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Classic Rock

“I’ve spoken to him twice in the last 11 years”: Jon Bon Jovi shuts down talk of a reunion with Richie Sambora

Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora in 2024.

Jon Bon Jovi has addressed speculation that former Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora will rejoin the band.

Speaking exclusively in the brand new issue of Classic Rock magazine, the singer reveals that he has spoken to Sambora just twice since the latter left the band mid-tour in 2013 – and that a reunion with the guitarist isn’t on the cards.

“It was a shock,” says Bon Jovi of Sambora’s sudden departure before a show in Calgary, Canada on April 3, 2013. “Nobody anticipated it, no one saw it coming. I talked to him the day before, I remember it so well. It was Easter Sunday, 2013, and I was driving through the Lincoln Tunnel as I was talking to him, because I was living in New York, and I was like: ‘Yeah, I’m feeling great, the album [2013’s What About Now] is gonna  come in at Number One, see you up there.’

“He said: ‘Can I stay home one more day?’ ‘Of course. You want to fly private tomorrow? Sure. Do it. I don’t care. See you up there.’ And then the next day the phone rings at three in the afternoon, and, you know… ‘I can’t go on.’”

Sambora later said his departure was partly down to feeling that the band were getting “stale”, something Bon Jovi refutes.

“I didn’t think so, and the collective, we didn’t think so,” he tells Classic Rock. “I personally thought that everything was going incredibly fucking well. And it was never brought up in the room, or in the writing, or in the recording, or during the first 20 shows of that tour.”

While Bon Jovi admits to still being “heartbroken” over Sambora’s departure, before adding that he has barely spoken to his ex-bandmate over the last 11 years.

“I’ve talked to him twice,” he says. “He. Quit. The. Band. I swear to Christ there was never a fight, nothing… He wasn’t kicked out, he quit. And he hasn’t made any great overtures about coming back.”

After Sambora pulled out of the Calgary gig, Bon Jovi enlisted guitarist Phil X to replace him at the show and on the subsequent tour. In early 2014, the singer confirmed that Sambora had quit the band permanently.

In November 2023, the guitarist – who briefly reunited with his old bandmates when Bon Jovi were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2018 –said  his return to the band “could definitely happen” as part of the band's 40th anniversary celebrations. However, Sambora was reportedly dissatisfied with new Bon Jovi docu-series Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story, which was released last month.

"Richie flew out to see Jon and brought him a birthday present – a really nice guitar – but they screened Jon's documentary instead,” a representative for the guitarist told People magazine. “Richie left after the third episode because he was sick and tired of what he was seeing.”

Read the full interview with Jon Bon Jovi in the brand new issue of Classic Rock magazine, out now. Order it online and have it delivered straight to your door.

(Image credit: Future)
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