A Pollstar interviewer told Jon that both him and Bon Jovi fans would prefer to see Richie out there on stage alongside the frontman. In response, the legendary rock ‘n’ roller surprisingly concurred, “so would I.”
In past interviews, Jon has remarked that he and Richie made a formidable creative duo of songwriters and performers. In his most recent interview with Pollstar, Jon said that after Richie’s abrupt departure in the middle of the band’s “Because We Can” tour in 2013, there was no question that the group would continue on.
“It wouldn’t be fair to Tico [Torres] or David [Bryan] or to me, to have let it falter because of Richie’s… problems, his issues. So there was no way that I was going to… the name of the band is Bon Jovi, it’s not anything else.”
“This isn’t a band that is dependent on the guitar player like Van Halen or U2 or something, it was about the songs and it was about me. We got it. I wish he was here, too, because we were a formidable duo. Our voices were the magic and he’s a great guy and all that kind of stuff but his choices have led him astray,” he explained.
Jon then remarked that while he didn’t expect the Richie “debacle” to happen, the job of moving on was still accomplished, albeit, said the singer, with “one arm tied behind my back.” He claimed to Pollstar that it’s all good now, in fact, “it’s better than all good.”
Richie’s personal struggles — including the illness and death of his father, his divorce from Heather Locklear, and not wanting to miss any further day-to-day life with his only daughter, Ava Sambora — were some of the stated reasons he gave for leaving the band. The guitarist also cited the band’s excessive touring, which was an ongoing 18-month cycle, as one of his main reasons for leaving.
Since his departure, Bon Jovi no longer performs live at such a demanding pace. Instead, the group now spans their tours over three years and works to ready a new record in between. Guitarist duties are now split between Phil X and producer John Shanks.
Jon said that while he loves touring and connecting with fans, he would rather spend his time writing, recording, and observing life. Over the past few years, Jon has joined social media, sharing his ongoing work with his JBJ Soul Kitchen charitable organization and his philanthropic efforts with Soul Homes. He and his son Jesse also have a wine business called Hampton Water.
The last time the original lineup performed together — a lineup which included Richie, Jon, David, Tico, and bassist Alec John Such — was during their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.
Jon recently appeared at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, performing his new song “Unbroken.” Bon Jovi will release a new album titled Bon Jovi 2020 next year.