For 30 years, Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora lived his life on the rock ‘n’ roll treadmill of writing, recording, and touring until 2013 when the Woodbridge, NJ native did the unimaginable: he quit.
“We were the hardest working band in the world, man,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter. “You’re talking 24/7, and you don’t get to come home. I missed so much of my child’s life. And you get to that place where you realize, ‘Oh my God, this is really important.’”
As it turns out, timing is everything. Not only did his daughter Ava need him (mom is actress Heather Locklear), but Sambora’s own mother fractured her hip six weeks ago. Ever the dutiful son, Sambora has quietly been making trips back and forth to the Garden State to oversee her care.
“I’m her only son, so I have to come out here and make sure her doctors are OK,” he explains. “But she’s doing well. Everything has its time and I needed to be with myself for the first time in a long time. I had some time to grow up, because rock ‘n’ roll will make you a virtual 17-year old. I needed to be with the kid, go to the parent/teacher conference, take out the garbage and pick up the dog shit, then watch her play and put on her sweet 16 party.” Sambora was also on hand to support his daughter in her Disney Channel debut on the show, Good Luck Charlie. “When she told me she wanted to be an actress I wanted to hang myself,” he laughs.
Time away from the road awakened Sambora’s songwriting spirit (among his potential collaborators? Lady Gaga, whom Sambora met at a charity event; “We may do some writing together,” he hints) and his itch to perform as well.
On December 1st, the latter hankering was satiated with what he describes as a “surreal” moment: an invitation to play a song with one of his idols, Stevie Wonder, at the Hollywood Christmas Parade (which premiered today on The Hallmark Channel and will air nationwide on more than 350 stations around the country on December 20th).
The duet, of Christmas classic “Silent Night,” happened organically. Says Sambora: “I’ve been involved with Toys for Tots, the Boys and Girls Club and Joe DiMaggio’s Children’s Hospital in Miami over the last seven or eight years. … When they asked me to play and said the Goo Goo Dolls and Stevie Wonder [were on the bill], I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if I could play with Stevie Wonder?’”
In addition to Silent Night, Sambora played his own set, which included the Bon Jovi hit, Livin’ on a Prayer and a personal favorite: Lean on Me by Bill Withers, which he also performed at Al Gore’s ‘24 Hours of Reality: The Cost of Carbon’ affair. It’s one of dozens of charity initiatives he’s been involved with this year. “I’m a sucker for kids,” he says. “I will do anything for anybody that asks me to do anything for a kid.”
As for looking ahead to 2014, the looming question for Bon Jovi fans remains: will Sambora rejoin the group? “Yes, I would think about it for sure,” he says. “There’s no malice here. You get along for 30 years, that’s a damn good marriage. … I was coming out of something a little bit different with my solo record, Aftermath of the Lowdown, and it just didn’t go in the right direction for me artistically, which is not to say it’s a bad thing.”
Sambora insists that reports of a rift concerning money are “baloney,” adding, “You look at your bank account, and you see the currency of love and happiness is more important than the currency of money.”
Read more at The Hollywood Reporter.