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March 05, 2004

The Tavis Smiley Show


“Richie Sambora has been making music for over 20 years as one of the founding members of one of rock’s most enduring and successful bands. The Bon Jovi guitarist is helping to celebrate the band’s anniversary with the help of the release of a new and unique greatest hits CD called “This Left Feels Right.” And as if being a rock star wasn’t enough, he’s actually trying his hand at a little acting. Here he is in a scene from “The Chris Isaac Show.””


Richie Sambora has been making music for over 20 years as one of the founding members of one of rock’s most enduring and successful bands. The Bon Jovi guitarist is helping to celebrate the band’s anniversary with the help of the release of a new and unique greatest hits CD called “This Left Feels Right.” And as if being a rock star wasn’t enough, he’s actually trying his hand at a little acting. Here he is in a scene from “The Chris Isaac Show.”

So Kika is a champion? Took second place at Westminster?

For showing dogs. Well, Bichon Frises.

It’s my passion.

I wouldn’t have thought that about you, Richie.

Well, I finally found a suitable stud for my Kika. The owner’s driving up from Santa Cruz today.

So you’re breeding her, huh?

Yeah. She’s 15 days into her heat. That’s when a female’s most fertile and receptive.


You’re going to be a mommy, aren’t you?

Tavis: Ha ha ha! You’re way too greedy. So being a rock star isn’t enough. Being married to Heather isn’t enough. You gotta start acting now. Why don’t you leave a little something-something for the rest of us to do, man?

Richie Sambora: You know what? I enjoy acting. It’s really funny, man. I get, like, more acting jobs thrown at me than a lot of actors that are actually trying to be actors.

Tavis: And why do you think that is?

Sambora: Uh, you know, I just悠 guess that there’s a correlation between musicians and actors and actresses or something. There’s, you know, it’s that entertainment thing. I think that it all kind of falls into the same thing, you know.

Tavis: What does悠 mean, you’ve been doing it for over 20 years now with Bon Jovi邑hat does the music do for you, and what does the acting do for you? What� what space in you does either fulfill?

Sambora: The acting, it just facilitates visibility, really. You know, honestly. I mean, I don’t ever consider myself an actor. I mean, when you look at the work that, uh, real actors really do悠 mean, it’s a serious craft. When I get a show like this or something like that, you know what I do, I just go to my acting coach for a few weeks and I work very, very hard and diligently on learning my lines.

Tavis: But you do work at it, though?

Sambora: Oh, I definitely work at it. You have to. I mean, it’s a craft. It’s not something that, you know悠 guess some people can probably do it pretty naturally.

Tavis: Like Heather? Like Heather?

Sambora: No, well, she悠 think she works at it, too. She gives me lots of tips.

Tavis: Do you ever run her lines?

Sambora: All the time, yeah.

Tavis: Seriously?

Sambora: Absolutely.

Tavis: You help Heather learn her lines?

Sambora: Absolutely. And she helps me learn mine when I have to.

Tavis: Ha ha ha ha! So, you mentioned that you have to practice, you really rehearse at doing the acting thing after all the years you’ve been doing the music thing. I mean, you guys don’t really rehearse anymore, do you?

Sambora: No. Uh, it’s really, really funny. I mean, we really put our crews and our production crews on a very, very short rope because we go into a, honest to God, a world tour and that would probably last a year. We give them one day rehearsal.

Tavis: Yeah. Ha ha ha ha!

Sambora: I swear to God.

Tavis: For a whole year?

Sambora: And other bands, I don’t want to mention any names, but they do like months and months. We just, you know, we’re fed up. We’re fed up with each other.

Tavis: Ha ha ha ha! You don’t want to hang out雄ou’re on the road together�

Sambora: No, listen, we spend so much time together on the road. You know, Jon and I, uh, you know, writing all the songs and stuff like that. I mean, it’s basically him and I in a room, like you and I right now, with a tape recorder and a piano and a guitar, and we create all the music that, you know, basically sells the band.

Tavis: You guys have悠 mean, I’m cracking up here, ‘cause you guys have endured everything, everybody�

Sambora: Every cyclic change that has happened�

Tavis: From the hair to the clothes to everything you can imagine. What is it about this band that is so enduring?

Sambora: Well, I think, number one, it’s good songs that people葉hat we touch people with our songs. Um, I mean, Jon and I, we come from New Jersey. Uh, it’s a very kind of blue-collar, meat-and-potatoes place, and that’s the way we grew up, and we’ve really never forgot about that. I mean, you know, now of course we’re flying around on private jets and

Tavis: Sure, and I imagine�

Sambora: It’s not so bad. But I think the human condition always stays the same, you know? You� No matter what stage in life you are, you still have to work hard, you still want to work� guys like us, I wouldn’t know what to do if I wasn’t working. You know, I mean, we’re so crazy now. Jon and I, we just bought a football team.

Tavis: I want to talk about that.

Sambora: Uh, you know, I mean, but we still enjoy the songwriting process and there’s nothing like the rush of playing. We just did Hyde Park on this last tour-- 92,000 people...paid! Ha ha ha ha! But you know, you go out there, and the song that you’ve written in your bedroom with an acoustic guitar now touches all these people, you know? And it’s� That’s the great thing about the music.

Tavis: I hear you saying that you like to work, and I think work is a good thing, but at this point clearly you don’t have to do it. You do it because you want to do it. But why do you want to do it? What gets you up, out on the road, doing these songs over and over and over again?

