By Ray McDonald
When I read that Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora was leaving the band for the remainder of its North American tour, I immediately thought “he’s going into rehab.” The brief notice posted on the group”s official web site contained few details, merely noting that the shows would continue as planned. However, Sambora has struggled with substance abuse issues in the past, and has twice sought treatment. He had to skip several shows on the band’s 2011 tour. So – like others, I suppose – I assumed the worst.
But what if those “personal issues” had nothing to do with substance abuse? Shortly after news of Sambora’s hiatus hit the press, this story about behind-the-scenes personality clashes appeared on the web site TMZ.com. Now, this showbiz gossip site doesn’t exactly rival the New York “Times” in terms of journalistic integrity, but it has gotten some stories correct…and I can easily believe this one.
Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi have worked together since 1983. They’ve toured the world, spending hours together in cramped buses, planes, and dressing rooms. They know each other as well as two people possibly can. You could consider it a 30-year marriage. Think of all the other notable rock partnerships: Lennon-McCartney. Jagger-Richards. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. While all produced great music, they were also famously turbulent. Speaking in the clip below, Keith Richards describes the chemistry in a successful rock band, noting that volatility and inspiration often go hand-in-hand.
Of course, it could be worse: Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora could be actual brothers. Ask Don and Phil Everly, who barely communicate to this day. Or Ray and Dave Davies of The Kinks. Or the Gallaghers of Oasis. Or the Followills of Kings Of Leon. Or…well, you get the idea. From their blood, sweat, and tears comes great music…so don’t fret, Bon Jovi fans. The show will go on.