Richie Sambora says he is looking forward to reuniting with his former Bon Jovi bandmates four years after his surprising split from the band. Sambora has confirmed he will take the stage with longtime musical partner Jon Bon Jovi and the rest of the current members of the New Jersey-based band at the 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland next year.
While his split from Bon Jovi was acrimonious, Richie Sambora told Billboard the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will be “a joyous occasion” for the band that he co-founded with Jon Bon Jovi in 1983.
“I was there for 31 years and we sold 150 million records or something and we put a lot of a**es in seats in stadiums around the world and made a lot of people happy,” Richie told Billboard.
“I did so many different jobs in that band, so, yeah, I’m showing up for that. Everybody should have a smile on their face and a smile in their hearts and it should be a celebration of what we did.”
For three decades, Richie Sambora performed with the band on mega-hit albums like Slippery When Wet and New Jersey. Bon Jovi’s 2016 release, This House Is Not For Sale, was the band’s first studio album without Richie Sambora.
Richie Sambora did not reveal what songs Bon Jovi will play for their three-song set at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but he acknowledged there are “a lot of great songs” to choose from in Bon Jovi’s catalog. Richie added that he imagines “the songs that touched people” are the songs Bon Jovi will play at the Rock Hall ceremony.
After decades of success with the New Jersey-based band, Richie Sambora unexpectedly quit Bon Jovi in 2013 in the middle of the Because We Can Tour leaving fans—and his bandmates—stunned. At the time, Jon Bon Jovi told CBS This Morning that Richie just stopped coming to work.
“I haven’t seen him in over three years,” Bon Jovi said in 2016. “He just didn’t show up for work anymore. And that’s the truth of the matter.”
Richie told Billboard that being in the band since 1983 was “so consuming” and that he felt it was time to go in another direction. Sambora also revealed that he wanted to spend more time at home and with his daughter, Ava, so he pulled away from the blockbuster band.
“I did it for 31 years,” Sambora told Billboard of his time with Bon Jovi. “I think that was a pretty good tenure. We did alright.”
Of the band’s upcoming Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honors, Jon Bon Jovi confirmed that he has talked to Richie about their onstage reunion and that he plans to welcome his longtime musical partner with open arms.
“He was my right hand for a long time, so there was never ill will, just like I told everybody,” Bon Jovi told Billboard.
“(He) just didn’t show up anymore. We went on, but he was there for three decades and he should be there to celebrate the moment. So he’ll be invited to join the rest of the band in all of the festivities.”
Jon also confirmed that former bassist Alec John Such will likely perform with the band at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.
“Richie and Alec are both going to be a part in all of the festivities,” Bon Jovi told Variety.
“We are welcoming them both, and inviting them to come on[stage]. It’s just a joyous celebration. Come and participate — both of them!”
Bon Jovi will join the Cars, Dire Straits, the Moody Blues, Nina Simone, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe as part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class of 2018. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony will take place April 14, 2018, in Cleveland.