|Sambora & Bon Jovi|
Jon Bon Jovi says he’s proud of Richie Sambora for seeking treatment over his alcohol problems – but there was never any question of cancelling shows during his absence.
The guitarist checked himself into rehab in April, just a day before Bon Jovi launched the final leg of their two-year world tour. Triumph and session man Phil X stood in until Sambora returned in time for the European series of dates two weeks ago.
The frontman tells the Sunday Mail: “It was great for Richie to go and take care of himself, knowing full well he was not being fired or punished. He needed and wanted to seek help. We all fully supported and embraced by dear friend and songwriting partner – but the show goes on. I’m not beholden to anyone. To be honest about it, we’ve got to pay a road crew, who are dependent on that paycheck to put food on the table and shoes on their kids’ feet. You can’t put them out of work. We also have people who come to see the band and book air tickets and hotels way in advance. They were not refundable.”
Bon Jovi says X carried out his deputising role brilliantly: “The shows went pretty well,” he reports. “It’s not a slight by any means, but Phil did a fantastic job. It made it easier for me, the band and the crew. So we have much affection for him. Obviously he’s not going to play those parts the same way as Richie, because he wrote them. But my admiration for Richie runs deep. His abilities as a player never suffered – his talent is God-given. He’s focused, re-energised and everything is great, and our partnership is as strong as ever.”
But he admits he may never understand what Sambora has been through. “Is Richie conquering his demons? How can I comment without knowing the disease?” he asks. “I think he’s very cognisant of the situation. He loves his mother, daughter and band more than anything in the world. I’m very proud of his efforts – he’s still my dearest friend.”