 million albums in its near 20-year history. The last one, Crush, was certified double-platinum, selling 8 million copies worldwide. That's a statistic that came 19 years into the band's history. The newest effort, Bounce, released in October, already has earned the band a Grammy nod for the song Everyday.

And tonight's Nashville show at Gaylord Entertainment Center is sold out.

''Not only do we have a new generation of people that like us, which is unbelievable, there are bands that come out and sell records but can't fill seats,'' Sambora said. ''My advice to young bands is to learn to play live. Besides being an artist, you have to be a performer.''

Despite Sambora's fame and respect as guitarist and co-writer of one of the few '80s rock bands still standing decades later, he has somehow maintained a very level head about it all. However, he certainly doesn't take anything for granted: not his wife (actress Heather Locklear), not his career, not the longevity of his relationship with band mate and bud Jon Bon Jovi.

He knows he's living the American dream on an international level.

''We're a bunch of kids from New Jersey who grew up in this working-class kind of thing,'' Sambora said. ''Somehow, the songs we wrote have reached across the country. It's mind boggling when you go to countries that don't speak your language, yet they know the lyrics to our songs. I'm talking India, Russia and places like Kuala Lumpur, which I thought was a teddy bear or something.''

Bon Jovi is among a very limited number of rock bands that have managed to generate new fans across generations without alienating the ones who have been there since the big-hair days. An even fewer number of bands are still gaining fans, selling records and selling out stadiums. That puts Bon Jovi up there with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Metallica and U2.

''It's not a premeditated thing,'' Sambora said openly. ''Jon and I get together and write songs. I grew up on a dead-end street next to a swamp, and now I am in one of the best rock 'n' roll bands in the world. I am married to Heather Locklear and have a beautiful child. As a band, we just tried really hard and stuck together. That's part of the longevity. We kept our eyes open and learned our craft. We are loyal to our fans, and they are loyal back.''

And now the boys from Jersey are embarking on another world tour. Sambora said, without giving anything away, it's their biggest to date.

''Whether you are a Bon Jovi fan or not, after you see the live show, you are a convert. It just happens. We are a great live band. I don't mean to pat us on the back, but if we didn't learn to be a great live band by now, there'd be something wrong. We've played a nutty amount of shows to a nutty amount of people.''

The members of Bon Jovi (Sambora, Bon Jovi, keyboardist David Bryan and drummer Tico Torres), who have all been in the band from day one, are armed with a collection of songs from the latest album, but they are set to a rock sound that won't disappoint any Bon Jovi fan.

The first release, Everyday, has its roots in the day that Jon Bon Jovi and his family stood in their yard in New Jersey and watched the smoke billow into the sky as the World Trade Center came crashing down. Out of that experience came, ''I had enough of crying, bleeding, sweating, dying; hear me when I say, gonna live my life, everyday.''

Even the title track, Bounce, takes on the anthem of how America and its people are rebounding from the events of that tragic day. The album acts as a timeline of things the band experienced over the previous year, including the shock of 9/11 and the unification of the country of post-9/11.


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