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Richie Sambora says his job in Bon Jovi was to "shut the f**k up"

Richie Sambora
(Image credit: Jo Hale/Redferns)

Former Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora has said that his job within the band was to "shut the fuck up" when it came to taking credit for songs.

Sambora left the group in 2013 to focus on family life and to spend time with his daughter Ava, which came as a sudden and unexpected surprise to the rest of his bandmates.

Speaking to Nile Rodgers on Apple Music 1’s Deep Hidden Meaning Radio, the guitarist reminiscences about his time in Bon Jovi when the camaraderie and bond between the band members was "very very deep".

“We had the most heavily armed recreational vehicle. Our bus driver used to be a green beret. We had AK-47s, and pistols. He says, ‘Hey boss, you feel like shooting some up?’” Sambora says.

“We're painting our faces, mowing down cactuses and we weren't hurting anybody or anything. That's the kind of thing when you're on tour when you're young like that. There was times like that where the camaraderie was very, very deep.”

However, when host Rodgers highlights the “strange” situation where many people assumed Jon Bon Jovi did “all the singing" himself, Sambora quips “And all the writing. That was part of my deal, to shut the fuck up.

"If I had a coffee place, the sign would say, ‘Have a hot steaming cup of shut the fuck up?’ That would be my coffee place. And you know what? Guess what? I did it. And it worked out because that's what he needed, for whatever reason.”

Elsewhere, Sambora discusses writing the 1987 classic Bon Jovi anthem Wanted Dead or Alive.

"I thought if the band was going to have any longevity, we needed a banner song for guys,” he explains.

"And I had this idea, Wanted Dead or Alive. And I got stoned one day, and I was sitting in my mother's basement waiting for Jon to bring me a pizza so we could get going. And I came up with that riff and I went, ‘Well, that's pretty easy.’

“And it's a very simple riff,” he continues. "It seems like it's hard to play – it's not hard to play at all. And it made girls able to bring their husbands and their boyfriends, [who] didn't feel like they had to go hide someplace.”

Listen to the full interview below:


Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music. '10 bands that rip off Black Sabbath but get away with it' is her favourite article she's written with Louder so far. When not writing, Liz enjoys various creative endeavours such as graphic design, as well as reading about rock’n’roll history, art and magic.