Richie Sambora: I’m not just Bon Jovi’s sideman

Richie Sambora and Orianthi
Sambora and Orianthi in action (Image credit: Getty)

Former Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora won’t rule out a return to the band in the future – but he says he has something to prove first.

He’s gearing up for the release of his album with girlfriend Orianthi under their RSO banner, which he hopes will demonstrate that there’s more to both artists than the public currently believe.

Sambora tells “There’s not a lot of male/female duos going on in the world right now – especially two guitar players like us two. First of all the world doesn’t know how good Ori sings and writes. The world knows how amazing a guitarist she is, but she’s more amazing than people think.

“Then on the other hand you’ve got me. I’m just Jon Bon Jovi’s sideman for most people. That’s what they know me as.

“Now we’re together and we’re doing something that means something. We’ve got something to prove to people – we can do this too. Together I think we’ve reached something that is a new sound.”

Orianthi, who rose to fame as guitarist with Prince and Michael Jackson, says: “We’ve done a cover of Sonny and Cher’s I Got You Babe. We did a heavy version of that. The album has a lot of duets, songs that Richie sings, songs that I sing. It’s a little Fleetwood Mac in parts, there’s so many different sounds. It’s very diverse.”

Sambora left Bon Jovi under a cloud in 2013, to be replaced by Phil X – but he says it’s all water under the bridge now. “We just talked a week ago. Everything is cool,” he reports. “They’re on a different trajectory, I’m on a different path. Plus I wanted to go out and sing.”

Asked about a reunion he replies: “Never say never. There’s no malice. You spend 30-something years in a band, that’s a long time. Not a lot of bands had that kind of longevity. We weren’t a band who took any breaks.

“The Rolling Stones or U2 will take three years off so they have a life – we didn’t really do that ever. The 30 years we put in probably felt like 50 years.”

He and Orianthi have laid down 22 tracks, with production duties by Bob Rock. Sambora says: “We had a great time making this record. There could be two albums. We’re not sure how it’s all going to come out yet.”

RSO tour Australia later this month.

Richie Sambora reaches out to Bon Jovi over their new single

RSO Australian tour dates

Sep 23: Perth Metro City
Sep 26: Adelaide Entertainment Centre
Sep 27: Margaret Court Arena
Sep 29: Sydney Enmore Theatre
Sep 30: Brisbane Eaton Hills

Richie Sambora album with Orianthi has country feel

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Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.