Guitarist Richie Sambora is 64 years old today – and most of his fans would say the perfect birthday gift would be to see him reunite with his bandmates in Bon Jovi!
Sambora split from the group 10 years ago in 2013. Bon Jovi was supposed to perform in Calgary that evening. But the group suddenly posted on their website: “Due to personal issues, Richie Sambora will not be performing on this upcoming leg. All shows will go on as scheduled.”
Jon Bon Jovi told The Austin American-Statesman that Sambora’s exit took them all by surprise. “I think Richie’s doing all right, [but] I haven’t spoken to him. We were surprised. It was 3:30 on show day on Tuesday and we got a phone call that he wouldn’t be there. It’s a personal matter.” He also said, “don’t believe what you read on TMZ because it’s the furthest thing from the truth.” There had been rumors that Sambora had started drinking again, after a stint in rehab in 2011.
For his part, Sambora said he left Bon Jovi to spend more time with his then-15-year-old daughter Ava (mom is Heather Locklear). Sambora told Lust for Life magazine: “I just wanted to have some calmer waters and do something for myself, but the Bon Jovi machine had to move on. I said I wanted a break. We had just finished another tour, I had just got rid of a bad habit and was just enjoying my time with my daughter. I then envisioned a year full of other priorities. I wanted to make my own music, be at home more and do a few shows with my own band. That was just not accepted. I could choose – participate or quit. That is hard when you share 30 years of joys and sorrows.”
The band did reunite briefly in 2018 when Bon Jovi was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Sambora and former bassist Alec John Such joined the band for a set of their greatest hits.
In 2020, Jon Bon Jovi hinted that Sambora still wasn’t fit to rejoin the band telling Rock Antennae “there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wish that Richie had his life together and was still in the band. Sambora responded, saying he was the “happiest dude on the block,” and part of his role in Bon Jovi was to “shut the f— up.”
In November 2022, Sambora said there was a possibility he would rejoin the band to play the 2023 Glastonbury Festival in England. He told Absolute Radio that “I don’t know when Jon’s going to get his voice together and [when the Bon Jovi reunion is] going to happen, but we have to get out there and do it for the fans, really. I feel a second obligation.”
The 2023 Glastonbury Festival starts June 21, but sadly, Bon Jovi is not in the lineup. “Nights with Alice Cooper” caught up with Sambora at the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Sambora said it wasn’t going to happen. “Naaaah! No, not even close. Nobody asked me yet – but I could do it tomorrow if they asked me!” Sambora said.
So we can still hope for a full-on Bon Jovi reunion, but it doesn’t look like it will happen anytime soon. In the meantime, Sambora recently celebrated his daughter Ava’s graduation from her Master’s program with a degree in family therapy. A source told People Magazine that Ava “is so close to her parents and they’ve been so supportive. Both of them were at her graduation, and the family had a party at Richie’s house afterward.”