Sambora: You know what? You’re�

If the songs are really good預 lot of them are, thank God, that we wrote楊nock on wood蓉m, you know, that high that happens between the band and its audience, and that connection is what makes it擁t never gets tired. I gigged last night in Arizona. I just got back. We had a gig last night in Arizona. And you know, Jon and I looked at each other onstage, we were playing “Wanted: Dead or Alive,” “Livin’ on a Prayer,” and, you know, those songs that were number one songs all over the world, and it’s, you know遥ou know, at the end of it, I still walked up to him and I gave him one of these, just to say, man. You know...it still works. You know, it’s still there.

Tavis: I wonder if this works. And that is this new CD� the “Greatest Hits” CD� that has you guys doing the old stuff, but with a different sound.

Sambora: Yeah. Different twist.

Tavis: A different twist. Do audiences want to hear that? And I ask that because there’s some stuff that I like the way you did it, and I’m not really sure I’m digging it if it doesn’t sound the way that I remember it being.

Sambora: I understand. I understand, but you know what? It’s a record that謡e wanted to see if the songs actually held up in a different way, and they really, really do. And I think that if people give ‘em a chance, and they listen to them maybe 4 or 5 times� Now, here is a song that, you know� These songs have struck the consciousness on a world...basis, you know. Our band� We just went over 100 million records. Uh, I guess it was�

Tavis: So you can retire now if you want to. You got a little money now. 100 million, I think you’re there now.

Sambora: Yeah, buy the jet. Buy the jet.

Tavis: Buy the jet. Yeah.

Sambora: And I think what’s happening is that, you know謡e did a live show. We filmed it, and if you’re a fan of the music, and if you’re a fan of these particular songs and what they do輸ll we kinda did was clear out all the production from the way it used to be and kind of bared the song. Jon and I were famous for creating the “Unplugged” situation. The first time we ever did the MTV Awards, back in 1988--give me a cane--we just decided, you know what? We’re gonna be men. We’re gonna show people, ‘cause there was this big hair-band stigma, and he and I went out there with 2 acoustic guitars. And, like, you know, Madonna and Whitney and everybody’s in the front row at the time, and everything like that, and just 2 kids went out there with a couple acoustic guitars謡e slayed ‘em. And then MTV started “Unplugged.” I didn’t get any checks, by the way.

Tavis: But you started it anyway.

Sambora: They gave us credit for starting it. I’m saying, well, what the heck?
Tavis: Speaking of the cane reference you made a moment ago. ‘88--‘88, that was a little while ago.

Sambora: Yes, it was.

Tavis: What do you say to folk who say that folk like you guys, you had your heyday, your stuff was good, but you ought to go sit down, the Stones ought to go sit down. Maybe it’s time to go sit down somewhere.

Sambora: No, man, I mean, if you’re a natural musician, this is in your blood, and you have to continue to do it. And as long as you’re making music that’s relevant� I mean, you know, “It’s My Life” was a big, big song all over the world. I mean, you know, it was used by sports teams. It was on different commercials all over the world. I think that it became� It was a very profound song. Um, it struck people’s hearts from 6 to 60. You know what I mean? I mean, my father-in-law, he’s, like, 70, and he says to me, “You know, that was a very, very profound song because it’s about every day doing something positive for your life to propel yourself.” So I think that songs like that, you know擁f you’re making relevant music, there’s no reason to quit.

Tavis: Speaking of relevant music and profound songs, what, for you� I’ve been waiting to ask you this. What, for you, makes a good song? There are records, and there are songs. What makes a good song for you?

Sambora: If it touches your heart. If it touches your heart. If you can actually relate to what the lyric is. I think that, you know, guys like Springsteen and Bob Dylan and the Beatles and, you know遥ou know, Paul Simon.

Tavis: They know a little something about it.

Sambora: They know a little something about that kind of stuff. And we’re getting憂on and I are getting the Hit Makers Award in the Songwriters Hall of Fame this year, also, which is gonna be another nice thing.

Tavis: Another pound on that.

Sambora: Another pound on that. From our peers. That’s cool. That’s a real nice thing.

Tavis: The football team.

Sambora: We’ve got all this crazy stuff going on.

Tavis: Crazy stuff. The football team. So you got nothing better to spend your money on, and you go buy a football team. What football team? Why? Where?

Sambora: It’s called the Philadelphia Soul. It’s the Arena Football League. And it’s me and Jon spending too much time together and coming up with wacky ideas, man, you know. But we’ve always been passionate about sports and football especially. So, we’ve always been big football fans. We’re one in 3. We’re an expansion team, but Sunday, we played the incumbent arena football super bowl team, and we lost by 3 points, man, right at the end, and it was because of a fumble. Our quarterback fumbled the ball, so�

Tavis: Maybe you’re on the come-up.

Sambora: I think we’re on a come-up. I think it’s real good. We just need to tighten up the discipline on our team a bit.

Tavis: So what do you do? I hear you like sports, obviously. What do you do when� What do you do for relaxation? What do you do when you’re not on or are you one of those guys who’s always on even when you’re not on?

Sambora: No, no. You know what? Jon is one of those guys that are on more than I am all the time because if we ain’t makin’ a record or we’re not on some world tour traveling the world someplace, he’s doing a movie. He’s doing a movie for, like, months at a clip, you know, so he’s a guy that really likes to work, and he’s a real driven, driven, driven guy. You know what? I love sports, man. I’ll go see any sport anywhere, any time, you know? So that’s kind of what I like to do, and I like to play sports. I like the beach, things like that, and I like, you know, actually, I like being a dad.

Tavis: It’s good being a dad. Our best to your baby and our best to Heather. We’ll hold the seat for her right here.

Sambora: OK, I will.

Tavis: Whenever she wants to come by.

Sambora: You got it.

Tavis: Richie Sambora, nice to see you. A pleasure to meet you.

Sambora: Pleasure to meet you.

Tavis: Thanks for coming on the program. That’s our show for tonight.

Posted by riesambo at March 5, 2004 03:07 PM